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Transforming Your Classroom with National History Day

Want your kids to love history? National History Day in Oklahoma helps connect students to the past by examining primary and secondary sources to develop their own interpretations. Once the research is complete, participants can use their skills to create a project in a variety of formats for competition at the district, state, and event national level. Along the way students will refine the skills necessary for success in school and in life.

How does National History Day fit into your curriculum?

NHD is an outstanding example of outcome-based or performance-based learning that addresses many Common Core objectives. Educators who teach research skills, engage students in higher-order thinking skills, and ask students to submit a project for assessment find NHD to be the perfect tool. NHD uses an annual theme to guide student research that provides a focus for teaching research and historical content in the classroom. Many teachers incorporate the theme into their everyday teaching, asking students to look for relationship to the theme in each classroom lesson.

NHD and Common Core

National History Day is an excellent way to meet Common Core Standards. Students working on NHD projects use primary and secondary source material to prepare and present their own conclusions to others.  Below you will find a correlation between Common Core and NHD.
Common Core Correlations (PDF)

History Day Works: National Program Evaluation

The first national evaluation of National History Day (NHD) finds that students who participate in the program perform better on high-stakes tests, are better writers, more confident and capable researchers, and have a more mature perspective on current events and civic engagement than their peers. Participants also show a greater ability to collaborate with peers, manage their time and persevere - all skills employers say are lacking in today's workforce.

Some of the important findings include:

  • NHD students outperform their non-NHD peers on state standardized tests, not only in social studies, but in reading, science and math as well.
  • NHD students are better writers, who write with a purpose and real voice, and marshal solid evidence to support their point of view.
  • NHD students are critical thinkers who can digest, analyze and synthesize information.
  • NHD students learn 21st century skills. They learn how to collaborate with team members, talk to experts, manage their time and persevere.
  • NHD has a positive impact among students whose interests in academic subjects may wane in high school.

For the complete evaluation please Read the Key Findings (PDF)

"This research confirms what those of us who work with National History Day students have seen anecdotally for years. This program not only helps students improve academically, it can also change their lives. Students who are 'slipping through the cracks' of our education system find their way back and get on track to succeed in school while participating in NHD." - Cathy Gorn, NHD Executive Director

Read the Rules

Before you begin work on an entry for competition, you, your student, and their parents should carefully read the National History Day Contest Rule Book.

Need Help?

The OkNHD staff is here to help! Check out the teacher resources page or contact us for more information.

teacher resources