Annual Theme- NHD.org
Every year National History Day frames students' research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for the broad application to world, national or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past. This year's theme is Debate & Diplomacy: Successes, Failures, Consequences. The intentional selection of the theme for National History Day is to provide an opportunity for students to push past the antiquated view of history as mere facts and dates and drill down into historical content to develop perspective and understanding.
The NHD theme provides a focused way to increase student's historical understanding by developing a lens to read history, an organizational structure that helps students place information in the correct context and finally, the ability to see connections over time.
Choosing a Topic How do I choose a topic?
Think, read, talk... Topics for research are everywhere! Think about a time in history or individuals or events that are interesting to you. Start a list. Read books, newspapers or other sources of information and add to your list. Talk with relatives, neighbors, or people you know who have lived through a particular time in history that interests you and add more ideas. Keep thinking, reading and talking to people until you have many ideas that are interesting. Now go back through the list and circle the ideas that connect with the theme. From the ideas that you circled, select one to begin your research. Keep your list because you might need it again.
I have an idea for a topic, now what? Narrow down the topic and connect it to the theme... Selecting a National History Day topic is a process of gradually narrowing down the area of history (period or event) that interests you to a manageable subject. For example, if you're interested in Native Americans and the theme is Rights and Responsibilities in History, a natural topic would be treaty rights. Now from there, you would consider the resources you have available to you—perhaps your local historical society—and possibly choose a Native American/U.S. treaty based in your state's history. Your process might look something like this:
Theme: Rights and Responsibilities in History
Interest: Native Americans
Topic: Treaty Rights
Issue: 1788 Fort Schuyler Treaty