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Family History
Grade Level(s): 3-5, 6-8
By: Lynn Renee' Wise, Parent

Students are required to research some information about their family history, record this information and present orally to the class.


Research, Accurate Notetaking, Interviewing, Presenting Information in Writing, Visually, and Orally


  • Scoring Rubrics (included)
  • Pencil/Eraser/Word Processor
  • Notepad
  • Interviewees
  • Family Records (such as court documents, Bibles, birth certificates, baptismal records)
  • Photographs
  • Poster Board
  • Photo Album
  • Approved Video



To assess the learning of the theme of the unit, "The Search for the Real Me," students are required to research some information about their family history and record this information, which will be submitted and presented orally to the class for a major grade of 200 points. Through completing this activity, students will learn interviewing skills, accurate notetaking, research skills and resources, recording and reporting information, and how to present an oral report.

  • A 186-200
  • B 172-185
  • C 154-171
  • D 140-153
  • F below 140
Activity: Interviewing 50 points:

The best source to use when trying to find out about one's family is the family itself. Interview your parent/guardian to find out your roots, from where and whom you originated. Write in a notebook or on a diagram of a "family tree" all the information you receive, going back as far as you can. Start with yourself, go to your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Ask about places your family has lived, what hobbies, customs, and traditions were, such as religion, education, social status, careers. Gather as much history from the past as you can, such as old photographs, court records, photocopies of birth certificates, etc. Sometimes, one's entire family history can be found in an old dusty Bible in a keepsake chest.

Accurate Notetaking 50 points:

When writing names of family members, be sure to spell names correctly. If unsure, check birth certificates, court records, etc. Be sure to spell correctly the names of cities, states, counties, and countries from where family members originated. Spell correctly the names of professions, hobbies, customs, traditions, etc. One good way to check on these is in the dictionary, if you do not have access to a word processor on a computer with spellcheck. When using spellcheck, the dictionary will not generally recognize names, so those will have to be added to the dictionary.

Resources 50 points:

Besides family members, old Bibles, and family court records, good sources of information may be found on-line. The Internet offers searches in the area of genealogy. Some people make careers of doing family histories. There should be plenty of websites where you can find court records on your family's history. Wills, land deeds, certificates of marriage and birth, all can be found with court records. If you have trouble accessing these on-line, you may check at your local town library or courthouse.

Presenting Your Family Record 50 points:

After you have found out who you are, where you have originated, and what some customs and traditions are that you've continued, you will need to present these to the class in writing and orally. Some sort of "family tree" with your name, ancestors, or guardians must be presented in writing to the teacher. Your final grade will be returned to you on this hard copy. Multimedia presentations may include photographs, booklets, posters, overhead transparencies, short video segments previewed and approved by the principal, computerized field trips, and student narration (required). A sample multimedia presentation will be modeled in class by your teacher. Each student will receive a copy of a "family tree" as the presentation is being modeled.

Scoring Rubric:

_____(50 points) Evidence of interviewing has been presented. Signatures:______________________________

_____(50 points) Student notes submitted have been proofread and edited.

_____(50 points) Resources listed: Where did you find your information?________________________________

_____(50 points) Hard copy (this copy) is submitted. A multimedia presentation is given. Oral presentation is clear, audible, and free of grammatical errors. Students can see and hear well.


The students loved this activity. It enabled them to discover much about their family heritage, such as religious background and origination.


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