A Techie History Contest

A techie history contest


Episode 5: A Techie History Contest

 

National History Day is one of my favorite contests because it combines 2 things I love – history and technology.

Our show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy also combines these two in their web-based unit studies on World War 2. These are delivered online, use online resources and incorporate techie projects. Until Friday 26th October, you can enter a giveaway to win two web-based unit studies.

An overview of National History Day

National History Day begins at the school level, but usually, homeschoolers can bypass this and go straight to the regional contest. The winners of that move on to the state competition and those winners attend the National History Day Contest in Washington DC during the summer.

National History Day is for students in 6th through 12th grade, but the information in this episode will also be useful for parents with younger students.

The contest always has a theme – this year it is Triumph & Tragedy in History. Within that theme, students can select any topic that fits. It can cover American or World History.

There are 2 parts to the contest: research and presentation. Both of these contain techie elements.

Research

Students need to gather a variety of source material, both primary and secondary sources. At the regional level, I suggest they have at least 15 – 20 different sources.

Some places they can find sources are:

  • the library: students need to learn to find books in their local library and also how to request books from interlibrary loans
  • the library website: you will be amazed at the resources you get free online with a library membership. You are likely to get Kanopy (a video streaming website with thousands of documentaries), newspaper archives, databases and digital collections.
  • online search: this is a good opportunity to make sure your children know how to search effectively and how to identify credible sources. Also show them Google Scholar, a search tool, which filters only academic sources
  • Library of Congress website
  • Experts in the field: teach your children to craft a professional email to ask experts about the topic

Once students have a number of sources, they need to learn how to use online tools like Easybib to create a bibliography and citations.

Presentation

After students have done their research, they must choose one of 5 different presentation categories. They can work alone or in a group.

1. Paper

While presenting the research as a paper isn’t very high tech, students will need to use a word processor, know how to do a word count, correctly lay out the paper etc.

2. Performance

Once again word processing skills will be needed to produce the script and bibliography.

3. Exhibit

In this category, the visual appearance of the text is important. Students will also need to use fonts and colors well. Exhibits are created on trifold boards.

4. Website

Students use Weebly to create websites for the National History Day contest. They will need to know how to use hyperlinks, insert interactive elements, upload files, and include videos.

5. Documentary

Students can use any video editing software (including whatever comes free on their computer) to create a documentary on the topic. This category will stretch a student’s techie skills as they need to know how to edit video and audio, insert photos and provide their own narration.

You will find a LOT of help on the National History Day website, and you are also welcome to reach out to me. All my own children participated in this contest and 3 of them reached the National level. A number of my students have achieved this as well.

 
If you found this useful, please subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts.

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.

A Techie History Contest


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