CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Approximately 500 students are presenting on topics ranging from history and political science, to anthropology and psychology at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

Students representing schools across 40 counties made their way out to the 47th annual West Virginia Social Studies Fair on Wednesday.

Within the social studies subject areas, 3rd – 12th grade students dished out a wide array of individualized topics that related to those overarching categories.

A senior at Scott High School in Boone County, Gavin Bias did his project on media propaganda in modern news, and how everyone consumes it everyday.

Bias said with the abundance of news that is out there– across not only the traditional way we get it, but the more non-traditional sources such as social media– he was inspired to do his topic on how it’s important to educate people, particularly young people, about being more conscientious and practice critical thinking when finding the truth within the sources.

“People my age, they just scroll, they don’t necessarily pick news websites, they scroll and they like what they like, and then these algorithms give them more of what they like,” Bias said. “So, if you like things that are more right-winged, it’s going to keep showing you those things and you won’t see any of the other side.”

He said no matter if someone thinks something is more right or wrong in a news source, it’s important to view both sides, and he said he hoped his project could bring awareness to that issue.

Another project at the fair offered up a complete historical review of the 1912 tragedy of the Titanic.

Two fifth graders from Springfield Green Elementary in Hampshire County, Dakota Elliot and Evan Burkett said their inspiration came from a book about survivors of the Titanic that they had read in class.

Elliott said there was one very significant piece of information he learned regarding the tragedy that really stuck with him.

“There was a book written in 1898 called The Wreck of the Titan, and it predicted exactly what happened to the Titanic,” he explained.

Elliott and Burkett both agreed that while the movie displayed many elements of truth behind the occurrence, they learned that it exaggerated some aspects.

“It kind of feels like the movie has some made up things that probably didn’t actually happen,” Elliott said.

“Yeah, like Rose and Jack, and what they did, none of that probably was real,” added Burkett.

Student Enrichment Coordinator with the West Virginia Department of Education, Dustin Lambert, told MetroNews that the annual social studies fair is already the largest student competition hosted by WVDE, and this year’s event saw the most students they’ve ever had participating.

He said students progressed through three previous rounds of judging to get to the state-level competition, starting at the school-level, moving up to the county, and on to a regional-level competition.

Lambert said he feels many times, history is often a forgotten subject.

“Not that teachers don’t teach it, but obviously there is a push right now for math and ELA, but social studies is just as important as any other topic and I think it shows, and clearly these students demonstrate that they are passionate and enthusiastic about topics related to history,” Lambert said.

There were three different divisions of judging at Wednesday’s competition: 3rd – 5th grade, 6th – 8th, and 9th – 12th grade. Within those divisions, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places were to be awarded, along with the possibility of an honorable mention for students throughout the two categories of Individual and Group categories.

Judging took place throughout the day and the awards were going to be given out at the end. The results can be viewed by visiting the West Virginia Social Studies Fair website.