History Day Program Components
WHD Topic Guide
Created by Washington State Archives, the Washington History Day Topic Guide helps students to select Washington-related topics that fit the annual theme and have available source materials.
Washington History Day
The History Day program has four main components. The only portion of the History Day program with specific deadlines is the contest. Educators and students may choose to participate in some or all parts of the History Day program and may generally adapt the schedule to fit the needs of their classrooms.
History Day is for students in grades 6-12. If students would like the option to compete, it is important that all members of a group project are part of the same division.
- Junior Division: grades 6-8
- Senior Division: grades 9-12
Social studies teachers are the most common History Day educators, but school librarians and teachers in other subject areas can be History Day educators as well. Many teachers work in partnership with their school librarian to support student researchers. History Day is most often taught in the classroom, but some educators offer it as a club activity.
History Day in the Classroom
- Teachers provide lessons on how to conduct historical research and what makes a good History Day project.
- Schedule: Classroom lessons typically begin early in the school year (October/November) and continue as needed, likely with less frequency once student research has begun (around November).
- Students choose a topic to research, based on History Day's annual theme.
- Students focus their research on primary and secondary sources.
- Students develop a thesis statement - their main argument.
- Students keep track of all their research sources in an annotated bibliography.
- Schedule: Student research typically begins around November and continues through project construction and competition.
History Day Project
- Students choose to create one of five project types: exhibit, documentary, performance, paper, or website.
- Schedule: Students should typically have chosen a project type and begun the design/creation in December/January. If competing, projects must be complete in time for the contest, but students may continue to improve projects between contests if advancing.
- Students may choose to enter projects in their local regional contest.
- Links to online regional contest registration will be available each winter.
- Schedule: regional contests typically take place in February and March. Visit the Washington History Day homepage for a list of regional contest dates and locations.
- Winning entries from each Regional Contest are invited to compete at the State Contest.
- A link to online state contest registration will be available each Spring after the Regional Contests.
- Schedule: The State Contest typically takes place in late April or early May. Visit the Washington History Day homepage for information about State Contest date and location.
- Winning entries at the State Contest are invited to compete at the National Contest.
- A link to online national contest registration will be available each year after the State Contest.
- Schedule: The National Contest typically takes place in mid June at University of Maryland - College Park (near Washington, D.C.). Visit the National History Day web page for information about State Contest date and location.
- Advancing students are encouraged to continue to improve their research and projects between contests!