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WHAT IS NATIONAL HISTORY DAY?

National History Day is an exciting way for students to study and learn about historical issues, ideas, people, and events. This year-long educational program fosters academic achievement and intellectual growth through project-based learning. In addition to acquiring useful historical knowledge and perspective during the series of district, state, and national competitions, students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will help them manage and use information now and in the future.

 

Students are encouraged to choose any topic in local, national, or world history and investigate its historical significance and relationship to the theme by conducting extensive primary and secondary research. After analyzing and interpreting their information, students present their findings in papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries, and websites that are evaluated by historians and educators.

 

National History Day has two divisions: the junior division (grades 6-8) and the senior division (grades 9-12). Students can enter one of the following eight categories: individual paper, individual or group exhibit, individual or group performance, individual or group documentary. Groups can consist of two to five students.

 

District History Day contests are usually held in February or March. District winners then prepare to compete at the state contest usually held in early May. The top two finishers in each category at the state contest become eligible to advance to the national contest held in June at the University of Maryland at College Park.

BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS

All types of students participate in National History Day—urban and suburban students; public, private, parochial, and home school students; bright students and intellectually challenged students.

 

Students grow academically and intellectually as they integrate the arts, economics, sciences and other disciplines into a historical presentation. Researching for an entry enhances reading, comprehension, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills while fostering pride in each student's heritage and in our nation's history and place in the world.

 

Preparing for the competitions heightens written, visual, and performance presentation skills. The varied formats foster creativity and imagination in presentations.

 

By participating in the contests, students develop a more positive attitude about their potential as learners and as persons. They acquire confidence and interpersonal skills that are an important part of the maturing process. Students say they have learned skills that will stay with them for a lifetime.


BENEFITS FOR TEACHERS


National History Day promotes continuing education for secondary school teachers. Teacher workshops promote the exchange of ideas in learning and teaching, building bridges between high school and college educators. Three-week summer institutes for teachers and media specialists closely examine global and multicultural aspects of an annual theme. Curricular aids such as lesson plans and bibliographic guides are provided to all teachers participating in the contest.


National History Day promotes continuing education for secondary school teachers. Teacher workshops promote the exchange of ideas in learning and teaching, building bridges between high school and college educators. Three-week summer institutes for teachers and media specialists closely examine global and multicultural aspects of an annual theme. Curricular aids such as lesson plans and bibliographic guides are provided to all teachers participating in the contest.
 

A teacher said on a recent survey, "National History Day encourages creativity in teaching with an emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving--a great improvement over traditional teaching methods, making teaching a more creative, intellectual exercise. The program also provides teachers public recognition that is rarely extended to them in their professional lives."

NATIONAL HISTORY DAY OBJECTIVES

  • To provide history teachers with an innovative teaching tool.
  • To assist teachers and schools in meeting education standards that require outcome-based learning activities.
  • To encourage the study of history by guiding students to express themselves creatively through presentations of historical topics and materials in a variety of formats.
  • To interest students in learning about history by integrating the materials and methods of social studies, art, literature, language, and music into their entries.
  • To develop research and reading skills and to refine presentation skills in writing, visual projects and performances.
  • To develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will help students manage and use information effectively now and in the future.
  • To encourage students to develop a sense of history as a process and change, a multifaceted development over time that affects every aspect of human life and society.
  • To get students out of the school building and into the community, investigating local history.
  • To involve parents and other members of the community in students' education.
  • To expose students to new and exciting educational environments by holding contests on college campuses and at historical societies.
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