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National History Day 2016 Theme:

Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History

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an opportunity for students to push past the antiquated view of history as mere facts and dates and drill down into historical content to develop perspective and understanding.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 National History Day 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.

During the 2015-2016 school year, National History Day invites students to research topics related to the theme "Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History." As is the case each year, the theme is broad enough to encourage investigation of topics ranging from local to world history, and from ancient times to the recent past. To understand the historical importance of their topics, students need to ask questions about time, place, and context; cause and effect; change over time; and impact and significance. They ought to consider not only when and where events happened, but also why they occurred, what factors contributed to their development, and what effects they had on broader history. NHD projects should go beyond mere description to include analysis of information and draw conclusions.

For National History Day, students must also tie their topics to the theme. For 2015-2016 NHD projects, this means that students need to define the sense in which their topics relate to exploration, encounter, exchange in history.


Click here to read more about the theme:
Click here for sample topics: