Looking for a History Day topic? Think Wyoming!
Wyoming history is full of great research topics for History Day contest projects. To get the mental juices flowing, we’ve come up with some potential topics that fit with the 2012 theme, Revolution, Reaction and Reform, along with some tips.
2013 Wyoming History Day Sample Topics
What is History Day?
History Day is a nation-wide contest for 6-12 grade students to research and present a history-based project. It’s kind of like a science fair for history. Students choose a topic that fits with the annual theme, research their topic and create a project about the topic. They can choose to present an exhibit, a documentary, a paper, a performance or a web site. Students then compete on a school and district level for a chance to present their work at the state competition. If they do well at state, the students can move on to the National competition held in College Park, MD.
Where can I find resources for my project?
Libraries are always a great place to start, but don’t forget archives and museums. They hold many primary sources that are not available in the library or online. People are another great resource. Consider interviewing experts or individuals who lived through events.
Just remember, not all sources are trustworthy. Take time to look at who created the source you are using. Are they an expert on the subject? Do they treat the topic objectively? Do they have a bias on the topic that would make their point of view suspicious? Do they sensationalize the facts or conveniently leave some out? If the facts don’t seem to add up, you may want to consider finding a different source for your information.
What is the difference between a Primary and Secondary source?
A primary source is a source that was created at the same time an event happened, by someone close to the event. These can be diaries, autobiographies, newspaper and magazine articles of the time, oral histories, original documents, statistics, works of art and photographs. The information a primary source comes “straight from the horse’s mouth.”
A secondary source uses primary sources to interpret and draw conclusions after the event has taken place. These include books, biographies, and magazine or newspaper articles written well after an event. These sources are good for helping you to understand an event or topic and can lead you to primary sources, so be sure to check their bibliographies and footnotes.
There is a third type of source: a tertiary source. These are sources that take information from primary and secondary sources and simplify them down to the basics, like an encyclopedia, dictionary, almanacs, fact books or Wikipedia. These sources are not considered “experts” on topics and should only be used to gain a basic understanding of a topic before you begin to dig deeper into the subject. Do not include them in your bibliography.
American Heritage Center
Buffalo Bill Historical Center
Colorado Wyoming Association of Museums (CWAM)
Library of Congress
National History Day
Wyoming Historical Society
Wyoming History Day
Wyoming State Archives
Duke University Libraries
Purdue Online Writing Lab