The Myths of NHD

Winter break is often the time that NHD students begin thinking about producing their entries such as exhibits, documentaries, etc.  So we thought it was a good time to correct a few assumptions out there:

1.  An exhibit must have a timeline.  Incorrect.  It can have a timeline if it works well for the topic and design, but there is no rule that says there must be a timeline.  If it works, great, but putting up a timeline for the sake of having a timeline is not a good idea.  And don’t forget:  student composed words on a timeline count toward the 500-word limit.

2.  To win, a performance must have a song.  Wrong.  Once again, if it works, great, but singing performers will not guarrantee a win (in fact, nothing with guarrantee a win).

3.  Bibliographies must indicate that students interviewed someone about their topic.  Nope.  This is not a requirement, but if it is possible to conduct an oral history interview with an individual who was a witness (primary source) to history students should try to get an interview.  But remember:  an interview with an expert–say a Civil War historian–cannot be considered an oral history interview; such an individual would be a secondary source.

Any other myths or confusion out there?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “The Myths of NHD

  1. How about this: The project with the best primary sources will win. Wrong! Great primary sources are just a start, how they are used counts for much, much more. Primary sources are like the evidence a lawyer uses to build a case. Without a good case, the evidence is useless. The jury needs to see the evidence, but the lawyer also needs to provide an arguement as to how the evidence fits together to prove a point. You cna have the best primary sources in the world, but if you don’t build a case around them they are like a rebel without a cause.

    • Laura McCarty

      I sometimes argue that it is more important for 6-12 grade students to show wide mastery of secondary sources than it is primary ones. For most topics there are so many books and articles by experts that can help them understand context and evaluate significance.

  2. I really like this post! You should do one on the overall NHD myths, too — not just entries. For example, how NHD is NOT boring, how competitors AREN’T all stuck-up teachers’ pets, how we DON’T all get medals and a pat on the back . . .

  3. Ahahahah yah, that’s true!(: I should do one on my blog . . . (:

  4. Pingback: the myths of NHD: competitor perspective | this is how we do it : nhd 2012

  5. Adrian Salinas

    Great posting…More NHD Myths:
    1. The more text on your exhibit, the better – Wrong! First of all, there’s a word count limit. Secondly, from a practical standpoint it is difficult to read all the text you’ve had to compress in order fit on the exhibit.

    2. You need to spend a lot of money on your exhibit, documentary, performance, etc, in order to do well – Wrong. Excellent projects can be produced on a moderate budget.

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