What is History Day?
National History Day is an inter-disciplinary research project for students in grades 6-12. History Day teaches students to:
- Conduct in-depth research
- Use primary and secondary sources
- Read a variety of texts
- Analyze and synthesize information
- Write and present historical content
Students choose a topic that relates to an annual theme, research that topic, and develop their research into one of five presentation categories: Research Paper, Exhibit, Documentary, Performance, or Website. Students may enter their projects into History Day competitions at school, Regional, State, and National levels. Watch our video to see History Day in action!
When is History Day?
Despite the name, there isn’t just one ‘history day.’ The name describes both the program in which your child is participating as well as the contest days. For a student participating in the contest cycle, they may have a school-level History Day contest, attend one of 12 Regional or District History Day contests, State History Day, or the National Contest.
How can I help my child with History Day?
Parents can play a variety of support roles in the History Day process. It is most important, however, to remember that these are support roles. In the end, this is your child’s project, not yours. They are the ultimate decision maker in the process.
- Topic Selection: Work with your child to brainstorm a topic that interests him or her connected to the annual theme. Are there interesting stories related to the history of your family or community?
- Research: Encourage your child to move beyond just Internet research. He or she may need help getting to or navigating a public or college library. Encourage him or her to ask librarians for help! Help him or her to manage the deadlines and time management that comes with a long-term project.
- Project Construction: The final project must be the work of the student, but she or he may have help with parts of the process that are potentially dangerous, like operating power tools. Offer him or her advice and support, but the ultimate design decisions should be his or her’s.
- Competitions: Help him or her to register and prepare. Practice interview questions and make sure she or he have materials packed and ready to go.
- Reflection: At the end of his or her History Day journey, help your child to reflect on how far he or she has come as a student and historian. Help him or her to see beyond the contest and recognize the skills and content knowledge she or he has gained by participating in National History Day.
How much does it cost to be involved?
Outside of money to construct projects in certain categories (cardboard, costumes, etc). there are no official costs for History Day until you enter the competition cycle. Please remember that the evaluation of History Day projects is not about the money a student has spent. The quality of a project is based on research, analysis, and clarity of presentation.
- Regional: To enter a project at a Regional event, it costs about $10/student. Some schools or districts will pay this fee and sometimes individual students are responsible. This fee applies even if a student is unable to attend the event with a group and is non-refundable after the registration deadline passes. For students in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Public School Districts, there are no registration fees at the District level as each district pays these costs.
- State/Research Papers: The State entry fee is $15/student. Talk to your teacher to see if the school or student is responsible for payment. This fee applies to Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools students, and to all students even if he or she is unable to attend the event with a group and is non-refundable after the registration deadline passes.
- Nationals: The National registration fee is about $100, with additional fees for lodging, food, and transportation. Most Minnesota students will take part in scholarships and fundraising opportunities that are available to help cover these costs.
Can we still participate, even if my child’s teacher doesn’t do History Day?
Yes. Students can participate in History Day even if they are not creating a project through school.
- If your school participates in History Day: If your school participates, even if it’s in another another class or grade level, you must connect with the lead History Day teacher at your school. The lead teacher needs to know about your child’s participation and include it when he or she fills out the school participation survey. You may need to participate in a school-level History Day contest in order to advance to the Regional/District contest
- If your school does NOT participate: If no one else in your school is participating in History Day, you should talk to your Social Studies teacher. Minnesota History Day needs an adult to serve as an advisor for your project. This person will be added to our mailing list for the year and get important information about the program and contests. It’s best when this is a teacher, who can hopefully give extra credit. If no teacher is willing to take on this role, a parent can serve as an advisor. Contact the History Day staff or enroll as an advisor.
Can home schooler’s participate in History Day?
Yes! Home schools have found History Day to be a great fit for their children and curriculum. The first step is to enroll so we know you are participating. Review the curriculum, overall timeframe, and project resources on our website. Home school teachers are welcome to join us for workshops. For one-on-one help, home school students are also welcome to attend Hullabaloos.
When are specific due dates and deadlines for my child's project?
Specific due dates and deadlines are set by your child’s classroom teacher. Dates for Regional events, including the registration deadlines and website lockout, are online. Research papers are evaluated through an offsite judging process and have their own deadlines.
What is a Hullabaloo?
A History Day Hullabaloo is a research open house, hosted by a public, college, or university library. Students can conduct primary and secondary research, get one-on-one help, attend mini-lessons, view sample projects, and get pumped up about History Day! There is no cost to attend a Hullabaloo, but they are first-come, first-serve. View the full list of dates and locations on our website.
Where can my child get help?
If you or your child have questions, there are a few places you can check for help:
- Teacher: Many due dates are set by the classroom teacher, so it’s best to check with him or her for information on deadlines.
- Website: Take a minute to explore the History Day website. All of our curriculum materials and guides are online. The Project Help page is the best place to begin
- Hullabaloo: One-on-one power conferences are the most popular part of any Hullabaloo. Talk about any aspect of your project with a History Day staffer or Mentor. Sign-up for power conferences is first-come, first-serve. Please arrive early to make sure you get a spot!
- Feedback Session: Students advancing to State History Day can sign-up for a Feedback Session and talk about their project. If you live in Greater MInnesota, talk to your classroom teacher to see if a History Day staffer will be visiting your school.
- Email: History Day Helpers at the University of Minnesota are able to help with a variety of questions. Be sure to fill out the web form completely so they can better answer you questions.
Where can I buy an Exhibit board?
You can purchase boards online or in-person at the Minnesota History Center Museum Store. More information is on our website.
Are students required to use Minnesota History Day’s Exhibit board?
No. While many students will use the cardboard exhibit board available from Minnesota History Day to make their project, you are NOT required to do so. Students can make their own board from any variety of materials, as long as it fits within the rules for Exhibit size.
What are the rules for History Day?
The official National History Day rules are in the NHD Contest Rule Book and apply to History Day students across the country, including Minnesota. Some teachers may have different requirements for projects at the school-level, such as which topic you can choose, how many sources you need, or limits on the number of group members you can have. This means that students advancing to an official History Day contest may have to revise parts of their project between school and the Regional/District contest.