Why do students have to complete a research project in social studies?
Graduates commented to teachers that they felt they were well prepared for college, in history, but that they lacked research skills and felt inadequate in completing research projects in their history/social studies courses. Research has always been an important part of social studies. Please see the link to the NYS SS Standards. (https://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-k-12-social-studies-framework)
Why National History Day (NHD)?
The social studies department looked at a variety of projects including some created by our teachers and other school districts. After some investigation we discovered:
National History Day provides students the opportunities to learn historical content and develop research, thinking and communication skills through the study of history and to provide educators with resources and training to enhance classroom teaching. (nhd.org)
NHD allowed for student choice, was based on a yearly theme, integrated social studies standards, and allowed for flexibility.
What is the NHD project?
NHD is an inquiry based research project. Students choose a topic and project based on an annual theme. Students research the topic and include primary and secondary sources in their investigation. Students can work individually or in groups.
What type of project can my child submit?
Students can choose from the following options:
Historical paper (individual only)
Documentary (individual or group)
Exhibit (individual or group)
Website (individual or group)
Performance (individual or group)
How does my child know if the topic connects to the theme or if he/she has difficulty selecting a topic?
Please have your student speak to his/her teacher or Mrs. Gordon. You can also look at the suggested topics that are on the NHD site (www.nhd.org) or click on the link below. (https://www.nhd.org/sites/default/files/2017-Theme-Narrative-Sample-Topics_0.pdf )
How did the process start?
The social studies department looked at a variety of research options and then choose NHD.
2008-09 - History Club Pilot
2009-10 - all students in AP Courses (grades 9,10,11 and 12)
2010-11 - all 8th grade students
2011-12 - all 9th grade students
2012-13 - all 7th, 10th, 11th grades
2012 - present - all students 7-12 in full year courses
Why do students have to complete this project for so many years?
Skills and content are spiraled by grade and level. Students are comfortable with the variety of projects that are offered and each year different skills or expectations are included. Research suggests that students who complete the project over multiple years demonstrate an upward trend of level of performance with each year of participation. (National History Day Works: Findings from the National Program Evaluation, pg 40)
Does this take away from social studies instruction?
At first this was a fear. We have found that students now come with a skill set that can be expanded on and that enhances instruction. The teaching of this project has encouraged better writing, identification of primary and secondary sources, crafting a thesis statement, developing their ideas and creating a conclusion. All of these skills are important in the study of social studies.
Does NHD work?
Research has shown that students who participate in NHD projects know how to do college-level research and critical thinkers who can digest, analyze and synthesize information are better writers. It has also shown that it positively affects students academic performance in SS and the skills gained can assist in other subjects as well . The research also suggests that students have higher interest in history and civic engagement http://www.nhd.org/wp-content/uploads/NHD1_KeyFindingsBrochureFINAL.PDF
The full report: HTTP://WWW.NHD.ORG/WP-CONTENT/UPLOADS/nhdreport_FINAL3.PDF.
How much class time is dedicated to the project?
There is more class time dedicated to the project in the Middle School. Approximately 5-7 days are spent in the library with an opportunity for additional days to be added in. Instruction on sources, thesis, and point of view are imbedded within the social studies curriculum. Additional days are spent in the ELA classes supporting the research process. The librarians are an integral part of this project. Direct grade level instruction is given.
Is extra help available?
The HS and MS have extra help available departmentally, this typically begins in November. Additionally, individual teachers offer extra help. The librarians also offer extra help during lunch periods and before and after school. The middle school has a weebly club that assists with students interested in completing a website.
What if my students is having trouble with the topic selection or any part of the project?
Contact your child’s teacher or Doreen Gordon, Director of Social Studies and Business firstname.lastname@example.org or 631.761.8320.
Where can I go for additional information?
The Hauppauge website has a new section Featured Program. Many resources will be included here. The website nhd.org also has valuable resources.
What is this project worth in my child’s average?
The weight of this project in a student's average reflects the time and effort that the project takes. In 7th and 8th grade it is worth two test grades in the second quarter in the HS it is worth 20% of the second quarter. Late projects in the MS have 10 points deducted daily. In the HS late projects have 25 points deducted daily.
Who creates the rubrics used to assess students on their NHD projects?
Teachers create the rubrics. They are reviewed and updated annually. There have been significant changes to the rubrics over the years.
What about students who take Participation in Government and Economics and Personal Finance (PIG/ECO) as seniors? Why don’t they participate in the NHD project?
Students who are enrolled in the semester or half year courses of PIG and ECO can have both courses in the spring and they would miss the necessary social studies research component of the course. Conversely, they could have both courses in the fall and would have to do two projects. Therefore, we have developed a departmental Advocacy Research Project that students in both PIG and Eco complete.Are the rubrics the same for the MS and HS?No they are not. The MS rubrics are located under MS Research Project Rubrics in this section. There are different rubrics and requirements in the HS for students who are taking Regents level courses and AP and IB courses