National History Day 2011 Finals
Welcome to College Park
Jake, Sarah Michele, and Sarah
and their Wisconsin gear at the
Welcome to the 2011 NHD National Contest! The Team Wisconsin Coordinators began our journey with a cross-country drive and are now enjoying time with the rest of the team. The weather has been hot, but beautiful! We are looking forward to a few days of cooler temperatures in the days to come. After getting settled into the University of Maryland dorms we began registering for the contest, trading buttons, and meeting students from other states.
Our first team event was a state meeting and then we attended the opening ceremony with the other 2,700 National Contest participants this year! A great piece of the day was our "Get to Know D.C." tour where Wisconsin families got to see the sights of downtown D.C. from the Old Post Office Pavilion on a Sunday morning.
Monday and Tuesday will be busy contest days for students who will be presenting their projects and be interviewed by judges. Good luck, Team Wisconsin!
Posted at 10:00 PM
Josh and James, Junior Group Performance, Madison
James and Josh trade
with another national finalist.
According to Josh, research was one of his favorite parts of putting together his National History Day project on the Cuban Missile Crisis with his partner, James. "My favorite part was going into the stacks at the Historical Society. I also enjoyed looking through newspapers from the time." This research formed the foundation of their project examining the connection between the Cuban Missile Crisis to the ideas of debate and diplomacy and the impact that the topic had in history.
James and Josh felt that a performance was the best way to convey their ideas. "A series of vignettes would present our topic the best, showing the many conversations and facets of the crisis that could not be explored as well with another category. Creating their project was a process of constant improvement. "Changing our performance based on judges' comments helped us to improve our performance's historical content, and a few tweaks to our performance helped to portray our topic in a more clear fashion."
Both Josh and James have developed an in-depth understanding of the very complex issues surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis, but their NHD project has changed much more than just their understanding of this topic. "I knew nothing of the Crisis before looking into this topic. I have learned that there is so much history that I do not know about. As a student, I now have proof that there is always more to learn about history."
Posted at 10:01 PM
Anna, Junior Paper, Madison
Anna at the
Old Post Office.
"My National History Day project is about the Reykjavik Summit of 1986, when the President of the United States, Ronald Regan, and the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev met to discuss nuclear arm reductions and an end to the Cold War. " Anna writes about this topic in her paper entitled, "The Turning Point of the Cold War: The Reykjavik Summit of 1986."
The process of writing an NHD paper begins with research and allows students like Anna to make their own conclusions about the impact of the topic they chose. Anna says, "The best experience in creating my NHD project was writing my paper. It feels good to be able to put all the information from my research to use and it's a large accomplishment to be able to look at your NHD project and see that you did it all."
Although Anna writes about the specific event of the Reykjavik Summit she had to investigate the Cold War and understand the historical context surrounding this topic to show her readers the importance of this event in history. Anna notes, "This event will probably serve as an example for diplomatic relations in the future."
Posted at 10:02 PM
Sammi and Elena, Junior Group Documentary, La Crosse
Elena and her family
navigating the Metro.
Sammi and Elena were initially interested in examining the debate over evolution and creationism, but soon realized that was going to be too broad a topic. In the end, the students settled on the Scopes Trial for their 2011 NHD project. According to Sammi and Elena, "Over the course of a few months we researched the topic and created our documentary. The Scopes Trial was a trial that took place in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925 that was because of a school teacher, John Scopes, who illegally taught evolution in his classroom."
Months of research and analysis turned into a documentary, the first draft of which was created on a car trip. "The best experience was probably when we first started making it. We were in the car to Chicago, and it was a great way to pass the time!" All told, both Elena and Sammi are proud of their finished product. "NHD has been a wonderful experience and we hope to do it again."
Posted at 10:59 PM
Grand Ballroom Before Exhibits
An empty Grand Ballroom
as students begin to arrive.
Posted at 11:00 PM
Button Tracking at Opening Ceremony
Junior division students
track their button finds.
Posted at 11:01 PM
Anneka, Junior Individual Performance, Grantsburg
Anneka meets with
the Director of the
National Park Service.
Posted at 11:40 PM