Banner for National History Day <i>in Massachusetts</i>

National History Day in Massachusetts

Teacher Guide

Getting Started

    • Help! I’m a New NHD Teacher: Video Series
    • NHD Timeline Resources: General outline for the year and links to sample workflows developed by veteran NHD teachers. Whether you’re teaching NHD for 8 weeks or 8 months, you’ll find inspiration here!
    • NHD Road Map: Outline of the steps involved in research for all categories and the elements that students need to include in their projects
    • Sample Letter to Families: Customizable letter about NHD to send home to families
    • History Day Vocabulary: Explanation of terms used throughout the NHD process
    • Divisions and Categories: Description of different format projects can take and how students can be grouped by age (c/o NHD Utah)
    • 2022 Evaluation Rubrics: These rubrics are used by judges to evaluate student projects at the NHD competitions, and are often also used for teacher evaluations in a classroom setting.  These rubrics were revised for clarity and accessibility for the 2022 season.

Themes and Topic Selection

Begin by exploring the resources on these NHD MA webpages with your students: Annual Theme and Choosing a Topic. Students can also get ideas for their research topics on our Research Links page—check out the theme pages from local institutions for inspiration!

Topic Proposals:

Proposals can help students articulate their topic and research plans:

Selecting a Project Category

Start by visiting our Project Categories webpage, which contains links to a detailed explanation of the five project types: performances, exhibits, documentaries, papers, and websites. Then, explore these additional resources:

Templates for Project Categories

Group or Individual Projects

 These worksheets can help students to decide if they prefer to work as an individual or in a group

Primary and Secondary Sources

These worksheets and resources help students identify and analyze primary and secondary sources. Make sure to explore the resources on our Research Page for more tips and links.

Research Process

Begin by exploring the Research Links page, which contains lots of tips and links to credible local, national, and international archives and resources.

        • NHD Quick Digital Research Playlist: Short videos to support students in their virtual research process, from advice on finding credible sources using Wikipedia to tips for searching the Library of Congress
        • Online Research Tips: Worksheet to help students to better navigate online databases when looking for sources 
        • Recognizing Bias: Analyzing Context and Execution: Lesson plan from the Newseum that helps students to identify bias and perspective in their sources. Note: It is important to emphasize that biased sources can still be useful for research as long as we apply critical thinking skills and compare it to other sources with different perspectives.

Tracking Student Research

We highly recommend that teachers explore NoodleTools, an online platform with integrated tools for note-taking and outlining, source evaluation and citation, and ways to provide targeted feedback. NHD teachers are eligible to register for one free year of Noodletools!

Crafting a Historical Argument 

Framing/Contextualizing Project Research

This set of worksheets from NHD Utah helps students to summarize and map out the context and narrative of their historical project:

These tools help students to consider history through diverse lenses and perspectives and shows them how to avoid harmful stereotypes:

Annotated Bibliography and Process Paper 

Check out the resources on our Annotated Bibliography & Process Paper page, and then explore the following classroom resources. Reminder: according to the NHD rule book, students should cite every source they consult in their research, even if they don't quote it directly.

Judging, Evaluations, and School-Level Competitions

Press and Social Media Toolkit