Oklahoma National History Day Resources
We offer many resources for National History Day (NHD) and Oklahoma National History Day (OkNHD).
Special Guidelines for 2021
Planning Your Project
What do I do first?
Read the rules. Before you begin work on an entry for competition, you, your teacher, and your parents should carefully read the National History Day Contest Rule Book. For an overview of how rules have changed for the 2020–21 contest year, view the summary of significant rule changes. Make sure to contact your coordinator if you have questions.
Once I understand the rules, then what?
Read about the theme. Each year your research must connect to the NHD theme. To understand the historical importance of your topic you need to ask questions about time, place, and context; cause and effect; change over time; and impact and significance. You must consider not only when and where events happened, but also why they occurred and what factors contributed to their development.
- Guidelines for Historical Projects
- Making Meaningful Theme Connections
- Tackling the Theme
- Thesis Statement
- Guide to Thesis Development
Choosing a Topic
How do I choose a topic?
Topics for research are everywhere! Ask your teacher if there are required topics for your class. If not, think about individuals, events, or a time in history that interests you. Start a list, read books, newspapers, and other sources of information and add to your list. Talk with relatives, neighbors, or people you know who have lived through a particular time in history that appeals to you and add more ideas. Keep thinking, reading, and talking to people until you have many interesting ideas. Now go back through the list and circle the ideas that connect with the theme. From the topics that you circled, select one to begin your research. Keep your list because you might need it again.
Before beginning your project check with your teacher about topic selection. Some teachers will require you to work on a specific topic. If you are having trouble brainstorming ideas, check out the documents below.
How do I do my research?
One of the first things you should do is identify one or two secondary books on your topic. A secondary book is a work written by a historian after the event. It will provide details and help you to identify primary source materials. Primary sources are materials created at the time of the event. It is good to identify three to five good secondary sources for your project. Occasionally students will pick a topic that has little written material. Also, look for academic journal articles on your project. You may have access through your school or local library, or you can visit a local university library for assistance.
Next, you will begin looking at primary source material. What letters, newspapers, diaries, photographs, and such are available? What can you find at your local library, school library, museums, and online in college libraries? The more primary sources you have the better you will do on your project. Your teacher can help guide you in locating materials.
It is important to develop a good system for taking notes as you do your research. Make sure you record where the information or material was found. Also, remember to put the material into your own words or use quotations. Plagiarism is a very serious offense and can cause you to be eliminated for the district, state, or national contest. If you are looking for an effective way to take notes, check out our Guide to Taking Notes.For more information on conducting research, take a look at these resources:
- Detailed Research Guide
- Eight Steps to Historical Research
- Primary Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Building Historical Context
- Additional Resources
Oral History Trunks
OkNHD offers two outreach trunks for teachers and students to use. These trunks provide all of the equipment necessary to create oral histories including camera, light kit, and other equipment. These trunks may be checked out by the teacher in one-week increments. To check out an OkNHD Oral History trunk, please call 405-522-0785 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ask an Expert
If you need any assistance while working on your National History Day project feel free to contact our Oklahoma National History Day Staff listed below:
OkNHD State Coordinator
Resources for Teachers
Curriculum Guide Based on Oklahoma Social Studies Standards
Find out how NHD helps meet classroom standards. View the National History Day Curriculum Guide based on Oklahoma social studies standards.
Teacher Pacing Guides
We have created a series of pacing guides to assist in outlining how NHD can work in your classroom. The guides provide timelines for implementing NHD in a variety of classes. These guides are in a PDF format.
- Pacing Guide Half Year
- Pacing Guide Full Year
- Pacing Guide for Documentaries
- Pacing Guide for Exhibits
- Pacing Guide for Historical Papers
- Pacing Guide for Performances
- Pacing Guide for Websites
We have created a series of topic guides to assist meeting Oklahoma Assessment Standards for the Social Studies. The guides provide sample topics relating to social studies courses from 6–12 grade. These guides are in PDF format.
- OkNHD Topics Guide: Grade 6
- OkNHD Topics Guide: Grade 7
- OkNHD Topics Guide: Grade 8
- OkNHD Topics Guide: Economics
- OkNHD Topics Guide: Oklahoma History & Government
- OkNHD Topics Guide: Psychology
- OkNHD Topics Guide: Sociology
- OkNHD Topics Guide: US Government
- OkNHD Topics Guide: US History 1878 to the Present
- OkNHD Topics Guide: World History
Use the rubrics below in the classroom to provide student feedback. These rubrics are in an Excel format.
Workshops and Institutes
NHD101 for Students
OkNHD staff will provide an in-class beginning National History Day workshop at your school for no cost. The workshop covers National History Day basics, what to expect at the contest, the annual theme, topic selection, and general category information. This program is 30–45 minutes.
NHD101 for Teachers
OkNHD staff will provide an on-campus National History Day workshop at your school for no cost. The workshop covers National History Day basics, what to expect at the contest, the annual theme, topic selection, and general category information.
NHD201 for Students
OkNHD staff will provide an in-class National History Day workshop focusing on topic selection and research or detailed category information. This program is 30–45 minutes.
OkNHD Fall Library Day
This fall event gives students the opportunity to work on their research and attend workshops. OkNHD Library Day is free for teachers, students, and chaperones.
Category-specific Workshops for Teachers
OkNHD staff will provide an in-depth look at each of the categories with tips and tricks for papers, websites, documentaries, exhibits, and performances, and how to teach them to your students. This program is 45–60 minutes.
Category-specific Workshops for Students
OkNHD staff will provide an in-depth look at each of the categories with tips and tricks for papers, websites, documentaries, exhibits, and performances. This program is 45–60 minutes.
Preparing for the Contests
What do I need to take to the contests?
What you need to take will vary by category, but all groups should dress in an appropriate manner and bring with them extra copies of their process paper and annotated bibliography. Here are some items to bring by category and helpful hints while you prepare:
- Use the Historical Paper Style Sheet
- Papers are to be mailed in advance of the contests by the registration deadlines
- Bring one or two extra copies of your research paper
- Websites will lock for judging in advance of the contests
- Make sure you publish your website and bring your ID and password to each contest
- Bring a laptop to both the regional and state contests
- Make sure your documentary will play on both a computer and a TV
- Bring an extra copy of the documentary
- Bring a laptop for viewing the documentary in case of technical difficulty at the contest
- It is the student’s responsibility according to the rule book to provide a way to view the documentary
- Bring extra material to make emergency repairs to costumes and props
- Bring a copy of the script in case of an emergency and an outside reader must fill in
- Bring stage plan
- If students are younger or unable to reach high, bring a small stool to assist with the prop setup
- Exhibit Structure Handout
- Materials for repairing exhibit boards in case of accidental damage
- Bring a small tool kit
- Bring extension cords and power strips if your exhibit requires electricity
- If students are younger or unable to reach high, bring a small stool to assist with the exhibit setup
At the State Contest
- You may pull up to the main entrance to unload. Please unload your items promptly and park. All items should remain on the curb while the vehicle is parked.
- The doors will open for set up at 7:30 a.m.
- Judging will begin at 9:30 a.m.
- The Awards Assembly will take place each day at 2:30 p.m. (Subject to change depending on the number of student registrations.)
- A large portion of the galleries will be open to students.
- Don’t forget that you will be able to purchase buttons and t-shirts at the state contest. First and second place winners at the state contest will be given a t-shirt to wear at the national contest.
OkNHD understands that teachers and students sometimes require fundraising to compete. At the state competition there are some special prizes and awards that you can aim for to offset costs, but here are some more tips for fundraising!