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National History Day in Massachusetts

NHD Educators

How NHD Massachusetts Supports Educators

Our staff are ready to support you through every aspect of the NHD journey, whether you are a seasoned NHD teacher or participating in the program for the first time.

Looking for curricular resources on how to structure NHD in your classroom? We invite you to explore our Teacher Guide, with our favorite classroom resources from Massachusetts and partner affiliates for every step of the NHD project, and to check out the videos and resources linked on this page.

Looking for tailored resources, one-on-one coaching or in-classroom assistance as a new or returning teacher? Contact our Teaching and Learning Specialist Paula Sampson at psampson@masshist.org to explore the options available to you.

Looking for student programming options? Contact our team at nhd@masshist.org to explore options for in-person or Zoom presentations with your students to strengthen skills, or for help connecting with local organizations eager to support their research.

Register for our NHD Graduate Course! 

Project-Based Learning in the Social Studies Classroom: An Introduction to NHD in Massachusetts

Fee: $120

Credits: 67.5 PDPs, ALCs for BPS teachers, or 3 graduate credits (for an additional $375 fee)

Who: Grade 6-12 Educators

Where and When:

  1. Virtual Sessions: Wednesdays, February 28, March 13, March 20, March 27, and April 3, 6:00- 8:00 PM
  2. In-Person Session: Participants will attend one of the following NHD competitions:
    1. Saturday, March 2, 7:45-3:00 PM, Foxborough HS
    2. Saturday, March 2, 7:45-3:00 PM, Stoneham Central MS
    3. Sunday, March 10, 7:45-3:00 PM, Leicester MS

Explore the potential of Project-Based Learning (PBL) with a focus on National History Day (NHD) in Massachusetts. NHD asks students to become historians– to conduct primary and secondary source research on a historical topic and present their work as a documentary film, website, performance, paper, or exhibit. Course participants will learn firsthand the transformative impact of NHD on student engagement, confidence, and autonomy while crafting a tailored instructional plan to bring the power of History Day to your students.

Learn more and register!

Contact Us With Questions!

Interested in learning more about NHD?  Looking for resources, support, or just have a question?  Want a virtual class visit to introduce students to the NHD project, research tips, or theme?  Email your NHD Massachusetts State Coordinator Simbrit Paskins at nhd@masshist.org!

How Students Can Participate

There are various levels of participation.  For example, teachers implement the NHD program as:

  • a class-wide or grade-wide graded project
  • an after school activity
  • an option for extra credit

Competition is not a requirement. NHD in Massachusetts believes that the NHD deep dive into historical research and inquiry, interpretation, and creative expression is an achievement all on its own. If students want to compete—go for it! But students or teachers can also choose for their program to culminate in a showcase or school display.  We want students to know that competition does not correlate to success.

See NHD in Action as a NHD Judge

Judging for NHD is a great way to see the program in action and to learn from a group of incredible student historians! If you're interested in seeing NHD in action, fill out our Judge Interest Form to learn more about judging and be notified when registration opens in 2024. All educators receive 10 PDPs for judging at our regional or state NHD competitions. In the meantime, visit our NHD MA Judges page to learn more about the role of judges in NHD!

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and The NHD Project

Looking for guidance on how students may use (and may not use) AI tools when creating an NHD project? Check out this handout!

Please note: This is guidance as of September 2023. NHD will continue to update the guidance as the research and technology develops.

NHD Teacher Guide

We invite you to explore our Teacher Guide, with our favorite classroom resources from Massachusetts and partner affiliates for every step of the NHD project. Includes:

  • Overviews, worksheets and classroom materials to support student research and each stage of the project
  • Calendars and suggested timelines
  • Videos and multimedia
  • Asynchronous PD for educators
  • Materials for in-school contests

Don't see what you're looking for? Contact our Teaching and Learning Specialist Paula Sampson at psampson@masshist.org for additional support.

Why Teach NHD

Are you looking for a proven program that deepens student engagement with research and writing and aligns with the Massachusetts framework for history and social science? Do you want resources to help students learn key inquiry skills for their action civics project

The National History Day in Massachusetts program checks all these boxes and more:

  • Deepens student understanding around a content area that you’re already covering in class
  • Aligns with DESE's "three pillars" of history and social science instruction: content, practice, and literacy standards
  • Makes history relevant, engaging, and meaningful for students
  • Provides historical context for community issues and hones skills and dispositions that students will need for action civics projects
  • Guides students through the process of inquiry: how to develop research questions, how to glean information from primary sources, how to craft a compelling argument, etc.
  • Provides ELL learners the opportunity to use primary sources written in languages other than English