2020 Teacher Resources

Why should my students participate in History Day?

2017 NHD teacher Nicole Kessler and students

History Day fulfills state requirements in the social studies and can be used to complete many Classroom-Based Assessments. The program is flexible and provides an ideal framework to teach research, writing, critical thinking, interpretation and presentation skills. The skills used in developing a History Day project are real-world skills, and students report that doing History Day prepared them for college and work better than any other assignment in their education. School districts across the country have adopted it as part of their curriculum, and it is proven to improve academic performance, reading proficiency and historical literacy. In Washington, nearly 90 percent of participants improved their research skills, 80 percent learned new vocabulary, and two-thirds said it was one of their better learning experiences. Students learn history when they do history, and History Day gets them excited and engaged in learning. Testimonials of previous participants highlight the effects of participation in History Day.

For information about upcoming contests, please contact Hannah Tofte, Washington History Day Coordinator, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction at hannah.tofte@k12.wa.us or (360) 725-6320.

How can I learn more about implementing History Day in my classroom?

Washington History Day offers several teacher workshops each fall designed for new and returning History Day teachers. The state office offers a three-hour Introduction to History Day workshop for your school or district, subject to availability; contact us for more information. See below for a comprehensive downloadable teacher guide for doing History Day as well as a variety of materials designed to help you and your students. And, History Day teachers are renowned for their generosity and willingness to help.

If you’d like to get in touch with a current History Day teacher, email the education office and we’ll be happy to help.

Check out the Student Resources for additional documentation.

For more information about available education materials, please contact Molly Wilmoth at the Washington State Historical Society at molly.wilmoth@wshs.wa.gov or 253-798-5926.