1 NATIONAL HISTORY DAY IN N.C ONLINE TEACHER WORKSHOP Learning the basics of National History Day in North Carolina Some materials adapted with permission from National History Day in Wisconsin, Washington State History Day, and National History Day in Minnesota
2 WHAT IS HISTORY DAY AND WHY SHOULD WE DO IT? National History Day is an in-school program that aids the teaching and learning of history. Students learn history by doing their own historical research and creating a project in a medium that plays to their own strengths.
3 WHAT IS HISTORY DAY AND WHY SHOULD WE DO IT? Most importantly, History Day helps students develop or improve skills that they need to be successful in life, skills such as: Organizational skills and ability to manage long-term projects Ability to identify and analyze a problems Knowledge of how to obtain resources and information and to evaluate the credibility of that information Ability to synthesize large amounts of information into solid arguments and ideas Ability to describe and defend their work to others Ability to work with technology Ability to work both independently and with others Effective communication through clear writing, speaking, and presentation skills
4 NHD Meets Education Standards For teachers, History Day provides a platform to teach students not just the facts of history but the process of historical thinking. History Day allows teachers to address the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for social studies but in a number of other disciplines as well. Click here for samples of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study met by National History Day. Visit and click on NHD and Common Core to see how NHD aligns with Common Core Standards.
5 AN OVERVIEW OF NHD IN NC To begin, read the information on the About section of the N. C. History Day page Once you finish, return here to answer the following questions. What grade levels are eligible for National History Day? What did a national evaluation find are some of the advantages for students who participate in History Day?
6 AN OVERVIEW OF NHD IN NC Read slide 3 in Fundamentals of a Good History Day Project Powerpoint and return to answer the following questions. What grades participate in the junior division? What grades participate in the senior division? Note: Keep this Powerpoint presentation open as you will refer to it often during this online workshop.
7 NC History Day Organization North Carolina History Day is divided into six regions across the state. Schools with a large number of participants will want to have a school contest to choose those students who will move to the district level of competition. Not all students will have participated in a school contest, but all students must participate in a district contest in order to be eligible for the state competition.
8 NC History Day Organization District contests are held in March or April. You should notify your district coordinator of your intention to participate, so you will receive the necessary information for registering for your district contest. The state contest is held in Raleigh the last Saturday in April.
9 NC National History Day Organization Read the information under the districts tab of the web site Once you finish, return and answer the following questions. In which region does your county participate? Who is the coordinator for your district?
10 Topics and Research Each year National History Day picks a broad theme around which students will develop their projects. These themes are designed to allow students to choose topics related to the theme in any area of history local, state, national, or world. Both the national office and the state office develop a list of possible themes that students may explore. However, students should not feel limited to the suggested subjects. The best projects are often ones based on topics students have discovered themselves.
11 Topics and Research On the Themes section of the NC National History Day page look over the information there and return to answer the following questions. What is this year s theme? What is one suggested topic from the national office related to this year s theme? What is one suggested topic from the state office related to this year s theme? What other organization listed on the page provides possible topics?
12 Topics and Research In order to be successful, students must use both primary and secondary sources. Make sure that your students understand the difference between the two. Here are definitions you may share with them.
13 Topics and Research: Primary Sources Primary sources are ones that were created or in use during the period being studied. They may include diaries, maps, photographs, music, artifacts, newspaper articles from the period, or historic sites. Primary sources are important, because they provide the researcher with the opportunity to evaluate and interpret the materials themselves.
14 Topics and Research: Primary Sources Note: Primary materials such as quotations from historical figures or photographs of historical events can be found in secondary sources, and students may certainly make use of those materials. However, those sources would not be considered primary. The sources should be listed as a secondary source, but students can use their annotations to indicate that the source made use of primary materials.
15 Topics and Research: Secondary Sources Secondary sources are materials not related to the topic by time or participation. They may include sources such as textbooks, biographies, scholarly history books, or current magazine or newspaper articles. Secondary sources are important because they provide background information and context.
16 Topics and Research: Going Beyond the Internet Students need to understand that while the internet can be a great resource, it is not the only one. The internet does not have nor will it ever have all available sources.
17 Topics and Research: Going Beyond the Internet The most successful projects will be those that involve students: looking at books, documents, and photographs in libraries and archives; visiting museums and historic sites to see the artifacts and places that were directly connected to history; listening to music and other audiovisual sources related to the event; or talking to people who are knowledgeable about the topic either by personal experience or through scholarship.
18 Topics and Research: Evaluating Sources Learning to evaluate sources is equally important for students. Help them learn to examine each source for bias and authenticity.
19 Topics and Research Read slides 6 through 13 in the slide show Fundamentals of a Good History Day Project Powerpoint, which is available at and return to answer the following questions. How many sources does History Day require students to have for their projects? What can students do to organize their research?
20 Topics and Research Click on the Research tab of the NC History Day website, which is available at Read the information there and return to answer the question. Name two research resources described on the page.
21 Developing a Thesis Statement All projects, regardless of the category chosen, should have a clear thesis statement that explains what the student will be proving in the project. Read slides 7 and 8 of Fundamentals of a Good History Day Project Powerpoint and answer the question. What is the purpose of the thesis statement?
22 Divisions: Junior and Senior Depending on their grade level, students create projects in one of two divisions: Students in grades 6 through 8 compete in the Junior division. Students in grades 9 through 12 compete in the Senior division.
23 Divisions: Junior and Senior Students in different grades may work together as long as they are in the same division. In other words, middle school students can work together and high school students can work together, but a student from middle school cannot work on a project with a student from high school.
24 Categories There are five media students may use to develop their projects: historical papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries, or websites. These are divided into 18 competition categories. There are two categories in which only individuals can participate. They are: Junior papers Senior papers
25 Categories All other categories have both individual and group (2-5 students) components. They are: Junior Individual Exhibit Junior Group Exhibit Junior Individual Website Junior Group Website Junior Individual Documentary Junior Group Documentary Junior Individual Performance Junior Group Performance Senior Individual Exhibit Senior Individual Website Senior Individual Documentary Senior Individual Performance Senior Group Exhibit Senior Group Website Senior Group Documentary Senior Group Performance
26 Choosing a Category There are numerous considerations that need to go into deciding on a category. Some topics may not lend themselves to a particular category. For instance, topics that will not have a large number of visuals to illustrate them would not make good documentaries.
27 Choosing a Category In addition, students have different gifts, and they should play to their strengths. Students who are terrified of public speaking may not want to choose the performance category. Even the decision of whether to work individually or in a group should be made based on the student s work habits and expectations of the project.
28 Understanding the Rules It is vital that students know and abide by the rules. From the Themes section of the N.C. NHD page ( click on the rule book link and read pages Return to answer the following questions. What will students learn from reading these pages? To what does rule 18 refer?
29 Understanding the Rules Return to the rule book ( and read the sections for each category. After each category, answer the following questions. Papers What is the minimum and maximum length of papers? Rule A3 indicates that papers should not be enclosed in what?
30 Understanding the Rules Exhibits To what does the 500-word limit refer? What things are excluded from the 500-word limit? Performance What is the maximum time allowed for performances? Under what circumstances may students have someone else make their costumes?
31 Understanding the Rules Documentary What is the maximum time limit allowed for a documentary? Who may operate the equipment in a documentary? Websites How many student-composed words are allowed in a website? What is the maximum length of each multimedia clip within the website?
32 Bibliography History projects must be based on solid research in order to be successful. The bibliography demonstrates the level of research the student has achieved. It is the first thing the judges will look at during the evaluation process.
33 Bibliography Bibliographies should be divided into primary and secondary sources. This allows the judges to help you, the teacher, determine if students fully understand the difference between the two kinds of sources. Each entry should also be annotated. The annotation should not be a recap of the source but instead should briefly explain how that source was useful in helping the student understand the topic.
34 Bibliography Look at slides of Fundamentals of a Good History Day Project Powerpoint ( and return to answer the following questions. What style guides are allowed? What is the purpose of a bibliographic citation? If a student finds a primary photograph in a textbook, in which section of the bibliography should the source be listed?
35 Process Paper Students should create a 500-word process paper. This document outlines the process students used to create their project. Students should not use the process paper to summarize their project. All substantive information about the project should be in the project itself. *Please note: Students writing research papers do not need to write a process paper. Only students creating a website, performance, exhibit, or documentary must write a process paper.
36 Process Paper Read slide 18 of Fundamentals of a Good History Day powerpoint, available at and answer the following question. What four points should a process paper address?
37 Judging At every level of competition, students will have the opportunity to have their worked reviewed by others and to defend their work to their reviewers. As their teacher, you are the first judge. The success of the student is directly related to the involvement of the teacher in reviewing the students work during the creation period.
38 Judging Read slides of Fundamentals of a Good History Day powerpoint, which is available at and review the judging criteria.
39 Narrating vs. Analyzing The ultimate goal of historical research is to analyze a topic and draw conclusions. Successful History Day projects must do this. Students should be sure that they analyze the importance of the topic in history, not simply relate a series of events. Historical research must also be balanced. While students will and should draw a conclusion about the impact of the topic on history, they should also recognize that others may have different conclusions and demonstrate within the project that they have reviewed various views.
40 Conclusion: Getting Started Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the National History Day in North Carolina program! To get started in your classroom, please review the Teacher Toolkit: Suggestions for Implementing and Improving Your History Day Program, available at
41 Conclusion: Getting Started Find out what district your school is in by looking at the Districts tab at and get in touch with your district coordinator to request a rule book and a theme book and to let him or her know if your students plan to compete at the district contest. You can also download the theme book and rule book from the NHD in NC website ( or order them from the national office (
42 Conclusion: Getting Started You may also ask the district coordinator if he or she could visit your school to talk about NHD with you and your fellow teachers or talk about it with your class.
43 Conclusion: Getting Started Be sure to visit the National History Day website ( for updates, tips for teachers and students, and new information. At teachers can click on the links in the left margin to find a sample classroom calendar; eight steps to historical research; and information about teacher resources. Teachers can also learn more about teacher institutes and workshops and can see sample handouts developed by teachers who use NHD in their classrooms. At students can find information about getting started, conducting research, and creating an entry.
44 Conclusion: Getting Started Show students the Fundamentals of a Good History Day Project, which is available at to introduce them to NHD and to explore how to create a strong project. Students and teachers will also be interested in seeing sample projects that are available on the national website at
45 Conclusion: Getting Started The national office of National History Day offers useful books for sale on such topics as how to create an exhibit, website, documentary, research paper, and performance as well as a book designed specifically to help teachers use National History Day in the classroom. A Guide to Historical Research Through the National History Day Program was written by a team of ten veteran NHD teachers who provide their best practices in supporting student research. The book is formatted to take teachers step-by-step through a school year, from topic selection to research presentation. More information about any of these books can be found at
46 Questions? For more information, call the state coordinator, Laura Ketcham, at (919) , or send her an at