Teacher Resources

Find resources to help implement National History Day® in your classroom! This section contains classroom resources, links to research sites to help students get started, as well as resources to help teachers bring primary sources into their classroom every day. We have teaching resources for U.S. and world history classrooms, including our World War I resource book, Understand Sacrifice program, and the Making History Series

NHD in the Classroom
Content Resources and Lesson Plans
Webinars and Videos
"Help, I'm a New NHD Teacher" Videos
NHD in the Classroom

National History Day (NHD) motivates students to discover history by:

  • Cultivating interest: students research a topic of their choice;
  • Developing research skills: students act as historians discovering how to uncover primary sources, build historical context and form historical interpretations;
  • Becoming experts on their research topic: presenting their research to teachers, students, and historians; and
  • Achieving success: The shy student gains confidence when speaking about a topic he/she has researched, the apathetic student gains passion by choosing a topic of personal interest, and the high achieving student increases his/her ability to articulate learning through presentation.

Teacher Resources for Middle and High School

These guides help teachers structure and monitor student learning and research projects, teachers can customize them to fit any class.
Middle School

High School Part 1 of 2

High School Part 2 of 2

NHD and the Common Core Standards

National History Day (NHD) correlates to the Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and the Technical Subjects (CCSS for Literacy in All Subjects in Wisconsin). Click below to download the PDF showing the correlation between the Common Core Standards and NHD.

Download NHD and the Common Core

Content Resources and Lesson Plans
World War I Landing Page

In 2018, NHD traveled with ten teachers to World War I cemeteries and battle sites. As part of the program sponsored by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, teachers developed lesson plans relating to World War I and its lasting legacies. Entitled Great War, Flawed Peace, and the Lasting Legacy of World War I, these lesson plans were designed for middle school and high school teachers to help students understand wartime experiences as well as the lasting legacies of the First World War. These lesson plans are available for download here and will be published along with the set produced in the 2019 program.

Women in American History

Together with HISTORY® we created a resource about Women in American History. This resource includes an overview of 20 women from American history. There are also classroom activities for teachers to help students learn more about these extraordinary women of history. The book features a forward by Melinda French Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Women in American History

Ken Burns UNUM

Filmmaker Ken Burns created this playlist of scenes from his films to explore this year’s NHD theme of Triumph & Tragedy. Watch the clips on Ken’s educational site, Ken Burns UNUM, and explore links to first-person documents, photographs, diary entries, maps, and letters to help as you complete your projects. On UNUM, Ken explores themes that run across his films and throughout our history - such as leadership, innovation, division, democracy. Students and educators can also hear perspectives from contemporary leaders and swim through a timeline to make new connections.

Understanding Sacrifice

Understanding Sacrifice is a year-long professional development opportunity takes eighteen teachers on a journey of exploration and discovery through the lives of American heroes of WWII. It is conducted by National History Day®, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), and the National Cemetery Administration. Teachers produce educational materials in a variety of disciplines from art to science and, of course, history. These classroom resources are then hosted for free on abmceducation.org to help teachers around the world reinvigorate the teaching and learning of WWII.

Developed in partnership with the American Battle Monuments Commission, National Cemetery Administration, and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

Visit ABMCeducation.org

NHD Silent Heroes

In addition to the contest, National History Day is working on a new educational program called Silent Heroes®. We are working to gather personal stories of those who gave everything for our liberty during World War II. National History Day® is launching a vast project intended to honor servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the different theaters of operations during the war. Gradually, a unique online database featuring memorial pages for individual soldiers is going to be available to everyone. This noble and ambitious undertaking will require the contribution of America’s best ambassadors: its youth!

View NHD Silent Heroes

Teaching the Civil War in the 21st Century

Was the Civil War inevitable? Where do slaves fit into the story? Where were the battlefields, who were the combatants, what were the moral and ideological stakes? And above all, how should we remember a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and nearly destroyed a nation? NHD has invited renowned Civil War historians to share their research in a series of provocative and perhaps even perplexing essays. Their contributions challenge us to think about, teach about, and research the Civil War in fresh ways.

Developed in partnership with the National Park Service and HISTORY®.

Download Book

Teaching World War I

NHD was asked by HISTORY® and the World War I Centennial Commission to develop a teacher resource to connect teachers and students to the best research and resources for teaching the 100th anniversary of World War I. NHD worked with partner organizations, including HISTORY®, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and Army, Naval, and Marine Corps historical organizations to find interesting, unique primary sources. NHD master teachers then crafted the lesson modules, which can be edited and adapted to meet the needs of students in any classroom.

See Essays & Lesson Plans

U.S. History in Global Perspective

The inspiration for this book came from a recent survey of NHD's network of thousands of teachers in the U.S. as well as those in Department of Defense and International Schools across the globe. We asked educators what materials might help them most in their teaching. Overwhelmingly, the response was a desire for instructional essays and sources related to international, foreign relations and world history. Current events are also of great interest in classrooms of all disciplines; students in environmental science, for instance, must learn its history on a global scale to fully understand the subject.

With that in mind, we partnered with the Longview Foundation and HISTORY® to create a guide to help educators examine and teach United States History in global context.

Download Book

Webinars and Videos

National History Day hosts multiple webinars throughout the year talking about resources and tips for teaching and learning history. See upcoming events below and scroll down for videos of past events.

Upcoming Events

Past Events
The Legacies of World War I
This series of webinars will took place over the course of four months in the fall of 2018.
All of the webinars can be viewed here.

October 3, 2017 at 7PM ET
Conflict & Compromise Resources with the NEH and the Smithsonian Learning Lab
Watch on YouTube
Watch on SchoolTube

Conflict & Compromise in History 2018 Theme Introduction Webinar
Watch on YouTube
Watch on SchoolTube

2017 Ask the NEH Experts Series
View the YouTube playlist here.

HELP! I'm a New NHD Teacher... What did I get myself into?
View the YouTube playlist here.

National History Day Contest Qualitative Rubrics for Classroom Use
Watch on YouTube

National History Day Contest Quantitative Rubrics for Classroom Use
Watch on YouTube

Taking A Stand in History 2017 Theme Introduction Webinar
Watch on YouTube
Watch on SchoolTube

"Help, I'm a New NHD Teacher" Videos

Participating in the National History Day Contest for the first time can be a daunting task for a teacher. We have made a series of videos to help walk educators through the process featuring our Director of Programs Lynne O'Hara. There are four videos in this series.

For those unable to access YouTube on their network, you can watch these videos on our SchoolTube channel.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


NHD is developing rubrics for use in classrooms. They detail potential assessment criteria for the five project categories. Here are the current drafts. Let us know what you think!


NHD participants within a school can enjoy one complementary NoodleTools subscription for one NHD project season. The NoodleTools online platform helps students to generate accurate bibliographies in accordance with NHD rules, evaluate sources, create and organize notecards, and archive copies of sources. Teacher mentors can view student work in progress and provide real-time feedback.

Project Examples

View the award-winning projects from previous contests.

Making History Series

The Making History Series provides step-by-step instructions for creating projects in each of the five contest categories.