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
2021 Teacher Videos
NHD Virtual Teacher Bag
Virtual Teacher Library
Quick Digital Research Tips
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

In 2018 and 2019, NHD traveled with teachers to World War I cemeteries and battle sites in Europe. As part of the program, sponsored by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Library & Museum, 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.

Developed in partnership with the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the Pritzker Military Library & Museum, and the National Cemetery Administration.

World War I Teaching Materials


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.

Developed in partnership with HISTORY®.

Women in American History


Understanding Sacrifice

From 2014-2019, NHD led a program called Understanding Sacrifice. This was a year-long professional development opportunity that took 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 produced 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 I, World War II, and the Korean War. 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


Ongoing Events
Summer 2020 Historical Argumentation Webinar Series
Sponsored by the Library of Congress, this ongoing series includes strategies, primary sources, and other materials that focus on the skills of historical argumentation. Teachers will develop strategies to help their students think like a historian and develop a solid historical argument.
Webinars One and Two can be viewed here.
Webinars Three and Four are forthcoming.


Past Events
2020 Ask an NEH Expert Series
This series includes classroom-ready videos focusing on building an argument, validating sources, and writing and editing
All of the webinars can be viewed here.

The Legacies of World War I
This series of webinars will took place over the course of four months in the fall of 2019.
All of the webinars can be viewed here.

September 10, 2019
2020 Theme Webinar: Breaking Barriers in History
Watch on YouTube.

October 15, 2019
Chronicling and Mapping the Women's Suffrage Movement from the NEH & EDSITEment
Watch on YouTube.

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
Conflict & Compromise Resources with the NEH and the Smithsonian Learning Lab
Watch on YouTube

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

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

HELP! I'm a New NHD Teacher... What did I get myself into?
Watch Part 1 on YouTube
Watch Part 2 on YouTube
More updates coming for the 2020-2021 NHD Contest Year.

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

"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. The NHD National Office, in conjunction with state coordinators, have made a series of videos to aide and assist new teachers in the program. Join Al Wheat (Mississippi) and Sam Florer (Virginia) as they walk you through the NHD process.

Part 1
Part 2
2021 Teacher Videos

NHD has partnered with National Endowment for the Humanities to support teacher programming as part of the A More Perfect Union initiative to honor the semiquincentennial (250th anniversary) of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

George Washington's Mount Vernon

George Washington Speaks to the Nation: The Political Communication of the First President

Supporting Materials
Kevin Butterfield, Executive Director, Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon

National Endowment for the Humanities

The Presidency, the Press, and the Public
Jason Harshman, Director of Education Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities

National History Day

2021 Theme Introduction Video
Lynne O'Hara, Director of Programs at National History Day

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Bearing Witness: Testimony as an Act of Courage
Candra Flanagan, Director of Teaching and Learning at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of American Diplomacy

Diplomacy Classroom: A Tour Through Free Education Resources
Lauren Fischer, Director of Education, Alison Mann, Public Historian, and Elizabeth Gearhart, Program Assistant, National Museum of American Diplomacy at the U.S. State Department

For more videos in this series, please visit the National Museum of American Diplomacy's YouTube Channel.
NHD Virtual Teacher Bag

Virtual Teacher Library

2020-2021 Virtual Teacher Library

This collection combines different NHD and partner resources to help students and teacher prepare for the NHD 2021 contest year. Download a PDF copy of the Teacher Video list for video information, including summaries, URLs, time length, and other information.

2021 Teacher Video Library List

2021 Theme Videos

2021 Theme Introduction Video
2021 Theme Webinar

2021 Theme Webinar Slides
2021 Theme Graphic Organizer

For NHD Students

Selecting a NHD Topic
Matthew Elms, NHD Teacher

National Archives and Records Administration
Get Ready for NHD 2021 with the National Archives and Records Administration
Sara Lyons Davis,National Archives and Records Administration Education Specialist
Looking for more NHD inspiration? The National Archives and Records Administration curates their own National History Day page. Visit NARA's NHD page to start researching.

National Museum of the American Indian
Resources from the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian
Mandy Van Heuvelen, Museum Learning and Programs Department
Did American Indians Really Use Smoke Signals? (NHD 2021 Topics)
Mandy Van Heuvelen, Museum Learning and Programs Department

Exploring Communication in History: The Key to Understanding with The White House Historical Association
Ken O'Regan, White House Historical Association Education Specialist
Explore WHHA's Digital Library and Educational Resources page.
Visit the NHD Resources page at The White House Historical Association's website.

NHD Performers Workshop with the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History
Julia Garner and Fiona Meagher, National Museum of American History

Every NHD student is a writer! Learn more about writing history
Download a PDF copy of When the Akimotos Went to War here.
Matthew Elms, NHD Teacher
NHDWebCentral: Tips and Tricks to Building your own Website
Elaine Knootz, IT Manager at National History Day
Sammi Jo Papas, Co-Coordinator of National History Day in Minnesota

NHDWebCentral Training Slides

For NHD Teachers

Level Up! Ed Tech Tips for National History
Laurel Aguilar-Kirchhoff, Digital Learning Specialist at the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Office in Southern California

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Bearing Witness: Testimony as an Act of Courage
Candra Flanagan, Director of Teaching and Learning at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of American Diplomacy
Diplomacy Classroom: A Tour Through Free Education Resources
Lauren Fischer, Director of Education, Alison Mann, Public Historian, and Elizabeth Gearhart, Program Assistant, National Museum of American Diplomacy at the U.S. State Department
For more videos in this series, please visit the National Museum of American Diplomacy's YouTube Channel.

National Endowment for the Humanities
The Presidency, the Press, and the Public
Jason Harshman, Director of Education Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities

George Washington's Mount Vernon
George Washington Speaks to the Nation: The Political Communication of the First President

Supporting Materials
Kevin Butterfield, Executive Director, Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon

Historical Thinking Skills -- Developing a Historical Argument

Historical Thinking Skills (Webinar #1)
Dr. Christopher Hamner, Professor of History, George Mason University
Lynne O'Hara, Director of Programs at National History Day

Historical Argumentation Webinar 1 Bibliography

Historical Thinking Skills (Webinar #2)
Christopher Hamner, Professor of History, George Mason University
Lynne O'Hara, Director of Programs at National History Day

Historical Argumentation Webinar 2 Bibliography

Historical Thinking Skills (Webinar #3)
Dr. Christopher Hamner, Professor of History, George Mason University
Lynne O'Hara, Director of Programs at National History Day

Historical Argumentation Webinar 3 Bibliography

Historical Thinking Skills (Webinar #4)
Dr. Christopher Hamner, Professor of History, George Mason University
Lynne O'Hara, Director of Programs at National History Day

Historical Argumentation Webinar 4 Bibliography
Quick Digital Research Tips

Helping students research their NHD projects virtually? Check out these quick digital research tips to help them find primary and secondary sources!

How to Use Google Books

Smart Site Searching

Smart Searching the Library of Congress

Library of Congress Online Resources

Virtual Student Page

Looking for ways to help students engage in NHD 2021? Check out our Virtual Student page for videos and workshops designed specifically for NHD student researchers.

Virtual Teacher PD

Looking for Teacher PD this summer? Head over to our Virtual 2020 page to learn about how you can participate in our virtual teacher PD this summer.

NHD Contest Rule Book

Download the NEW National History Day Contest Rule Book, effective with the beginning of the 2020-2021 contest year.

NoodleTools

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.