What is History Day?

What Is History Day?

History Day is a social studies and literacy program for students in 6th-12th grades. Students can choose regional, state, national, or international topics that fit around a broad annual theme. They conduct primary and secondary source research and apply their findings, individually or as a group (2-5 students), to one of five creative formats including papers, websites, exhibits, documentaries, and performances. Students can then choose to participate in the competition phase of the program; regional, state, and national.

Why Teach History Day?

The History Day curriculum format is a powerful tool for teachers in any classroom or extracurricular setting. History Day works for teachers in the following ways:

  • History Day can fit into any classroom setting
    -Beyond the text book: Provides teachers will an innovative teaching tool.
    -Great for differentiated instruction. Whether gifted, mainstream or special needs, all students can learn by creating a History Day project.
    -Allows for individuality and creativity in topic selection and project format, while adhering to the teacher’s requirements.
    -Flexible for teachers: The program meets Colorado standards in social studies and literacy.
    -Adapt to their own schedule/calendar. It can be taught during an entire school year, during a semester or month, or as an extracurricular. Click here for suggest timelines for your classroom.
    -No cost to teachers.
    -UC-Denver History Challenge provides training & support to teachers. Click here for more information.
    -Cross curricular (social studies, literacy, arts) and can be adapted to any curriculum/course: civics, geography, science, language arts, US History, European History, History of the West, etc.
  • Benefits to Students
    -Students take ownership of their work, are empowered to make choices, and experience increased self-esteem.
    -Bolsters student academic performance in research techniques, writing skills, historical knowledge, creativity, literacy, communication, college readiness, and civic awareness.
    -Every student is transformed into a researcher and competent writer by: conducting primary source research,creating a thesis statement, and proving their thesis.
    -Students gain presentation and time management skills.
    -Students understand the importance of historical perspective.
    -Students utilize local museums, libraries, archives and historical sites.
    -Exposes students to new and exciting educational environments by holding workshops and contests on college campuses and historical societies.
  • A national study found that History Day students:
    -Show improved academic performance across all subjects.
    -Outperform their peers on state standardized tests.
    -Are better writers who write with a purpose and real voice, and marshal solid evidence to support their point of view.
    -Learn 21st century college and career-ready skills: collaboration, ability to talk to experts, time management and perseverance.
    -Are critical thinkers who can digest, analyze and synthesize information
    -The study also showed that History Day has a positive impact among students whose interest in academic subjects may wane in high school.

Additional Information

Program Synopsis
Learner Outcomes
Top 10
National Study

(All content “borrowed” from the excellent CU-Denver History Challenge website.)


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