View Full Version : I need help with history ideas

Aug 29th 2008, 11:19 PM
my kids are doing a history fair and I need ideas for a 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12 yr old. I stunk at history, but would love to help them through this but just don't have any ideas....come on you history buffs or idea people, please help.

Aug 29th 2008, 11:53 PM
Okay... you could get them to go online and find out about a certain period in history, and then they can either role play, or write a diary, of what it would like to be a person from then. For example, when I was home educating my son, we went to Roman ruins, he read up about the first century Roman empire, and he wrote a first person piece about being a Roman boy whose father causes political offense, and is sent to Britian - we had the boy's arrogance, his rude attitude to the slaves, and the attitude of the various people who knew them. He wrote quite a lot of this "book", but didn't finish it. It was going to end with the boy becoming Christian, through the example of the family's slaves, but Neil died, and Sťamus stopped writing it.

However, it was a great way to get into history... for a while he could imagine himself in a Roman skin.

You could perhaps get the kids to role play, act together. Give them names, characters. Having more than one kid means that this could go very well.

So, for example, if it was Rome again, you'd have to tell them how a Roman family worked. Do you like reading fiction? There are murder mysteries for kids set in Rome that you could read... and there's Karen Kingsbury for you to read... she's a Christian author, and her series "voice in the wind" could help you "imagine" the landscape.

You can also look at history in the US... Get the kids to imagine themselves as settlers, or Native American Indians.

Also, you could do "we the jury"... that is, imagine a crime has been committed, you are the judge, and the kids are the witnesses. My Dad has done this with kids in his school, where he got the kids to take on biblical roles. He only got to do it once, because to everyone's surprise, when the jury came in, all the kids decided that Jesus must be God, and that He rose from the dead.

If you do a "we the jury" you may need to get other people involved to be a jury panel... Kids love acting, and this is something they can do together.

You can also get them to do treasure maps, make artifacts (pottery and so on.)

Here's some trivia for you... The Emperor Nero started off very tender hearted and a real Mummy's boy, and went progressively mad. His mother had her face on the coin, facing Nero's. How do you think Nero felt, with his mother continuing to boss him about even when he was emperor of the world? Did you know that the Apostle Paul almost certainly appeared before Nero, just before Nero finally lost it, and burned the city down, blaming it on the Christians.

How about that for a trial? The kids could make a video (if you have a camera) coming in dressed as various witnesses... a "slave in Caesar's house" who has become Christian, a soldier who's afraid to admit that he helped start the fire, a witness of Paul's execution, an anti Christian militant...

You get the idea.

You could help the younger kids script it, but they would love to act it. The older kids could possibly write something too...

How about getting the kids to write a first century style letter. They could look at the way the epistles in the Bible are introduced to get a feel for that.

Aug 29th 2008, 11:55 PM
Oh... I just realised, a FAIR...

Well, in that case you have your jury.

The kids could go in character with first century artifacts, and "be interviewed" by passers by. They could tell everyone they've come in a time machine or something...

So, either a first century Roman family, or a group of witnesses to help the audience decide whether Nero really burned down Rome.

Aug 30th 2008, 12:00 AM
When I was in 7th grade we made little medieval dolls. You could make them for any time period though.

You know what a gingerbread man looks like? Well, you cut two pieces of flesh-colored cloth in that shape (same size of course), sew them together, folding inside out when you're almost done so the seam doesn't show, and finish them up. There you go! You can dress them in costumes, create scenes for them, etc.

In 8th grade I remember we had a fair where we had to dress up like a certain character and people would interview us as if we were that character.

Aug 30th 2008, 02:09 AM
Tall tales always work well. The transcontinental railroad is a significant thing for most ages. Leaps through the ages. Industrial, rennesiance, medival, my favorite.. the dinosaurs. Geographical history is also a nice one. Geographical disasters, may not be the best, but a historical reference to the ice age would be good.

Things of this nature.

Aug 30th 2008, 02:59 AM
History nut here. :)

Since all your kids are involved in the fair, it would be great if each of them could be a historical figure. They could pick any of their choice, learn a little about the figure, and spend the day in character. They don't HAVE to be from the same time period, do they? Or from the same civilization? I hope not. You guys could really make it fun. I'm not talking elaborate costumes.... just get into character.

- A white shirt, maybe a dark jacket of your husband's and a tophat.... Abraham Lincoln, who can give the Gettysburg Address, or talk to people about why slavery shouldn't expand through the United States. (this is something an older child can do)

- Old fashioned clothing (be creative!) a map (draw one) and a telescope (paper towel roll is fine) and you've got Christopher Columbus, who can tell people what he and his crew are travelling to find, and why.

- Two people with maps, scouting around and asking folks for directions. A girl in a brown dress, hair tied back -- you've got the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

- Rosa Parks. Martin Luther King Jr -- any child could quickly learn the importance of these folks.

- Laura Ingalls Wilder. Now here's a great role a child could play, even a young one -- be a pioneer, travelling with her (or his) family, and talk about what life is like for the family. Heck, ALL your kids could collaborate on this one.

And lets leave American history for a moment...

- pick a Roman Emperor and research him. Get your child into character.

- Julius Caesar -- the famous "beware the ides of March!"

- Queen Elizabeth or Queen Victoria. These roles would be GREAT for girls to research, and there's a lot they could do with a character like that -- give a speech, pretend to rule as either of them did, talk about a social concern from either respective time.

- Pick a historical writer or author, and get to know some of their works. Walk about, talking about the work. Or.... pick a famous inventor. Or builder. Or explorer.

If you want to get REALLY brave..... the early 1st Century in and around the Jerusalem area could use some representation.... ;)

Finally, because I'm a Titanic nut.... once for a history fair/presentation of sorts, I wore a suit and tie, tied my hair back so it looked short, carried blueprint diagrams with me and a book on the North Atlantic passenger ships.... and went as Thomas Andrews for the day, who was the Titanic's primary shipbuilder. I LOVED that one.... and I had a lot to say. And people could pretend to get mad at me for not having enough insight to insist on more lifeboats. :P

Sorry to just toss all this at you... if you'd like some detailed information on any one character or time period, PLEASE just ask me and I'd be happy to help you out. I've kept this post really general, but I've got a lot of information, I've done a lot of research, and I'm obsessed with both education and history, so anything I can do, I'm here. :)

Aug 30th 2008, 07:06 PM
great ideas, thank you. We are a homeschooling family part of a huge Christian based organization so really anything goes. I like the whole trial thing as we have a family play night a couple times this semester.
I am going to print out these ideas and talk to the kids about them.
anyone else is welcome to give any ideas.

Aug 30th 2008, 08:54 PM
:) A history fair is a great idea, because more times than not, it's the perfect opportunity for a few family (or home school group) trips to the library. It's amazing, the things kids can find out. Most decent public libraries have TONS of resources, with librarians that have fun ideas.... so you could always arrange a trip there, too. Teaches the kids, gets the creativity going, and encourages the reading skills.