Research Famous People in History

A research project about famous people in history can be an interesting, and motivating assignment for students.

By Carrie Jackson

Famous People Lesson Plans

Almost every student in school will have to complete a research project about at least one famous person in history. For many students this could be a difficult task. Selecting an individual, gathering information, and putting it all together can be overwhelming for any student. But there are some things that teachers can do to make this a little easier, and motivate students when they are completing their historical research project.

The first step is to help students find a historical figure they would like to find out about. Creating an interest survey is a good way to help students choose. Brainstorm or have the class present a list of famous historical individuals they have learned about, or would like to know more about. Develop a list of information about each famous person. The historical figure could be an inventor, leader, or even an explorer.  Students could also choose a famous individual from a different genre such as music, art, or literature. There are some great websites that can help students choose their famous person. Here's one from the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence.

Another way to guide students on their way to a successful research project is to create a list of approved Internet search engines and websites. As students compile information, they can use graphic organizers or research templates. This is also a great time to teach students about the difference between primary and secondary sources. The Library of Congress has a wealth of information for students to search through. They might even find of reproduction of something their historical figure has written. As with any research project, students should use a variety of sources, but should try to use reliable ones, such as encyclopedias, books, magazines, newspapers and reputable websites. Below are some lesson plans that contain great research ideas to guide students through the this process.

Famous People in History Lesson Plans:

Straight to the Source- In this lesson students will do research on famous figures from history by using primary sources. In addition they will examine primary sources by Malcolm X and reflect on his writing.

Forming Research Questions- Students develop historical research questions and analyze primary and secondary sources that include autobiographies, diaries, maps, photographs, letters, government documents, biographies and other nonfiction books related to the history of the United States. 

Presenting Personal Research and Observations- Students use various methods for gathering research about people and places. The focus of the research is based on the heritage and history of their local community.

A Multimedia Research Project- Students use the following media medians to help them research different topics; Internet (SIRS, Grolier), World Book Encyclopedia, books, and magazines. They use different computer programs to help them create presentations for their projects; in addition, they will explore websites to gather information and images to add to their project.   

All About Computers- Students will be introduced to the World Wide Web as a research tool. They will locate information using an Internet library and a search engine. This is a great lesson to show students how to use the Internet as a resource.





History Guide

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Carrie Jackson