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About NHD in SD

What is National History Day®?

NHD in SD students cheering for SD at the NHD Opening Ceremony State Roll Call

National History Day is a year-long academic program focused on historical research, interpretation, and creative expression for 6th- to 12th-grade students through project based learning. The program promotes a love of research and history, as well as the development of critical thinking, writing, and research skills.

Is it a Curriculum or a Contest?

BOTH! NHD® is a project based learning curriculum, but it also has an accompanying/optional competition component which allows students to present and compete their research to professional judges at the school, region, state, and national level.

How much does it cost?

To participate in National History Day in South Dakota, Schools pay a membership fee of $45.00 ($35 prior to Oct. 31), and Individuals or Homeschool families pay $25.50 ($17.50 prior to Oct. 31). The membership covers all the school's participating teachers for the academic year. The membership provides access to competitions, and free resources including the NHD Theme Book and Rule Book.

Join NHD in SD

NHD in SD also has a FREE monthly E-newsletter that is sent out to anyone in the state who wishes to stay informed about NHD in SD. This newsletter includes program updates, helpful classroom resources, recommended scholarly publications, etc.

Newsletter Sign-up

NHD in SD Judges speaking with a student about her exhibit board titled, "The Great Trade War.

How do students choose a project?

Student's have the freedom to choose between the following project types: research paper, documentary, website , performance, or exhibit. Students may create either an individual or group project, with the exclusion of the paper category which is individual only. Students are allowed to pick a historical topic of their choice, as long as it relates back to the NHD yearly theme. This freedom of topic choice gives students the opportunity to explore history through their own interests, and often gives them a voice to share their personal interests, histories, and cultures with an audience. The 2023 NHD theme is Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas. To explore South Dakota historical topics connected to this year's theme check out the NHD In South Dakota Theme Topic Explorer. This resource is provided by NHD in SD to inspire student's historical research pursuits, and to get them to see connections between the theme and their state's rich history.

What are some NHD's Benefits?

  • NHD promotes critical thinking, writing, and research skills which boost academic performance across multiple subject areas and promote college- and career readiness skills.
  • An independent study from 2011 found that participation in the National History Day Contest benefits students far beyond the competition, with NHD students outperforming their non NHD peers on state standardized tests in multiple subjects.
  • More information on why NHD works.

How does the NHD in SD Program work?

NHD in SD Student's posing with their exhibit board titled 'The Fence Cutting Wars.""

In South Dakota the contest component is divided between the Region, State, and the National Level. South Dakota is made up of 4 region contests divided geographically across the state. While the State program does not run school level contests , we do have many schools who choose to hold their own local contests to narrow down the level of student projects they send to compete at the regional contests.

Students who place 1st or 2nd at state are invited to attend at their own cost the National NHD Competition as a member of Team South Dakota. The National contest takes place at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. Students represent their respected state or country competing against all 50 states and 8 other nations. Students at the National contest also have the opportunity to explore the D.C. area, as NHD Partners with numerous D.C museums and attractions, for example the Smithsonian, which often allows students the opportunity to tour, visit, and even present their work at their institutions.

NHD in SD logo, Agricultural Heritage Museum logo, and NHD logo