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Monday, October 21, 2013

National History Day Resources

Grade 6-12 teachers: Are your students participating in National History Day this year?

If so, please remind your students that the Montana Historical Society will award the Martha Plassman Prize ($500 and a certificate) to an entry that demonstrates a clear understanding and use of newspapers as a primary source AND that uses the digitized newspapers available on the web site  Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. More information here.

If you haven't had students participate, perhaps this is your year. Here's a long post I wrote last year at about this time, explaining the program, encouraging participation and outlining how it will help you realign your curriculum to the Common Core.

To summarize NHD is a project based curriculum that has students grade 6-12 investigate a historical topic related to the annual theme, by conducting primary and secondary research. After they have worked to analyzed and interpret your sources, and have drawn a conclusion about the significance of their topics, students will then be able to present their work in one of five ways: as a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary, or a web site.

You can find more about integrating NHD into your curriculum and how it connects to the Common Core here.

You can find some excellent lesson plans to integrate NHD into your curriculum here and here.

This year's theme is Rights and Responsibilities in History. I found this year's theme a little harder to wrap my head around than last year's theme of "turning points in history" or even the theme from the year before (revolution, reaction and reform in history). NHD suggests that when considering a topic and how it links to the theme, students think about the following questions:

  • What is the struggle between those who have power and those who don’t?
  • What are we required to give to the community?  What are we entitled to be given?
  • How do we balance the rights of the individual with the rights of the group? 
  • What responsibilities do we have to protect those who cannot protect themselves?
  • What are the limits to rights?  Where should the lines be drawn?
 Learn more about the theme here. Find ideas for Montana topics here.
Want to get your students involved? Here's the Montana National History Day homepage.

The following websites also have useful resources for teachers and students.

New York National History Day
Washington National History Day

Questions? Contact Montana National History Day State Coordinator Tom Rust: trust@msubillings.edu or 406-657-2891.

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