Welcome to the Frederick County District Contest

Important Dates & Times

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Breaking Barriers in History, NHD 2020


Due to the closing of all Maryland Public Schools, the Frederick County History Day Program

will not be held in person this year. We will implement an online format for the submission and

judging of all entries. Please read the following directions carefully so that we may judge

projects and provide feedback in a timely manner.


All participants must submit all required items explained below to the provided Google Form no

later than 5:00 PM, Monday, March 16.



  • Performances - preferably, submit a video of your individual performance. If you are unable to video your performance, then you may submit your script, process paper, and bibliography. No group performances will be videod. Submit the group script, process paper, and bibliography.

  • Documentaries - submit process paper and bibliography (documentaries have already been digitally submitted).

  • Websites - submit the link to your website, process paper, and bibliography.

  • Exhibits - use this Google Slides  template to organize photos of your exhibit and submit along with your process paper and bibliography. Make sure your pictures are clear and any writing on the exhibit is readable.

  • Individual papers - submission deadline has already passed, and papers and bibliographies already submitted digitally. No action needed at this time


It is imperative students use this naming convention so files are easily organized and

identified: lastname_processpaper, lastname_bib, lastname_category [performance, website, or exhibit].


Judges will confer and score exhibits the week of March 16. All participants will receive

feedback from judges by March 25; we will also announce awards for each category and publish

information regarding registration for the state contest on this date. We hope to hold an awards

reception before the conclusion of the school year to recognize the achievements of all

participants, and will forward that information when it is available. Please do not hesitate to

contact heather.rose@fcps.org with any questions regarding project uploads.

IMG_6875.pngHappy History Hunting!.png



So, you are thinking about participating in History Day! 

To start your journey, you will need:

  • a teacher advisor 
  • a student account on this website 
  • a topic that relates to the theme "Breaking Barriers in History"

Teacher Advisor

Ask your social studies teacher if your school has a History Day advisor.  If not, contact Mary Atwell at frederickhistoryday@gmail.com for assistance.  It is possible to have an advisor from another FCPS school.

Student Account

By creating a student account on the website, you are indicating interest in participation in History Day. Your account will assist the coordinator with scheduling and resources. All students must sign up to participate, but students who sign up are not obligated to participate if they later decide not to complete a project.


Your advisor will assist you with choosing a topic in history. The options are basically unlimited, the only requirement is that your history topic is tied into the theme "Breaking Barriers in History".  Below are lists of possible topics to get you started.  Once you decide upon a topic, you are ready to start your research!  Once you've started your research, you can decide what format your project will take.  Take a look at the rules below for each category to learn more about them.

Update Regarding Website Builder:

NHDWebCentral video demo and instructional guides can be found here:  https://www.nhd.org/nhdwebcentral

Sample Themes and Thinking About "Breaking Barriers in History":

NHD_2020ThemeBook_web version_0.pdf


African-American Themes (many of these are connected to Maryland) :

Ideas from Morgan State.pdf

Ideas from Banneker Douglass Museum.pdf

Ideas from the RF Lewis Museum of MD African American History.pdf

Ideas from AARCH.pdf


Maryland History:

Ideas from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.pdf

Ideas from the Maryland Historical Society.pdf


U.S. and World History:

Ideas from Library of Congress.pdf


State Contest Dates:

April 1st - Tentative deadline for state contest registration

April 1st - Papers and documentaries must be submitted electronically; websites will be locked

May 2nd - State competition at UMBC

May 4th - Deadline for websites and papers review for nationals

May 14th - deadline for documentaries, performance, and exhibits review for nationals

June 14-18 - NHD national contest, University of MD, College Park





history teachers.png

Greetings Advisors, thank you for taking part in Frederick History Day!

Before your students can register you must set up your account. If you have any trouble, please contact Mary Atwell, Frederick District Coordinator, at 301-696-3933.


Update Regarding Website Builder:

NHDWebCentral video demo and instructional guides can be found here:  https://www.nhd.org/nhdwebcentral


Excerpted from the Maryland History Day Teacher Guide:

History Day students will:  

•  Demonstrate their understanding of historical events related to an annual theme, with respect to how historical events relate to each other.  

•  Understand what is meant by historical context and be able to relate their projects to events that occurred before and after. 

•  Develop alternatives to traditional problem-solving methods.

•  Explore creative ways of presenting historical material related to their topics.

•  Learn to answer questions and defend their work to judges.

•  Become more comfortable using library and other historical resources.


 Developing Skills through History Day Participation:

•  Skills: students plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning experiences 

•  Thinking Skills: students learn to think creatively, critically, and strategically to make effective decisions, solve problems and achieve goals 

•  Writing Skills:  students learn to outline a topic, write an effective essay/paragraph, build an annotated bibliography, and produce grammatical and correctly spelled material

•  Communication Skills: students plan, participate in, monitor and evaluate multi-modal communication experiences

•  Technology Skills: students learn to understand, use, and evaluate technologies used for their projects

•  Interpersonal Skills: students learn to work effectively with others  


More importantly, students acquire skills in putting together complex ideas:   

•  Students understand the concept of chronology, make their own timelines, and can talk about what came before and after their event.

•  Students engage in analysis and interpretation; most importantly, students must develop, present and defend their own arguments.

•  Students conduct research using appropriate technology, formulate their own questions, evaluate the credibility of sources, use primary and secondary resources, and develop annotated bibliographies. 


Some examples of how these required skills relate to History Day are:

•  Critical thinking and analysis and interpretation of original research allow students to discriminate between facts and opinions and to draw their own conclusions about historical events.

•  Developing a research strategy allows students to use and understand the significance of primary and secondary sources.  

•  Making time lines of historical events and using maps of the period help students to recognize cause and effect and identify trends.

•  Realizing that every story has a bias helps students to be careful when evaluating their sources.  

•  Being able to define the problems at hand allows students to form possible alternatives to those problems and test hypotheses to reach final conclusions.

History Day also offers cross-disciplinary potential in English/Language Arts, Art, Drama, etc. and allows students to work in their preferred modalities.


Benefits for Teachers:

The History Day Program:  

•  gives teachers an active-learning teaching tool for the classroom

• helps teachers meet the requirements of national and state history standards

•  provides an excellent assessment tool

•  helps teachers integrate the study of history with other disciplines, including writing, the arts, and other social sciences

•  supplies curricular aids, and research and bibliographic guides

•  supports professional development by offering workshops and summer institutes where teachers can learn about the latest in historical scholarship and new teaching methods and techniques

•  provides opportunities for teachers to work with academic historians, librarians, archivists, and public historians



Selected Resources:

Maryland History Day Teacher Guide- Introduction.docx

NHD Contest Rule Book.pdf

NHD Contest Rule Book in Spanish.pdf


There are many more resources available to teachers through the District Coordinator and through the Maryland Humanities website.  Please contact the coordinator here for details.




Judges - the Backbone of History Day

According to Maryland Humanities, over 27,000 Maryland students participate each year in historical topics and research to create original documentaries, exhibits, performances, research papers, or websites.

Students that place in the Frederick County contest advance to Maryland History Day, held on May 11 at UMBC.  If they place at the state level, they go on to the national competition held in College Park.  Each year, Frederick County does very well at states, in part because of you and your helpful analysis of hteir projects!

While most judges include humanities scholars, teachers, librarians, and museum professionals, anyone who wants to support students may judge.  Judging entails: reviewing student projects as part of a team of 3, interviewing contestants, selecting the winners to advance to the state contest, and providing constructive feedback.

Judging is a wonderful way to support students in the Frederick community, and help them learn how to analyze and think about history.  Why judge?

  • Community involvement
  • Networking opportunities with other Frederick history professionals 
  • Learn something new
  • Free breakfast and lunch - with exploded potatoes!
  • Help Frederick County students

Training Materials: Upon registering to judge, you are encouraged to review the National History Day rulebook to see specific details about the categories and procedures, as well as the annual contest theme. You can also look at sample projects from previous competitions.




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