February 2012 Questions
Dear Mooster History,
What’s your story? I never met a history loving moose before.
Dear Just Wondering,
Thanks for the question! I grew up in Moose Lake, Minnesota where I developed a thirst for knowledge and an appetite for adventure. I loved living in a small town, but I learned that the University of Minnesota was fond of fun-loving, woodland creatures so I hit the road for the big city.
Mister History was on his way back from the Northeast Regional History Day event in Duluth and stopped to pick me up just outside of Hinckley. It turned out that we share a lot in common. We both love history, bowling, Diet Coke and the color turquoise. Mr. H took me to the U of M, introduced me to Goldy Gopher and taught me all about History Day. Now I have dedicated my life to helping students learn to love history as much as I do. It’s great to have my own website where I can answer your questions.
Don’t forget my motto when it comes to working on your History Day project:
“If your brain doesn’t hurt, you are not thinking hard enough!”
Dear Mooster History,
What are the secrets to success for History Day? Do you know what the judges like?
Dan O, Minneapolis
Dear Dan O,
The secrets to History Day success are pretty basic:
- Find a topic that you like
- Make sure that you can connect that topic to the History Day theme
- Dig in and find those primary and secondary sources that will help you understand the importance of your topic in history.
- Think about what you learned from your research to develop your thesis statement.
- Use your creativity and imagination to put together a great paper, website, exhibit, performance or documentary.
There is no single answer about “what judges like” for History Day. We do know that they like the free t-shirt that they get for volunteering their time, but each judge will have a unique perspective on the projects they look at. It is a reality that if we showed the same 10 projects to two different teams of judges they are likely to have different opinions about the “best” projects.
Part of the reason for this is that Minnesota History Day students are AMAZING! You guys work hard on these projects and that is why it is hard to make judging decisions. My advice to you is to focus on the five steps I listed above and not worry about the judges. If you do your research, have a thesis and make a project that you are proud of then you have done your job. If you win a History Day medal, that is awesome, too, but I’ll give you a high five whether you win a medal or not.
Keep working hard!