What do the Stamp Act of 1765, the introduction of the Sears catalogue and Marie Curie all have in common? National History Day students were certainly not alive during any of these events but they can knowledgeably explain how the Stamp Act of 1765 played an integral role in the coming of the American Revolution, the Sears catalogue revolutionized consumerism and Marie Curie?s work on radiation was revolutionary in the world of science. These are among the many topics that middle and high school students will be exploring during a yearlong scholastic event called National History Day (NHD).
More than 700,000 students in grades 6-12 are about to set off on a history adventure, examining revolutions and reforms in economics, science, politics and religion, and the historical reactions that occurred as a result. NHD is a yearlong nonprofit education organization that is reinvigorating the teaching and learning of history.
This year's annual National History Day competition will focus on the theme, Revolution, Reaction, and Reform. NHD will lead students across America to new discoveries about their own communities and the world. The horrific events of September 11th serve to remind us that the world is a complicated place and we are all very much a part of the world. In history, young people learn core democratic values; they learn that patriotism is far more than flag waving and has little to do with hating others. Through National History Day students will gain a better understanding of the world around them and the democratic ideals that America is based upon.
Teachers will brainstorm with students to help them choose topics and provide them with the guidelines for participating in NHD. A student can create a project in one of four categories: exhibit, historical performance, documentary, or research paper. They may also decide to enter as individuals or as a member of a group. Students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills while creating entries and competing in a series of district, state and national contests. These skills will help them manage and use information now and in the future.
The impact of NHD extends well beyond the students entered into the competition. Thousands of parents also get involved, making it a family affair. Additionally, the program provides teachers with a unique alternative to what can be accomplished in the traditional classroom.
More than a student competition, National History Day is a vehicle for changing the way history is taught and learned in our nation's classrooms. NHD provides professional development programs and curriculum materials to help teachers achieve and surpass education standards.
The NHD 2002 national contest will be held at the University of Maryland in June 2002. More than 2,000 student and teacher finalists will compete for significant awards. Top student winners will receive full tuition scholarships to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and partial scholarships to the University of Maryland at College Park and Chaminade University in Hawaii.
Regardless of whether a student wins a prize, the event is always exciting and informative, Alice Daniels, a Stamford, Connecticut, English teacher, remarked. This event is thrilling; it gets the kids excited about learning. Vaughn Dailey of Pennsylvania, 2000 Teacher Excellence Foundation winner, agrees,NHD is not just a day, but an experience that truly lasts a lifetime.
Since 1974, National History Day has grown from a Cleveland, Ohio competition with about 100 students to a national education program. It is funded by Cargill, The History Channel, and other corporations, foundations and individuals. Judges are university professors, high school teachers, museum curators and other public historians.
For more information visit the official website at www.NationalHistoryDay.org
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