History Day 2023

Regional History Day: March 10, 2023

Big picture
History Day is a project-based learning program of the Historical Society of Michigan. This yearlong educational program encourages students to explore local, state, national, and world history.

After selecting a historical topic that relates to the annual theme, students conduct extensive research by using libraries, archives, museums, and oral history interviews. They analyze and interpret their findings, draw conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, and create final projects in one of five categories: paper, exhibit, documentary, website, or performance.

These projects can be entered into a series of competitions, from the local to the national level. Local competitions start at the school-level in February. Regional competitions take place within eleven districts in March. Regional History Day for Chippewa, Luce, & Mackinac County is March 10, 2023. The state finals for Michigan History Day take place the last Saturday of April.

At the school, regional, and state level - third through 12th grade students are invited to participate. The national level contest invites students in 6th-12th grade.

The theme for History Day 2023 is: Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.

A note on timelines: This sample timeline includes important benchmarks and skill building activities in the process. These activities may be part of your general classroom instruction (e.g. - primary vs. secondary sources). The timeline is a suggestion - you can move at the pace that best fits your classroom needs.

Part 1 - Introducing History Day


  1. Introduce History Day Project & Theme
  2. Define Classroom Expectations & Deadlines

Discussion Points:

  • Discuss project deadlines and grade expectations.
  • Discuss group options and merits of group/individual projects.
  • Set any topic, category, or group size limitations for your class.
  • Send parent letter about program, deadlines, competitions, and parent roles.


Please note - the resources shared above come from the Minnesota Historical Society. These resources align with Michigan History Day needs and can be edited to reflect our school districts & contest.

Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas (2023 Theme Video)
Frontiers in History: A Teacher's Introduction (2023 Theme)

Project Idea Resources

Part 2 - Topic Selection


  • Students finalize their topic.
  • Develop Research Skills
  • Develop Organizational Skills
  • Begin Background Reading/Secondary Sources Search

Discussion Points/Task Progression:
  • Brainstorm potential topics and discuss good and bad topics for the theme. Work through several examples as a class. Share the topic selection funnel.
  • Students select their general topics. Encourage students to go brainstorm beyond their first ideas.
  • Introduce the concepts of primary and secondary sources. Share samples related to relevant course content. Discuss various research resources and methods (online, library, archives, etc.).
  • Students develop research questions for their project.
  • Share potential research organization methods. Discuss citation formats, bibliographies, and footnotes.
  • Have students identify an organizational system for their history day project.
  • Discuss ideas of historical context.
  • Begin research with secondary sources.


Part 3 - Drafting Projects


  • Students more fully outline argument
  • Project draft - students will work with general ideas of outlining and supporting arguments with evidence to draft or outline their project.
  • Students will begin project construction
  • Students will continue to research to fill in any holes in support of argument or project.
  • By the end of December, students will complete the project and associated paperwork (including bibliography & process paper).

Discussion Points/Task Progression:

  • Discuss use of verbal, written, and visual communication ideas.
  • Giving & receiving feedback on the project - peer-to-peer and teacher-student.


Part 4 - Finishing Projects + Local Fairs

Teacher Registration & ZFairs:

  • Following the School Contest, teachers will register their students in the ZFairs system. More information on this process coming soon.


  • Students will complete their projects and compete in the school contest.

Discussion Points/Task Progression:

  • Following school competition, students will need to register in ZFairs and submit all materials to ZFairs system.
  • January 3, 2023: Student registration opens
  • February 20, 2023: Student Registration Closes
  • February 27, 2023: ALL MATERIALS need to be uploaded to ZFairs


  • ZFairs Tutorial (for teachers) - coming soon


Attend Regional History Day Contest: March 10, 2023

Details coming in early January!


Student Honors & Prizes - Regional History Day

Michigan History Day:

Select projects will be recommended to advance to the Michigan History Day contest! Students will have the opportunity to refine their projects based on Regional History Day feedback and compete at a state level.

The Susan Schacher Award:

$100 will be awarded to a Regional History Day participant who demonstrates attention to historical accuracy, knowledge of historical significance, understanding of the importance of others and their values and beliefs, and creative incorporation of Michigan’s unique history. This award also includes a plaque in the River of History Museum. Students who complete a documentary for their project have the opportunity for their video to be displayed in the museum and on the museum's YouTube page.

Prize Drawing:

Local businesses and organizations donate a variety of prizes for the History Day Event. Past prizes have include mini-golf passes, restaurant gift cards, ferry tickets to Mackinac Island, and more! All participating students will be entered into the prize drawing. Prizes are randomly selected and do not reflect how students "place" in the regional contest.


Helen Craig

Social Studies Curriculum Consultant

Regional School Health Coordinator

McKinney-Vento UPCED Facilitator

Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD