First-Grade Family History Project

family tree image by Judy Ben Joud from

First-graders are capable of creating a family tree that goes back three generations. This is to keep the project manageable and on a first grade level. A simple family genealogy is a big project for first graders. They may need help from an adult with writing and the design of the family tree. A family history project is one way to introduce young children to the concepts of investigative reporting and proper research techniques. Take into account the child's reading, writing and motor skill abilities when deciding on the complexity of the project.

Explain what family history is to the first-graders. Every child has one set of biological parents, two sets of grandparents and four sets of great-grandparents. Each first-grader will investigate her family history. Special circumstances such as adoption should be discussed privately with the teacher if the situation arises.

Ask the first graders to collect pictures of his family. Try to collect one picture for each individual in the tree. Do not use original photographs, especially old ones. Have copies made of old or valuable photographs and use the copies for this project.

Have the children outline a tree on the poster board with a pencil. Assist them where necessary. Try to draw the tree, so there is a branch for each set of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents

Place the photographs in the proper places. Start with the child and her siblings at the base of the tree. Then place the parents -- one on each side of the tree. Each grandparent is placed above his or her child, allowing room for the great-grandparents. Finally, the great-grandparents should be at the top of the tree.

Have each child pencil the names of the individuals underneath their pictures. Some children may require help with writing. Add additional facts if desired, such as birth dates or residence. Finish the project by outlining the tree with a marker and attaching the photographs to the poster board using a glue stick, photograph corners or spray mount.