Official Government Website

National History Day in Idaho

National History Day in Idaho (NHD) is a year-long student-led academic program focused on historical research, interpretation, and creative expression for 4th-12th grade students across Idaho. By participating in NHD, students become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights and artists as they create unique contemporary expressions of history. The experience culminates in a series of competitions at the local and state levels and an annual national contest in June.

Students who participate in NHD build skills that are key to success in college, career, and citizenship.  NHD teaches critical thinking, writing, and research skills. They learn to speak publicly, collaborate with team members, communicate ideas effectively with diverse audiences, manage their time, and persevere through challenges.

Teachers create an inquiry-based classroom where they guide, direct, and coach toward student achievement. Teachers have the flexibility to adapt the program to meet the needs of their classroom. Teachers guide students through the process of learning how to learn and making informed conclusions coming to understand. Studying the stories and history of our local communities, states, nation and the world broadens not only this global view, but also builds empathy and understanding of cultures, conflict, and resolution.

Registration and Contest Dates


NORTH: February 24, 2024, 1912 Center, Moscow

TREASURE VALLEY & SOUTH-CENTRAL: March 2, 2024, South Junior High School, Boise

VIRTUAL REGION (STATEWIDE)*: Week of March 4, 2024, Online

WEST ADA: March 9, 2024, Renaissance High School, Meridian

EAST: March 16, 2024, Madison Junior High School, Rexburg

SOUTHWEST: March 23, 2024, Caldwell High School, Caldwell

STATE CONTEST: April 6, 2024, The College of Idaho, Caldwell

*The virtual regional contest is for those students in the paper, documentary, and website categories who cannot attend their regional contest in-person. Competing at more than one regional contest is against NHD rules. The State Contest will have a virtual option reserved for those students who cannot attend in-person, again only for the paper, documentary, and website categories.

Teacher and student registration will be open soon. Regional contest registration deadlines will be in February.


(208) 780-5190


Thank you to our National History Day in Idaho sponsors:

Bates Family Foundation
The College of Idaho
Nagel Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions

During the school year, Idaho students create one of the five types of projects (historical paper, documentary, performance, exhibit, or website) and register to compete at the local level. Local winners then can move onto the state contest to compete with students from all across Idaho! State contest winners have the opportunity to compete at the national level with peers from all over the country. Visit for more information about the National Contest.

Students gain academic and real-world skills through this project. According to the 2011 National Program Evaluation, NHD students already know how to do college-level research by digesting, analyzing, and synthesizing information. This aids students not just in humanities classes but gives them skills that are multi-disciplinary! Students also gain oral communication and presentation skills, collaboration, time management, problem-solving, and perseverance.

Students have a unique experience in a competition against their peers. They get to be proud of their hard work, and research topics that are important to them, and practice communicating in a medium that they enjoy!

Students grades 4th -12th are able to participate! All types of schools are invited to join: public, private, charter, or homeschool.

4th and 5th graders participate in our Youth division and winners can move on to the State Competition!

6th – 8th graders participate in the Junior Division.

9th – 12th graders participate in the Senior Division.


Junior and Senior division and category winners move on to the National Contest in June!

One of the advantages of participating in NHD is that it can be adapted to each classroom! Using the resources available, teachers can guide students through creating a project in a way that meets their class learning objectives and is flexible for their schedule. Students create projects during the school year in preparation for a series of contests in the Spring (February – April)

The 2023-2024 theme is: Turning Points in History. (NHD Theme Website)

Read through the NHD Rule Book available on the NHD Website. The National Office also provides a Theme Book on their website explaining the annual theme and ways to interpret it!

The NHD website also has excellent resources for teachers including curriculum, example projects, tips and tricks, tutorial videos, project examples, and project checklists for students. You can find the NHD website here:

Check out our activities, worksheets, and curriculum available here! NHDI Resources

Sign up for our mailing list and keep checking your inbox! We will be sending out resources, information, and opportunities for NHD teachers.

The success of the local and state contests is largely thanks to the volunteers and donors that support this project! There are several ways to help; we are looking for volunteers to help with our contest days.  This ranges from event coordination, set-up, take-down, and assisting during the contests. Another way that we support and encourage our students is by offering special awards for specific project types.  Please e-mail for more information!

Students can participate in NHD as independent students! This is a big project and you will need to keep yourself on task outside of school, so be sure to pay attention to this website for all the important deadlines.

Your parent or guardian should sign up for our email list at the bottom of this page to receive all future information. Every student needs to have an NHD teacher when they register their project for a contest, so your parent or guardian will fill this role for you.

Also, be sure to read through the answer for “I’m a teacher…” in this FAQ section, along with your parent or guardian. You’ll see lots of links for helpful resources that will help you through the process.

Lastly, please e-mail with any questions!

NHD Blog


Contest registration will begin in the new year – teachers, look for full registration instructions and links to each regional contest website in your email in January!

Reminder that there will be a Virtual Region for paper, documentary, and website students with scheduling conflicts. Students may only choose one region in which to compete.


📌NHDI Bulletin Board

Check here for updates!

Local and National opportunities posted here!


💡In the Classroom: Thesis Statements and Historical Context

As students develop their research and consider the historical context, they will write many drafts of their thesis statements! Here are some links to help:


📂New folder in “NHDI Teacher and Classroom Resources”

  • NHD Lesson Plans
    • Resources from the national office, including the 2023 series “Building A More Perfect Union Part II” and “Revolutionary Ideals”
    • Please see the finding aid (docx) in the folder for each series, which includes grade levels of each lesson


These resources and more are available in the “NHDI Teacher and Classroom Resources” shared Google folder.


Thank you for all the responses to the pre-registration survey! We are developing the regional contest calendar – including virtual options – and will share that in early December.

If you didn’t get a chance to fill out the survey, it’s not too late – please reach out to with your estimated numbers!


📝Alumni Outreach

NHD wants to connect with program alumni! Take the Alumni Survey here


💻AI and NHD

Students may find AI helpful for some parts of their NHD process, but are not allowed to use AI for other parts. Please see this one-pager from the national office: 2024 Artificial Intelligence and Your NHD Project


💡In the Classroom: Reseach Organization

As students choose their topics and start to explore sources, they will need help organizing their research. Here are some links to help:


📂New folders in “How to fit NHD into your classroom”


These resources and more are available in the “NHDI Teacher and Classroom Resources” shared Google folder.

📅 Calendar!

PRE-REGISTRATION – Now open until November 18, 2023!

Pre-registering is helpful so that we can appropriately plan our regional contests! If you have any questions regarding pre-registration, please contact:

Please note, pre-registration is not mandatory for participation in the spring.

📌 NHDI Bulletin Board check here for updates

Local and National opportunities posted here!

Pencil In the Classroom: Topic selection!

One of the first things your students will need to do is to choose a topic. The annual theme “Turning Points in History” is intentionally broad so that students can choose a topic that is interesting to them. However, having such a broad topic can also be intimidating to students – it can feel like there are too many options! Often, talking out some example topics can be helpful to students. Check out these resources:

Annual Theme and Topic Selection folder – link

Turning Points in History Topic selection worksheet – link

How to fit NHD into your classroom folder – link

All resources are available in the “Teacher Resources” shared Google folder.

Sparkles Brand New?

NHD has made a helpful video series for new NHD teachers. Check it out here!

Do you want your class to be featured in the next blog? Send updates about what you are working on in your classroom to!

Highlight: Wrapping up the 2023 Contest Season!

Idaho joining the Parade of Students at the National Contest Awards Ceremony.

What a whirlwind of a contest season! We are proud to report that NHD in Idaho joined the National Office and many other affiliates in returning to in-person contests for the first time since 2020.

  • NHD in Idaho hosted six in-person regional contests across the Gem State, with almost 1,000 students competing.
  • The State Contest was held at the College of Idaho in May with about 300 student participants.
  • 46 Idaho Students traveled to the NHD National contest in College Park, MD mid-June to compete with students from across the globe.

2024 NHD Theme: Turning Points in History

The 2024 Annual Theme for NHD is “Turning Points in History”

Annual Theme Book: PDF

“A turning point is an idea, event, or action that directly, or sometimes indirectly, causes change.”
– P. 4, Turning Points in History Theme Book

Looking forward:

  • Your NHD in Idaho Coordinator is working to create and update curriculum, activities, and worksheets for the 2024 contest season.
  • A new List Identifying “Turning Points” Topics in Idaho History and related Primary Sources will be shared this August!
  • TEACHERS: In the meantime, all resources from the 2023 Season are still available in our Shared Google Folder here.

📅 Calendar!

Historical Argumentation Series Application Deadline* – July 14th

Educator Open House, at the Idaho Old Penitentiary* – July 31st, 5-8 PM

(*See details on the NHDI Bulletin Board)

📌 NHDI Bulletin Board-Coming Soon

Historical Argumentation Webinar Series – Teachers who successfully complete the course will have the chance to receive three graduate extension credits from the University of San Diego or 90 professional development hours. Deadline to apply July 14th.

Bookmark this board to stay up to date on local and national professional development, continuing education, quick links to resources, and more!

Keep Updated!

Do you want to be added to our mailing list to receive updates about the upcoming 2024 Contest Season?

Fill out the form at the bottom of this page!


Make sure to follow us on social media to see updates about NHD in Idaho!

Instagram: @idstatehistoricalsociety

Facebook: @Idaho State Historical Society

Receive Important National History Day in Idaho Updates

Are you a student or educator interested in receiving more information about the National History Day in Idaho contest? Submit your information below and a National History Day in Idaho Coordinator will reach out to you soon!

If you are interested in information about judging or volunteering, please fill out the form here:

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