Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Utah History Fair Turns Kids Into Historians

The Utah History Fair is an outreach program of Utah State University and Utah's affiliate to National History Day.  For Utah's students, grades 4-12, the Utah History Fair is an extra-curricular activity that allows them to showcase their knowledge on a particular aspect of history.  National History Day designates an annual theme.  Students then choose topics based on that theme.  Utah's students are currently researching, writing, and/or finalizing projects based on "Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences."

Students can present their topics a category of their choice.  Categories include Website, Historical Paper, Exhibit, Documentary, and Performance.  All of those categories, except Historical Paper, can be done individually or in groups of up to five students.

In February and March, students compete in one of nine region events around the state.  Students who place in the top two in their category and age division in their region are invited to attend a state competition.  Those who win at the state competition have the option of representing Utah at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland.

That, in a nutshell, is the Utah History Fair.  One of the goals of the program is to get students to realize that history is not static and all about names and dates, it is about interpretations of past events.  Students learn to be critical of primary and secondary sources and to form their own conclusions.

Visit the Utah History Fair webpage for more information on how to participate.

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