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History Day Information for Teachers

Why use National History Day in your Classroom?

A Closer Look

Vicki Chase, of Mountain View Middle School in Blackfoot, was the winner of the prestigious Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award in 2010.  

“National History Day provides my students with the opportunity to act as practicing professionals, as historians, and to utilize the methodology that is inherent in the profession. It forces students to move from passive consumers of education to active participants who invest in the system.”   Governor Otter proclaimed October 7, 2010 as Vicki Chase in Idaho Day.

National History Day is an excellent way to bring history alive in the classroom.  The program is set up in a contest format to motivate students, but the ultimate goal is to teach students the basics of good research.  Through skills gained from hands-on experiences and presentations, today's youth are better able to inform the present and shape the future.

Benefits for Teachers

  • National History Day's focus on developing research skills meets many State of Idaho Education Standards.
  • National History Day is an excellent tool for fulfilling the senior project graduation requirement.
  • New research shows that students who participate in National History Day perform at higher levels of scholastic achievement and are better prepared for college, career, and civic participation.
  • Every year awards are given to outstanding teachers participating in National History Day.  Please see our awards page for further information.

Benefits for Students

  • Students develop core research skills through using primary and secondary sources, placing their topic in historical context, and conducting analysis and interpretation.
  • Students are better readers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers.
  • Students practice public speaking skills by presenting their research to teachers, students, and historians.
  • Students cultivate an interest in history by researching a topic of their choice. 
  • Students with different learning styles can chose a project type (performance, exhibit, documentary, etc.) that matches their abilities and interests.

Implementing a National History Day Program in Your Classroom

Teachers use National History Day in many ways.  Some teachers use it as the central focus in their social studies curriculum, others use it as a pull out program for advanced students, and still others introduce the program as an after school opportunity.  If you have questions about how other teachers have used the program, please contact the Idaho History Day Coordinator.  We will be happy to connect you with teachers who have experience with National History Day.

While teachers can tailor the program for their specific needs, it is important to understand the entire process before beginning.  Please review the Getting Started page on this site.  It will provide detailed information on the program requirements and available resources.  The National History Day website also has a basic classroom calendar to get you started.

Teacher Resources

Your regional History Day coordinator can provide you with official rule books and curriculum guides for your classroom.  The National History Day website has additional teacher resources available online.