Why the National History Day Program Creates a Framework for Historical Research, Analysis, and Literacy Fostering Project-Based Learning

AHA Session 197
Sunday, January 5, 2020: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Riverside Ballroom (Sheraton New York, Third Floor)
Melissa Jacobs, Herricks High School
Samantha Gerantabee, Herricks High School
Susan Glaser, National History Day
Maeve Montalvo, Museum of the City of New York
Christine Abajian, Hewlett-Woodmere High School

Session Abstract

This 90 minute panel discussion will focus on the benefits of incorporating the National History Day program in secondary schools, and will also showcase the incredible research and projects of past participants from New York. The goal of National History Day is to enliven and enhance students’ passion for the study of history and build the necessary skills to create and understand the significance of key historical issues. The National History Day Program has as its primary purpose and mission the task of fully involving and guiding students in the extensive process of meaningful and purposeful research, based on creating sophisticated and substantiated evidence-based claims. A student centered mission is the essence of the dedicated educators committed to this program, considering its goal of enabling students to master the multiple tasks of research, synthesis and presentation.

National History Day is a year-long educational program that encourages students to explore local, state, national, and world history. After selecting a historical topic that relates to an annual theme, middle and high school students conduct extensive research by using libraries, archives, museums, and oral history interviews. They analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions about their topics' significance in history, and present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These products are entered into competitions in the spring at local, state and national levels where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates in the National Contest each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park. The History Day methodology supports teachers and schools as they work towards aligning curriculum and instructional priorities with Common Core Standards demonstrated through College and Career Ready student performance tasks. National History Day was the recipient of the 2011 National Humanities Medal, presented at a White House ceremony- the only K-12 program to receive this prestigious award.

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