About the State History Day Contest
In 2013, the Alaska History Day contest will be an all digital contest. Since its establishment in 1989 the state contest has been a mail-in contest. In 2013, students will submit their entries directly to the state contest in an electronic format prescribed by History Day in Alaska. Guidance will be provided by the end of 2011 on how to prepare your entry and how to submit it. While we desire an on-site contest the logistics of doing this are prohibitive. With students from as far north as Barrow and as far south as Haines participating in the state contest getting every student to one location for an on-site contest would be enormously expensive. For the 2013 state contest judges will interview finalists using teleconference, webcams and videoconfence technology.
What is History?
History is more than what happened in the past. It is the record of past events, and it is what historians write and present about the past. NHD lets you become a historian and do what they do. Below is a list of some of the techniques and tools that historians use:
- Tell a story - To "do history," you must tell a story with a beginning, middle, and an end.
- Reveal change over time - Historians try to figure out not only how things changed but why.
- Consider historical perspective - When you investigate a historical event, it is important to look for and understand the different points of view of its participants.
- Historic context - The political, social, cultural, and economic setting for a particular idea or event. To better understand something in history, we must look those things that surround it in time and place.
- Ask questions - Telling a good story means asking good questions. It means analyzing what is important. An example of a good question is, "Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner and he wrote the Declaration of Independence. How did he reconcile his belief that 'all men are created equal' with the fact that he was a slave owner?"
- Draw conclusions - History is more than just a chronology of events. A good historian draws their own conclusions about the past, based on solid evidence.
- Research, research, research - Gather facts, facts, and more facts. You must answer the questions "who," "what," "when," "where," and "why."
Research: The First Step in Your History Day Project
Research is the most important part of your History Day project. You will use it to help you decide on a topic, narrow your topic, develop a context for your topic, formulate a thesis statement, and to help you decide on a category for your project. Before beginning your History Day project we recommend that you review the Research Guidance section.
A centerpiece of the National History Day program is the belief that students should learn history by doing history. Instead of learning about history through lectures and textbook assignments students are encouraged to select a topic related to a theme, research that topic, and present their findings in one of five categories. These categories are exhibits, documentaries, perfomances, papers, and websites. For the exhibit, documentary, performance, and website categories students may work in groups of up to five. Follow the links below to learn more about the specific categories.