Abstract to Help You Develop Your Project
- First, determine your Big Idea –
something that you know is important to
everyone and that you want to
- Once you have determined your Big
Idea that you want to investigate, you
will naturally ask questions about it.
The questions you ask will determine the
depth of your investigation. We call
these questions Essential Questions. You
should list your essential questions on
your abstract. We also recommend
that you post them on your display
- Essential Questions lead you to ask
even more questions. They ask the very
most important things that you need to
Rights and Responsibilities of Student
Citizens in America
- How do United States Citizens know
their rights and responsibilities?
- How are the rights and
responsibilities of children different
from those of adult citizens?
- How does the Constitution contribute
to the determination of the rights and
responsibilities of all American
- Are there other factors in addition
to the Constitution that determine our
rights and responsibilities as children
and as adult citizens of the United
- How do we determine if student
citizens have different rights and
responsibilities from adult citizens?
- Why does being a student impact your
rights and responsibilities?
Now that you have decided on the Big Idea
that you want to investigate and you have
asked the essential questions that will help
you come to a conclusion, you will need to
conduct some research to find your answers.
There are many places to search for
information regarding the rights and
responsibilities of citizens in the United
States. You may choose to read about the
Constitution or you may choose to read the
Constitution itself for starters. Specific
amendments and bills may be of particular
interest to you. You can certainly find much
information on the Internet, for example the
primary documents at the
Library of Congress, the detailed
information at the
National Constitution Center, the
Civic Education, or
Guide to U.S. Government for Kids. These
are just suggestions to help you see how
easy it will be to locate the information
you need to answer your essential questions
and investigate your Big Idea.
What does it mean to validate your
To show the validity of something means
that you must prove its truthfulness and
accuracy. This means that you will want to
do some background research on you sources.
- If you are using an Internet source
and the site is a .com site and that
usually means that it is a commercial
site. In that case, you must investigate
to see if the company has a solid
reputation for stating correct
- If in doubt, do not use the
information. If an Internet site is a .gov
site, then you can validate the
information by reading to see what
government agency posted the
information, if it is federal, state, or
local, and who is responsible for the
- If it is an .edu site, then check to
see what educational institution has
posted the information and find out if
it is a credible educational
- If in doubt, ask your parents or
your teachers if you should rely on the
information on the Internet site, the
books, magazines, or newspaper articles
you may have chosen.
- If you are conducting an interview
via email, telephone, or in person, find
out the background of the person with
whom you are speaking to be certain that
they are relaying the most correct
information that you can locate
regarding your topic. Verify that the
person or persons are the most credible
sources for your information.
Before you can summarize your findings,
you must first analyze all of the facts.
Take everything apart and look for the
details, the connections, the patterns, and
the cause and effect issues, make
comparisons and evaluate what you have
discovered. Then, pull it altogether in a
summary that explains briefly – in just a
few words – what your project is all about.
From your research, what can you conclude
about your Big Idea? Look at the answers
you have found for your Essential Questions
and write down what you now know about your
Better Solution, Change the Outcome or Make
Can you create a better solution to the
problem? How could you change the outcome?
What is your prediction for the future of
this Big Idea you have been researching? You
will probably not have an answer for all
three of these questions, depending on the
Big Idea you are investigating, but you must
answer at least one of these questions or
your abstract will be considered incomplete
by the judges.
You must write out your resources in the
form of a bibliography. You will see that
one example of a resource to help you write
a bibliography correctly has been provided
to you at the top of the bibliography page.
You should use this free Internet site to be
certain that you are using the correct
format. An incorrect format could cost you
points on the judges’ score card.
Now that your research and writing are
finished, you will be concentrating your
efforts to create a presentation which will
communicate your findings and your own ideas
to the judges. You will need to refer to the
Rules and Regulations for the West Virginia
State Social Studies Fair link to find out
about the different possibilities for
presentation. This year for the first time
students are invited to use hand-held
battery powered technology equipment to
enhance their presentations.
Good Luck with your research. We hope to
see you at the Fair!