TeachersFirst's National History Day Resources

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

Whether your students actually compete in National History Day or not, the annual themes and the challenge of hands-on, primary research wrapped into the History Day project format is an engaging way for students to participate in their own learning and produce rigorous, meaningful projects they will never forget. This collection of TeachersFirst resources pulls from our offerings on primary sources -- a requirement in the national history day competition.  Check the official National History Day site at the start of each school year for the specific theme of the year. Then search TeachersFirst for more resources related to that year's theme. Explore and share these offerings as you plan a "history day" type event for your school or to assist students participating in National History Day.

View all of our resources tagged History Day.

 

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Picturing Modern America 1880-1920 - Educational Development Center, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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American society experienced a tremendous amount of change and growth during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This site is filled with primary source images from the...more
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American society experienced a tremendous amount of change and growth during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This site is filled with primary source images from the Library of Congress and interactive exercises that bring the era to life. The "Image Detective" activity is especially impressive. After selecting a picture from the collection, students are presented with a critical question and guided through the process of gathering clues, reading background information, and drawing conclusions. The Investigations link challenges students to interact with visual sources to gain perspective and understanding. This is an outstanding resource for strengthening skills in historical research and critical thinking! The Exhibit Builder link apparently no longer functions, but students can copy images under Fair Use (check the collection information) to create a slide show or exhibit using images from the site along and their own explanatory text.

In the Classroom

Use this site as an in class activity for various units in your classroom, including the early 1900's, immigration, the roaring 20's, etc. Have students complete their investigations in pairs, having a class competition to see who can get the most right! A very fun way to review and encourage critical thinking skills.

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Travels in America - Library of Congress

Grades
9 to 12
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Observations of foreigners (especially Alexis de Tocqueville) have long been a staple of secondary American history classes. This Library of Congress resource offers a searchable collection...more
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Observations of foreigners (especially Alexis de Tocqueville) have long been a staple of secondary American history classes. This Library of Congress resource offers a searchable collection of reflections by other authors, including Hector St. John de Cr?vecoeur and Charles Dickens. While their observations are not always flattering, these writings can be a great way to get students to "think outside the box" when discussing American institutions.

tag(s): dickens (13), states (165)

In the Classroom

Use the primary sources in this site in a "survivor" activity that not only teaches the content how teaches students how to analyze primary sources too. Separate students into groups and assign each group a different primary source to analyze and interpret with the intentions of presenting their findings to the class. After presentations, have a representative from each group go to the front of the class and present an argument why their source is the most reliable and why it presents the clearest picture of the early US government. Have the class vote off the least reliable in rounds until there is just the one left! Students will leave the class understanding the content AND how to analyze sources for future reference.

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History Matters - George Mason University

Grades
9 to 12
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George Mason University has created what is almost a one stop shopping site for American History. This is a rich resource of primary source materials, introductions to historical analysis,...more
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George Mason University has created what is almost a one stop shopping site for American History. This is a rich resource of primary source materials, introductions to historical analysis, factual material, and much more. The site concentrates on both historical content and the craft of teaching history. This makes it an ideal starting point for social studies or history teachers interested in a fresh approach to their curriculum.

tag(s): states (165)

In the Classroom

This site offers a treasure trove of primary sources that would be useful for any history classroom. Teachers can either use the sources to supplement their lectures, or can use them to start a debate with students on the qualities of effective primary sources. Separate students into groups, and provide each group with a different primary source, although from the same time frame you are studying in class. Have the groups analyze the sources, and a list of reasons as to why or why not their source is a reliable source. From then on, have the groups debate in class which is the most reliable by way of class debate. Not only will the kids synthesize the important information within the sources, but they will also get a handle as to what makes a source reliable.

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The Making of America - Cornell University

Grades
6 to 12
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Cornell University created this site based on a collection of magazines and other printed materials covering the period from roughly 1840 - 1890. The listings show images of the actual...more
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Cornell University created this site based on a collection of magazines and other printed materials covering the period from roughly 1840 - 1890. The listings show images of the actual pages from the journals, so students can see images and text as they originally appeared. This makes the site a great way for students to understand just what people of the period were seeing and reading.

tag(s): journals (21)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource to find primary sources, whether it be for in class activities or for students working on research projects & papers. If using for classroom activities, consider having the pictures serve as prompts, introductory activities, wrap-ups or even as an analytical activity. Students can analyze whats in the picture or primary source for a variety of purposes. If using as a resource for research projects, make sure to include the site on any handouts as well as post on your class wiki or web page.

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Lawmaking for a New Nation - Library of Congress

Grades
9 to 12
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Early Congressional Journals - From the Library of Congress. This site offers access to journals of the first U.S. Congresses. These journals were the precursor to today's Congressional...more
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Early Congressional Journals - From the Library of Congress. This site offers access to journals of the first U.S. Congresses. These journals were the precursor to today's Congressional Record. Primary source material for study of the Federalist period.

tag(s): congress (33), constitution (86)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for finding primary sources that can be used in your classroom. One great way way to do so is through visual discovery, introducing the topic of the Continental Congress. Select 3-5 images from this site, choosing the most powerful and moving images. Placing the images on individual slides, allow students 1-2 minutes to observe each image. During that time period, students should be taking notes based on what they observe, predict and infer about each image. The more powerful and detailed the image is, the more information students can take out. After the class has observed all the chosen images, have a class discussion based on the notes students took. This is a great way to introduce content in a way that gets students thinking, as well as avoiding the typical lecture format.

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History Day Resources! - National Archives

Grades
1 to 12
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American History teachers everywhere will appreciate this site with its great coverage of all topics about American history. Although it's designed to be used with history day projects,...more
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American History teachers everywhere will appreciate this site with its great coverage of all topics about American history. Although it's designed to be used with history day projects, it's a great general resource.

tag(s): history day (24)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite and use it to generate ideas for lesson plans and classroom activities. The lessons can expand to your everyday, it doesn't have to be exclusive to a History day! American History teachers everywhere will appreciate this one.

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