10 History Passion Project Ideas for High School Students
By Jin Chow
Co-founder of Polygence, Forbes 30 Under 30 for Education
By Jordan Ellington
Project Support Manager at Polygence
5 minute read
If past events fascinate you or if you truly feel as if you were born in the wrong century, you should consider becoming a historian! Knowing when, why, and how decisions have been made over time is a great skill to have. Those who possess a good understanding of the outcomes of past events have the upper hand in helping create a better future.
Explore this topic even further by conducting your own history research project! Here’s a list of 10 history passion project ideas to get you started.
Interesting History Project Ideas to Research and Explore
1) History Research Paper About Your Favorite Event
Jump in and get your hands dirty by exploring your favorite historical event! Once you choose your theme, identify your primary questions, find primary sources, and study up on your topic, draft your findings into a history research paper.
Idea by previous history research mentor Charles
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2) Research Your Family History
Gain a better understanding of your family’s past and the historical events surrounding your ancestors. Start by interviewing your relatives and listening to their stories to collect as much information as possible. Ask questions about your ancestors, and places where they’ve lived, collect documents, record oral histories, etc. By using the information given, you can do a deeper dive into your family's past. Write your own family’s history or create a podcast!
Idea by history research mentor Luther
3) Explore Comparative (Ancient) History Topics
Conduct a research paper focused on an ancient historical event of your choosing. Once your topic is chosen, determine a research gap within your event that you would like to explore further. From there, identify five research questions revolving around your event gap that can help you fill in the blanks. Do your research to find the answers to your questions!
Idea by previous history research mentor Supratik
4) History vs. Hollywood
Choose a few different movies that revolve around real historical events. After watching the movies and taking detailed notes, do your research by reading up on each of these topics. How realistic are the movies? What information was added, left out, or exaggerated?
Idea by previous history research mentor Holly
5) Propaganda in World War II
If the Second World War fascinates you, this is your project! Pull together as many pieces of propaganda from that period as you can find. This could range from anything relating to a poster, milk carton, comic book, etc. Analyzing your findings will provide you with an understanding of the different reactions portrayed through society at this time. How does this compare to today?
Idea by history research mentor Jonathan
6) Create a Video or Podcast About History
Choose a recent event that revolves around race and capitalism within the U.S. Pull together articles, news stories, and social media posts to view the different reactions to this event that occurred. Compare this current event to a similar past event and create a podcast or video of your findings.
Idea by previous history research mentor Samantha
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7) The Interwar Herald: News of the World
Are you intrigued by the roaring 20s? If so, create your newspaper revolving around historical events from the 1920s! Choose multiple different news stories from that time and get creative. Get creative and design your paper using pictures, articles, ads, interviews, and letters all from that time period.
Idea by previous history research mentor Erin
8) Finding Global History in China
Learn more about the history of China! Choose a specific time period and topic revolving around Chinese history that you would like to further explore. Conduct a research paper summarizing your findings.
Idea by previous history research mentor John
9) Henry VIII - The Misunderstood Tyrant
If you like to hear about the drama of other people's lives, studying up on Henry VIII might also entertain you! Henry is best remembered for establishing the Church of England and having six wives, but there has to be more to him than that. Dive into this project to uncover the secrets of this notorious British monarch!
Idea by previous history research mentor Rebecca
10) Nature's Past: Let's Do Environmental History!
When you think of “history” you might think of politics and battles but it is so much more than that! Instead of writing a paper on a specific event, try focusing on the environment and the material world. How much better was the environment when everyone rode horses instead of driving cars? What environmental problems did society face in the past and how do those compare or differ from today?
Idea by previous history research mentor Gustave
Independent High School Research Project About History
Interested in taking part in a dedicated history research program for high school students? Explore some of our previous students’ history research projects, or learn more about how to get started on your own history research project!
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