Curriculum and Timeline

History day group shot with students and staffs thumbs up.

History Day curriculum materials include a variety of tools for teachers to use to support classroom instruction. These materials are sorted chronologically, in order of how History Day is usually implemented in the classroom.

Timeline

History Day is designed for teachers to adapt in their classrooms.

Below we have suggested a broad timeline for completing the History Day program, but there is no "right" way to implementing the project in your classroom. You can also look at sample timelines from our Master Teacher Network.

  • September/October​: Introduce History Day to your students. Begin discussing the theme, and topics students may be interested in. Introduce primary and secondary sources. You may ask students to complete a topic proposal, or to sign an agreement between group members and parents.
  • November/December: Have students choose a topic, and begin their secondary source research. Once they've narrowed their topic, encourage them to begin researching primary sources.
  • December/January: Encourage students to attend a Hullabaloo for research and project help. Prepare for the participation survey by getting a sense of how many projects your school has in each category/division. Discuss and combine project totals with other History Day teachers in your school. The participation  survey will be emailed in early December and due in early January.
  • January: Complete the participation and receive your school's allotments for how many projects may advance to Regional competitions. Encourage students to complete their research.
  • February: Help your students transition from research to project construction. Place emphasis on the quality of research, analysis, and content in a project. Hold a school contest/fair at minimum three weeks prior to your Regional event.
  • March/April/May/June: History Day contest season. Regionals and off-site Paper judging take place in March, State feedback sessions are in April, and State History Day is held at the end of April or beginning of May. The National Contest takes place at the University of Maryland, College Park in mid-June.

Master Teacher Sample Timelines

Project framework and introduction

These tools can help you introduce students to History Day.

Title Description Format
Watch video History Day Promo on Vimeo 3 minute program video overview Video
Teacher Framework Complete set of lessons and worksheets for teachers Webpage
Master Teacher Network Veteran teachers share their project resources Webpage
NHD Contest Rulebook (PDF) Contest rulebook outlining requirements for all levels of program PDF
Summary of Rulebook changes Summary of changes effective as of July 2021 PDF
Watch Exploring NHD for Students on Vimeo 11 minute introduction to History Day program for students Video
Introducing History Day Student Guide 2023 Student handbook covering all aspects of program

Google Doc
PDF

Goal Setting and Progress Tracking Worksheet for tracking History Day project progress

PDF
Google Doc

EL Curriculum Guide Text set resources that break down the research process for English Language Learners Webpage

Parent communication

Communicating with parents is an important step in keeping students involved with History Day. These resources can help you determine the best way to keep parents in the loop.

Title Description Format
Parent Letters (Multiple Languages) Pre-drafted letters to send directly to parents PDF
Parent Communication Reminders (PDF) Best practices for communicating with parents about History Day PDF

Contracts and working in a group

Help students determine the best way for them to work on History Day - individually or as a group.

Title Description Format
Working in a Group Reflection (PDF) Worksheet excerpt from Teacher Framework PDF
Group Contract Sample Worksheet excerpt from Teacher Framework

PDF
Google Doc

Distance Learning Group Contract Sample worksheet for group work

PDF
Google Doc

Ship on the Sea (PDF) Worksheet excerpt from Teacher Framework PDF
Individual or Group? (PDF) Worksheet excerpt from Teacher Framework PDF
Group Roles and Goals Group work worksheet

PDF
Google Doc

Topic selection

These are resources that may help students determine the best topic for their project.

Title Description Format
Topic Narrowing Presentation (Google Slides) Google presentation on strategies for selecting a narrow topic Google Slides
Topic Narrowing Presentation Video Series (Available Fall 2022) Video series describing topic narrowing strategies

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Topic Narrowing Funnel (PDF) Excerpt from Introducing History Day Student Guide

Google Doc
PDF

Selecting a Topic Overview (PDF) Excerpt from Introducing History Day Student Guide PDF
Topic Idea Sites Presentation (PDF) Google Presentation on brainstorming topic ideas PDF
Picking a Topic Weebly! Interactive website with topic ideas Webpage
MN Library Guides MN-based topic ideas and research resources Webpage
Novice Topic List (PDF) Student-friendly topics, organized by category PDF
What Makes a Good Topic? Worksheet to help students pick topics

PDF
Google Doc

Theme

Resources for this year's theme.

Title Description Format
MN Theme Sheet (PDF) One page overview on the theme from Minnesota History Day PDF
MN Theme Presentation Video (Available Fall 2022) Video presentation of this year's theme PowerPoint

Video

MN Theme PowerPoint Request for PowerPoint slides of MN Theme Presentation Google Form
Theme Guided Questions Guided questions to follow along with MN theme sheet

PDF
Google Doc

NHD Theme Sheet (PDF) Theme sheet overview from National History Day PDF
NHD Theme Book (PDF) Theme resources from National History Day PDF
NHD Theme Video Theme video from National History Day Video
Theme Graphic Organizer Weaving the History Day theme in a project

PDF
Google Doc

Theme Graphic Organizer Worksheet to determine a theme connection

PDF
Google Doc

Theme Graphic Organizer  Worksheet to work on discovering a topic and identifying the theme connection

PDF
Google Doc

Research tools

Helpful resources as students begin researching their topic.

Title Description Format
National Archives Source Analysis Worksheets Source activity from the National Archives Webpage
Research Questions (PDF) Excerpt from Introducing History Day Student Guide PDF
Thinking Like an Historian Chart (PDF) Chart to brainstorm different ways to think about your topic PDF
Research Questions Worksheet with questions to think about while starting research

PDF
Google Doc

Primary and Secondary Sources and Brainstorm Excerpt from Student Research Guide

PDF
Google Doc

Student Research Workbook 2023 (Complete) Workbook that can guide students through the History Day research process

PDF
*Editable Google Docs linked within PDF

Library of Congress Written Analysis Worksheets Worksheets that help determine the best parts of a resource

PDF
PDF (Novice level)

Illustration and Media Brainstorm Excerpt from Student Research Guide

PDF
Google Doc

Watch video Primary vs. Secondary Sources on Vimeo Video on the differences between primary and secondary sources Video
Watch video Using InterLibrary Loan on Vimeo Video on how InterLibrary Loan works Video
Watch video Using Wilson Library on YouTube Video on navigating Wilson Library at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus Video

Research org and notetaking

Materials that students may use to keep track of their research and notes.

Title Description Format
Index Cards Overview (PDF) Excerpt from Student Research Workbook PDF
Cornell Notes Overview and Work Pages (PDF) Excerpt from Student Research Workbook PDF
Source Cards Worksheets (PDF) Excerpt from Student Research Workbook PDF

Thesis statements

Resources available about learning what thesis statements are and how to write one.

Title Description Format
Original Thesis Statement Worksheet Original thesis statement worksheet from Teacher Framework

PDF
Google Doc

Shortened Thesis Statement Worksheet Excerpt from Student Research Guide

PDF
Google Doc

Mad Libs Thesis Statement Fill-in-the blank thesis statement worksheet

PDF
Google Doc

Thesis Statement Presentation (Google Doc) View-only version of the thesis statement presentation Google Doc
Thesis Statement Presentation Videos (Coming Fall 2022) Video presentations of the Thesis Statement presentation, in three parts

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Thesis Comparisons (PDF) Examples of good, better, and best thesis statements PDF

Historical context

Materials to helps students determine the scope of their project.

Title Description Format
Historical Context Map (PDF) Graphic organizer showing how to determine historical context PDF
Historical Context Worksheet (PDF) Worksheet to help determine historical context PDF

Project organization

Mapping out a History Day project, the best ways to organize information.

Title Description Format
Project Organization Presentation (Google Slides) - Coming Fall 2022  View-only presentation on best practices for organizing project information Google Slides
Project Organization Videos - Coming Fall 2022 Video presentations on different project organization tips

Part 1
Part 2

Sections of a project (PDF) Excerpt from Student Research Guide PDF
Project Organization sentence starters (PDF) Sentence starters for each project section PDF

Writing project text

Teaching students how to turn their notes into text.

Title Description Format
Write Your Text Worksheet (PDF) Excerpt from Student Research Guide PDF
Project Sections: Write it out! Excerpt from Student Research Guide

PDF
Google Doc

Student Voice 101 A handout and corresponding video define and explain what "student voice" means in a project

PDF
Video

Annotated Bibliographies

History Day students may use MLA or Chicago citation styles. All categories are required to include an annotated bibliography.

Title Description Format
Citation/Credit Handout (PDF) Excerpt from Teacher Framework PDF
Watch video Credits, Citations, and Caption on Vimeo Video overview on the difference between captions and citations rule Video
Bibliographies Made Easy (PDF) Excerpt from Teacher Framework PDF
Sample Annotated Bibliography (PDF) Excerpt from Teacher Framework PDF
All About Annotations (PDF) Excerpt from Teacher Framework PDF

Process papers

Process Papers are required for all categories and must contain the same elements.

Title Description Format
Process Paper Overview (PDF) Excerpt from Introducing History Day Student Guide PDF
Sample Process Paper (PDF) Excerpt from Teacher Framework PDF

Category overview and samples

Learn about each category and view sample projects.

Title Description Format
Category Overview Presentation (Google Slides) View-only presentation about the elements of each project category Google Slides
Category Overview Video Video of Category Overview presentation Video
Using Sources as Evidence Presentation (Google Slides) View-only presentation on how to use evidence in each project category Google Slides
Using Sources as Evidence Video Series Video series breaking down how to use evidence in each category based on the presentation

Introduction Video
Exhibit, Documentary, Performance, Paper, Website

NHD Category Overview National History Day website overview on the different categories Webpage
Selecting a Category (PDF) Worksheet to help determine which category to pick PDF
Minnesota Sample Projects  Sample projects from former Minnesota students Webpage
National Sample Projects Sample projects from former National History Day winners Webpage

Documentary

Materials for students creating History Day Documentaries.

Title Description Format
Documentary-specific rules (PDF) Excerpt from NHD Rulebook PDF
Documentary rule summary (PDF) Overview of Documentary category PDF
Documentary evaluation form (PDF) Judge evaluation for Documentary projects PDF
Documentary tips (PDF) Tips for making a quality Documentary PDF
Documentary organization (PDF) Organizing a Documentary project PDF
"Tootsie Roll" planning worksheet Blank example of organizing a Documentary and matching worksheet

PDF
Google Doc

Documentary storyboard template Worksheet for creating a storyboard

PDF
Google Doc

Laura Zeccardi sample storyboard Sample example of completed storyboard PDF
Sample Documentary Projects Former MN student Documentary projects Webpage

Exhibit

Materials for students creating History Day Exhibit Boards.

Title Description Format
Exhibit-specific rules (PDF) Excerpt from NHD Rulebook PDF
Exhibit rule summary (PDF) Summary of Exhibit requirements PDF
Exhibit judge evaluation form (PDF) Judge evaluation form for Exhibit projects PDF
Blank and Guided Exhibit Map Blank map of Exhibit board

PDF
Google Doc

Effective Exhibit elements (PDF) Best practices for designing an Exhibit PDF
Wood-frame building instructions (PDF) Instructions for building a wood-frame Exhibit board  PDF
Sample Exhibit projects  Former MN student Exhibit projects Webpage
Optional: Large format Exhibit boards Website to purchase large Exhibit boards in bulk Webpage
Sample project progression Progression of an Exhibit board from a school contest to National History Day Webpage

Paper

Materials for students writing History Day Papers.

Title Description Format
Paper-specific rules (PDF) Excerpt from NHD Rulebook PDF
Paper rule summary (PDF) Overview of Paper category PDF
Paper evaluation form (PDF) Judge evaluation form for Papers PDF
MN Paper contest information Off-site Paper contest overview Webpage
Paper organization (PDF) Best practices for organizing Paper PDF
Sample Papers Former MN student Paper examples Webpage

 

Performance

Materials for students creating History Day Performances.

Title Description Format
Performance-specific rules (PDF) Excerpt from NHD Rulebook  PDF
Performance rule summary (PDF) Overview of Performance category PDF
Performance evaluation form (PDF) Judge evaluation form for Performances PDF
Performance organization (PDF) Project organization for Performances PDF
Performance planning outline Worksheet for outlining Performance

PDF
Google Doc

Performance Idea Map Worksheet for outlining Performance information

PDF
Google Doc

Performance Scene Selection (PDF) Scene-planning for Performance PDF
Sample Performance Script (PDF) Example of a written Performance outline and script PDF
Watch "Backdrops Made Easy" on Vimeo See an example of an easy backdrop Video
Backdrop Instructions (PDF) Guide for building Performance backdrop PDF
Sample Performances Former MN student Performance projects Webpage

Website

Materials for students creating History Day Websites.

Title Description Format
Website-specific rules (PDF) Excerpt from NHD Rulebook PDF
Website rule summary (PDF) Summary of Website rules PDF
Website tips for teachers (PDF) List of tips for website students PDF
Website judge evaluation form (PDF) Judge evaluation form for Website projects PDF
Complete Website workbook General Website workbook

PDF
Google Doc

Website planning pages Blank and guided worksheet for Website pages

PDF
Google Doc

Sample Websites Former MN student examples of Websites Webpage
NHDWebCentral help NHD resources for NHDWebCentral help Webpage