National History Day in Wisconsin: Beginning Your History Day Adventure!
What can you do with NHD?
BECOME an historian
Explore the history of something that interests YOU
Create a project to SHARE your ideas with others
Enter a competitive cycle - ADVANCE to regional, state, and national contests
How does NHD work?
Work alone or in a group
Select a topic connected to annual theme
Complete your own research
Analyze the significance of topic in history
Present your ideas through a creative project
Compete in series of regional, state, and national competitions (optional)
What do students think about NHD?
“ [NHD] made me PASSIONATE about history.”
“ [History Day] ROCKS! Not only do I actually pay attention in history class now, I actually want to learn more about it. I want to go beyond the little wimpy preliminary research textbook and find primary sources and first hand references.”
Select a topic based on an annual theme.
Topics must be connected to the to theme
Annual theme is broad enough to cover a wide range of topics
2012 NHD Annual Theme
Revolution, Reaction, Reform
The Annual Theme
Revolution: Overthrow of one government and replacement with another. Dramatic and wide-reaching change.
Reaction: Response. Reactions can be words, actions, or changes in way of thinking.
Reform: To change. Remember, not all reforms were positive for everyone involved. The impact of a reform may change over time
In History: Look at the significance of the topic over time.
WHS ID 2036 WHS ID 1921 Library of Congress: LC-USZ6-2067 Elvis Presley Frank Lloyd Wright The Milk Strikes WHS Image ID: 66859 The Changing Roles of Women During WWII
Topic Brainstorm What topics can YOU think of that are examples of Revolution, Reaction, Reform in history:
Picking an NHD Topic
Needs to connect to the annual theme, but…
There are endless topic possibilities!
Everything has a history!
Tips for Picking Topics
Is your topic too new?
Avoid current events… Delve into a part of history!
More than 20 years in the past as a rule of thumb
The anti and pro-union protests that took place in Wisconsin in 2011 Use the topic as inspiration for a more historic, related issue. WHS ID 2036
Tips for Picking Topics
Is your topic too broad? Narrow topic by time period, people, event, or geographic area. Look at something specific related to the broad topic
The entire history of the American Revolution Look at one particular aspect of that larger topic, such as the role of the Stamp Act in the coming of the American Revolution Library of Congress Library of Congress
Tips for Picking Topics
Other questions to consider:
Available resources : Are there primary and secondary sources that you can access about this topic?
Do you like the topic? NHD is a long-term project. Pick a topic that interests you!
The NHD Process Research Analyze Present The Three Hats of the Historian
Research Research your topics using primary and secondary sources. “ NHD really helped me with my research skills. During the research I learned to use the Archives and microfilm.” "During my research I was able to visit the archives at UW-GB. I found that often the primary sources had better opinions and more meaningful information than the compiled secondary sources."
Start with Secondary Sources
A book about your topic
A good website from a reliable source
Move to Primary Sources
Photographs, interviews, books written by participants, newspaper articles, etc.
Primary and Secondary Sources
Connected to an event by time or participation
Created at the time of the event or by someone who witnessed the event
Created after the fact and analyzes primary sources to create an historical narrative
Need both types of research for a good NHD project
Where to find information?
Become the Historian!
“ The feeling of understanding history and being able to make an argument about something that has already happened made this entire experience worthwhile.”
Thesis and Analysis
History Day is more than just a book report
Analyze your research to figure out why your topic is significant in history
Develop a thesis statement about your topic
Papers (individuals only)
Students present their research in one of several creative formats:
Selecting a Category
Pick a category YOU like:
Do you like working with technology?
Do you like performing on stage?
Do you like writing?
Pick a category that works with your topic:
Are there enough visuals for this topic to make a documentary? An exhibit? A website?
Can you focus on a specific person or event for a performance?
Similar to what you might see in a museum
Uses text, images, objects, etc. to make an argument
Up to 6’ tall, 40” wide, 30” deep
500 student-composed words
Most popular NHD category
Exhibits – A Closer Look
Similar to what you might see on PBS or the History Channel
10-minute media presentation
Great category if you like technology and have a visual topic
10-minute dramatic performance
Conveys your argument and evidence
Uses scripts, costumes, props, etc.
Great category for performers who love to be on stage: actors, singers, dancers
Individual papers only – no group entries
1,500 - 2,500 word essay about an historical topic
Includes citations: footnotes, endnotes, or internal documentation
Great category for aspiring writers and those who don’t mind working alone