Plan your safe visit more

Teaching History Fair

Please note we are still in the process of updating this section for the 2021–22 school year.

We are excited to share our CMHF Teacher’s Guide! From understanding the different History Fair project categories to writing a thesis statement and building the final project, there is something in this guide to cover every part of the History Fair process. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Looking for Google versions of handouts? Check out our Drive folder of students handouts here. Just “Make a Copy” of the files you would like to use in order to get started.

We are continuing to add to the resources below, so please share your requests with us! If you’re looking for a resource that used to be on our page but don’t see it below, you can find it on our CMHF Resource Archive page.

Research and Project Help for your Students

Standards and Framework Alignments

Planning History Fair in your School

When planning History Fair at your school, the most important thing is to work backward from your registration due date. This is the date by which you will need to have selected the projects that you will advance to the regional CMHF contests. We recommend allowing at least ten weeks (preferably more) for students to work on their History Fair projects from start to finish. Some sample pacing guides are below.

Rules and Categories

Theme and Topics

All History Fair projects should incorporate the NHD annual theme, “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.” Students may choose any topic that connects to this theme.

Historical Questioning and Thesis

Asking questions about their topic is the foundation of good student research, and the attempt to answer a good historical question can often lead to an effective thesis statement. The thesis statement is the core of the student’s historical argument.

Research and Analysis

Students will spend several weeks finding, reading (or listening, viewing, interviewing, etc) sources related to their topic, conducting their own analysis and collecting evidence to shape and prove their thesis.

Argument and Student Voice

New for 2021, judges will be asked to rate students on their ability to represent their own conclusions in their own voice. Instead of just summarizing the facts or quoting other historians, students must explain how the evidence they gathered led them to their own historical conclusions.

  • resources coming soon!

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories