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See How We Help School Teachers

Download interview questions

Help Your Students Learn About Their Family History

At, your students can create custom interview scripts that they can use to conduct interviews with family members — parents, grandparents and family friends — to capture the past and learn more about their family heritage.

Through this hands-on exercise, you can ignite your students' curiosity about who they are and where they're from, helping them make personal connections to their past, while deepening relationships with family members.

From teaching about similarities and differences to cultural diversity, to expanding students' reference and computer skills, can provide your classroom with the tools you need to help your students discover and develop an appreciation for their cultural heritage.

Looking for an engaging new activity or want to spur a classroom discussion? Try a family history project today!

Sample Lesson Plan
For this lesson plan, your students are required to research information about their family history, and then record (through note taking) and present the information orally to the class. Adjust the scope of the project and number of questions based on the age of the students. For example, grades 4-5 could choose 10 questions; or grades 11-12 could choose up to 25 questions. An engaging way to choose different questions is to have the student sit with a family member and select the questions together.

Students are required to research information about their family history and record it, then present it to the class. By completing this activity, students will learn interviewing skills, accurate note taking, research skills, reporting information and how to make an oral presentation.

Activity: Interviewing:
The best source when trying to discover information about your family is your family. Interview your parent/guardian to find out about your roots, where your family originated from; or who first came to this country. Begin in a notebook using a diagram, a "family tree" with all the information you receive, going back in your family's lineage as far as you can. Start with yourself, then your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Ask about places your family has lived, what hobbies, customs, and traditions they participated in and held, including religion, education, social status, careers. Choose questions from the oral history database to guide your interview.

Activity: Accurate Note Taking:
When writing the names of family members, make sure to spell them correctly. Also make sure to correctly spell the names of cities, states, counties and countries that your family members originally came from. Correctly spell the names of professions, hobbies, customs, traditions, etc. One good way to check these is to use a dictionary or encyclopedia, especially if you don't have access to a word processor on a computer with spell check or can't get online.

Presenting Your Family History:
After you've found out who you are, where your family came from, and what customs and traditions you and your family have carried on, you will present all this information to the class. Design a "family tree" with your name, ancestors, or guardians on a large board; or for older students, multimedia presentations can include photographs, booklets, posters, overhead transparencies, short video segments and student narration.

Create A Custom Interview Script

Choose from six categories of questions, including:

  1. Biographical and Family Basics
    What is your full name? Do you have a nickname? Where did your nickname come from?

  2. Stages of Life
    Did you live in a house, apartment, etc.? What was it like? What challenges occurred? Did you have to share a room? Did you have a garden?

  3. Occupational
    What was a typical day at work like? What did you father and/or mother do as an occupation? Did you ever visit them while they were working?

  4. Family Roots
    Do you know where your grandparents were born? Your great grandparents?

  5. Historical/Cultural Events
    Major events remembered? Wars? Music? Famous people? Movies? How did you feel during these events? How did they affect your family, friends, or yourself?

  6. Cultural Extras
    Cooking traditions? Social events? Interesting relatives? Clubs, organizations or other activities?

Download Questions