The fair, sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), is for students in fourth through 12th grades. They compete in categories that include anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology; sociology, government, U.S history and world history. The projects include individual, pair and class presentations. This year, students were invited to collaborate with students in other countries to conduct social science research projects in the new international category.
A student awaits her turn to present her project on going green in West Virginia state parks to the judges during the West Virginia Social Studies Fair in Charleston.
“Social studies play an increasingly important role in today’s global economy where students are not only competing with students in other states but those in other countries,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “As we move forward with Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it., events like this are more important than ever in helping prepare students to live in a diverse and ever changing society.”
Students who compete at the state Social Studies Fair first won their school and county events in their respective division, category and project type. Projects are judged on oral presentation; theme and research; display; and abstract.
The Social Studies Fair is designed to recognize and reward outstanding achievements of social studies students and encourage students to practice 21st century skills, including information and communication skills; critical thinking and problem-solving skills; and interpersonal and self-directional skills.
Students talk to a judge about their social studies project on the National
Road during the annual West Virginia Social Studies Fair, the only statewide
fair of its kind in the United States.
The West Virginia Department of Education started the fair in 1977 in conjunction with Marshall University and with input from a group of West Virginia social studies teachers. The first fairs were in Huntington and were later moved to Charleston.
“The state Social Studies Fair offers students the chance to demonstrate their knowledge on various subjects on a much larger scale,” said Regina Scotchie, social studies coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education. “It’s so wonderful to see such creative and knowledgeable projects.”