Project Tips

Choosing a Topic

Choose something that interests you! You may choose any aspect of local, provincial, regional or national history. Some examples include a person, a place, an event or an idea. Your Heritage Fair experience will be much more enjoyable if you’re interested in your topic.

Some suggestions for choosing an interesting topic:

  • Choose one of your hobbies. Find out if there is a famous Canadian athlete, actor, dancer, or artists you can research for your project.
  • Research your family history. Where is your family from? Does your family have a story about coming to Canada? Do you have indigenous heritage?
  • Start with your birthday. Did an important historical event happen on your birthday? Was a significant Canadian born or did they die? Try searching for your birthday on Library and Archives Canada’s #OnThisDay page. If you don’t find anything interesting, you can do a general search for “[your birthday] in Canadian history” and see what comes up – you may be surprised!
  • Look through your Social Studies textbook or the websites on our Resources page. Is there anything there that you find interesting?
  • Research your city, neighborhood or school. There may be history all around you! Start your search at the Delta Archives.
  • Anniversaries or milestones can inspire creative Heritage Fair projects. See a list of anniversaries on our Topic Ideas page.
  • Historical figures can be a great topic. See a list of historical figures on our Topic Ideas page.

Still need ideas? Visit our Topic Ideas page.

Research

Research is the most important part of a Heritage Fair project and it’s important to get started early! Use as many different sources of information as you can and try to include some primary sources. Primary sources are information that comes from the original source, like interviews, photographs, and archival documents. Use the Resources page as a starting point.

Writing a Bibliography:

A bibliography includes all books, magazines, websites and people used in the research and development of your Heritage Fair project. This can be part of your display or attached to the back of your board. Click Here to learn how to write a bibliography and Click Here to see a sample bibliography.

Project Display

The look of your display is almost as important as the information on it. Try to include lots of different elements in your project. Your display board isn’t just for text! Try to include photos, drawings, maps, diagrams, and documents on your board as well. You should also try to have some objects next to your board. You could make a model or display books, artifacts, or a slideshow. It’s More than a Display Board gives ideas about how to do create a display.

Judge Interviews

Your interview may be the most important part of your project. Being able to present your project to judges and the public is an important skill. The BC Heritage Fairs Society’s Interview Tips gives some good common-sense advice.

At the Regional Fair, you will be interviewed by a pair of judges. Judges come from the community and include museum workers, retired teachers, and other history enthusiasts. Projects are judged on the following areas:

A) Historical Significance
You should be able to clearly explain the significance of your topic, or why it’s important. For example, you could talk about how people’s lives were affected or changed, connections to issues important to people at that time or today, or connections to the “big picture”.

B) Evidence
Make sure to use and analyze lots of different kinds of information in your research, for example, books, magazines, photographs, and drawings. Visits to the archives, museums, or historic places, in person or online, are encouraged.

C) Presentation
Your project display should be a well-organized and creative expression of your research. Information should be typed or neatly written and lines cut straight with a ruler.

D) Interview
You should be able to answer questions about your project and show that you’re excited about what you’ve learned.

Prepare for your interview by practicing in front of a family member or friend. Try to think about the kinds of questions that the judges will ask you and prepare an answer for each one. Here are some common questions:

  • Why did you choose this topic?
  • Why should someone your age in another country or province know about your topic?
  • What is the “big story” or context behind your topic?
  • How does your topic connect to another important story?
  • What did you learn about your topic by making this project? What do you still need to learn?
  • Describe the research process.
  • How did your research help you see the “big story” behind your topic?
  • What sources were most useful?
  • Why was X source a good way to learn?
  • What did source X not tell you?
  • What does this source suggest about who made it and why he/she made it?
  • What discoveries or further questions did X source lead you to?
  • What do you like most about the presentation of your project?
  • What would you have done differently?
  • Why did you choose to demonstrate your research this way?
  • Describe how you organized your information and what lead you to organize it this way.
  • What did you learn about history and how historians think by doing this project?
  • What did you learn about yourself and your abilities by doing this project?
  • What did you find most surprising in doing this project?
  • Why did you choose this topic?

For more tips, visit the BC Heritage Fair Alumni Blog, http://bcheritagefairsalumni.wordpress.com/, or the BC Heritage Fairs Society Website http://www.bcheritagefairs.ca/.

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