• For Teachers & Students
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FAQS AND CONTACT US:

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  • Lionel Williams
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    Where and when is my contest?

    Download a map of the regions and the regional hosts. The times are set by each regional host by the January before the contest.

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    May I enter two categories?

    Each student can enter only one category. A student can participate individually or in a group, but not both. A student can only be a member of one group.

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    Can I have group members from other schools?

    This is allowed as long as the group members are in the same age division—senior or junior—and reside in the same region.

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    Can home school students participate?

    Yes! All students whether they are in public, charter, or private schools may participate. Home school students may register just as any other student.

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    How do I count words for the 500 word limit in the exhibit category and the 1,200 word limit in the web site category?

    Student-composed written materials that are used on an exhibit (excluding the title page, process paper, and annotated bibliography) must contain no more than 500 words. Likewise, the web site may contain only 1,200 student-composed words.

    This limit does not apply to words found in materials used for illustration, such as documents, artifacts, graphs, or timelines which were not created by the student(s). It also does not apply to quotations from primary sources such as oral history interviews, letters, or diaries. These materials are not student-composed. However, if a student does use his or her own words in a timeline or on a graph, those words do count.

    The 500 exhibit word limit and 1,200 web site word limit applies to any student-composed written materials used in any media devices (computers, slides, video) and/or any supplemental materials.

    The following are examples of how student composed words are counted on exhibits:

    • A date counts as one word, while each word in a name is individually counted. For example, "January 1, 1990" counts as one word, but "John Quincy Adams" counts as three.
    • Words such as "a," "the," and "of" are counted as one word each.
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    Are the word limits separate from the 500 word limit for the process paper?

    Yes, the title page, process paper, and bibliography are considered as being separate from the exhibit or web site and do not count towards the word limits for the exhibit or web site themselves.

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    How do I know if I’ve gone over my size limit on my web site?

    You are required to build your website through http://nhd.weebly.com. Once you reach your size limit on the site, you will not be able to upload any more items. In addition, it will block you from embedding Youtube videos or other externally-hosted videos to your site, which are also violations.

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    How do you count words for the paper category?

    The text of the historical paper (Title page, notes, annotated bibliography, illustration captions, and appendix materials that are directly referred to in the text do not count) must be no less than 1,500 words and no more than 2,500 words in length. Each word or number in the text of the paper counts as one word. Unlike exhibits, words in quotations do count against the word limit in papers. Each part of a name counts as one word, so "Mark Van Doren" would count as 3 words. Each part of a date counts as a word, so "June 13, 2002" would count as 3 words.

    Please note that only words in the text of the paper count. Words in the title of the paper do not count, although words in subtitles dividing parts of the paper do count, as they are part of the text. Words in notes, annotated bibliographies, illustration captions, and appendices do not count against the limit, as they are not part of the text of the paper.

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    Can you have pictures in a paper, like illustrations, graphs, etc.?

    Illustrations are acceptable. Captions do not count in the word total. Make sure that illustrations are directly related to the text, and don't overdo them. The people who volunteer as paper judges tend to be quite text-based, and they're probably not going to be impressed by excessive illustrations; instead, they're likely to suspect that maybe you didn't have much confidence that your writing could stand up on its own.

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    Can I use a fictional 1st person in a paper or performance?

    Yes. At the beginning of the Category Rules for Papers in the National History Day Contest Guide, there's a description of papers: "A paper is the traditional form of presenting historical research. Various types of creative writing (for example, fictional diaries, poems, etc.) are permitted, but must conform to all general and category rules. Your paper should be grammatically correct and well written." The Rules state, "A performance is a dramatic portrayal of your topic's significance in history and must be original in production." A performance is not simply an oral report or a recitation of facts. You can make up characters to make a broader historical point, but don't make up history. While performances must have dramatic appeal, that appeal should not be at the expense of historical accuracy.

    Therefore, clearly it is possible to have fictional characters, for example, writing a fictional diary. However, you need to make sure that you cite sources just as you would for a traditional paper or in a performances use primary sources like letters where appropriate. Most importantly, it still has to be good history. You can make up the character, but the circumstances and events of the character's life and which that character witnesses or participates in should be based on historical facts.

    If you are writing a traditional research paper, not a creative paper, it is best not to use a fictional character. The judges would find that quite jarring, and would be likely to think less of your paper for it.

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    How many sources should I have for my annotated bibliography?

    We can't tell you a specific number of sources, as that will vary by the topic and by the resources to which you have reasonable access. For some topics, such as the Civil War or many 20th-century US topics, there are many sources available. For other topics, such as those in ancient history or non-US history, there likely are far fewer sources available. The more good sources you have, the better, but don't pad your bibliography. Only list items which you actually use; if you looked at a source but it didn't help you at all, don't list it in your bibliography.

    You do need to find both primary and secondary sources. Secondary sources help you to put your topic in context, that is, to see how your topic relates to the big picture and to understand its long-term causes and consequences. Primary sources help you develop your own interpretation and make your project lively and personal.

    As much as possible, your research should be balanced, considering the viewpoints of all relevant groups. That means losers as well as winners, males and females, different nations, different socioeconomic/ethnic/religious groups, etc. What balanced means will vary depending on your topic.

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    How do I create a Process Paper for my project?

    A description of no more than 500 words explaining how you conducted your research and created and developed your entry. You must conclude your description with an explanation of the relationship of your topic to the contest theme.

    A title page is required as the first page of written material in every category. Your title page must include only the title of your entry, your name(s) and the contest division and category in which you are entered.

    Process Paper:
    First section should explain how you chose your topic.
    Second section should explain how you conducted your research.
    Third section should explain how you selected your presentation category and created your project.
    Fourth section should explain how your project relates to the NHD theme.

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    How much and what type of information should be included in the annotation?

    An annotation normally should be about 1-3 sentences long. You might be tempted to create page-long annotations to impress the judges. Don't do it! Lengthy annotations are usually unnecessary and inappropriate, and most judges consider them an effort to "pad" the bibliography.

    The Contest Guide says the annotations "must explain how the source was used and how it helped you understand your topic." Be sure that you explain that rather than making the mistake of recounting what the source said. In addition to explaining how you used a source or how it helped you, you sometimes need to include some additional information in an annotation. Here are some examples:

    Classification as primary or secondary source. You should use the annotation to explain why you categorized a particular source as primary or secondary, IF that is likely to be at all controversial. Historians do sometimes disagree and there's not always one right answer, so justify your choice to the judges.

    Secondary source which included primary sources. You also may use the annotation to explain that a book or other secondary source included several primary sources used for the paper. Examples: "This book included three letters between person X on the frontier and person Y back in New England, which provided insight into the struggles and experiences of the settlers." "This book provided four photos of settlers on the Great Plains and their homes, which were used on the exhibit."

    Fuller explanation of credits for documentaries. You are supposed to give credit in the documentary itself for photos or other primary sources, but you can do this in a general way, such as by writing, "Photos from: National Archives, Ohio Historical Society, A Photographic History of the Civil War" rather than listing each photo individually in the documentary credits, which would take up too much of your allotted 10 minutes. You then can use the annotation for the collection or book (or whatever) in the bibliography to provide more detailed information.

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    Contact Us

    For questions about Louisiana History Day or your WWII-themed History Day project, or if you do not see your question answered here:

    Collin Makamson, Louisiana History Day Coordinator
    historyday@nationalww2museum.org
    (504) 528-1944 x 304


    TAKE ACTION:

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    EDUCATION PROJECTS:

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    Student Travel – WWII Educational Tours
    High school and college students, learn the leadership principles that helped win WWII on a trip to France or during a weeklong residential program in New Orleans. College credit is available, and space is limited.

    See You Next Year! HS Yearbooks from WWII
    Collected from across the United States, the words and pictures of these yearbooks present a new opportunity to experience the many challenges, setbacks and triumphs of the war through the eyes of America’s youth.

    The Victory Gardens of WWII
    Visit the Classroom Victory Garden Project website to learn about food production during WWII, find lesson plans and activities for elementary students, get tips for starting your own garden and try out simple Victory Garden recipes!

    The Science and Technology of WWII
    Visit our new interactive website to learn about wartime technical and scientific advances that forever changed our world. Incorporates STEM principles to use in the classroom.

    Kids Corner: Fun and Games!
    Make your own propaganda posters, test your memory, solve puzzles and more! Learn about World War II and have fun at the same time.

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    CONNECT:

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