Social Studies

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What is National History Day (NHD)?

Each year more than half a million students worldwide in grades 6-12 participate in NHD. Students choose a historical topic related to the annual theme, and then conduct primary and secondary research. Students research using libraries, archives and museums, they conduct oral history interviews, and visit historic sites. After they have analyzed and interpreted their sources, and have drawn a conclusion about the significance of their topic, they will then be able to present their work in one of five ways: as a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary, or a website.

National History Day motivates students to discover history by:

  • Cultivating interest: students research a topic of their choice
  • Developing research skills: students act as historians discovering how to uncover primary sources, build historical context and form historical interpretations
  • Becoming experts on their research topic: presenting their research to teachers, students, and historians
  • Achieving success: The shy student gains confidence when speaking about a topic he/she has researched, The apathetic student gains passion by choosing a topic of personal interest, and The high achieving student increases his/her ability to articulate learning through presentation.

See student product examples at:

For more information vist NHD at and Texas State Historical Information (TSHA) at

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Click link below to watch the pre-recorded webinar introducing the 2016 Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History Webinar Hosted by National History Day, National Archives and Records Administration, and the White House Historical Association.
Schooltube video source:

NHD clip art and theme logo are registered trademarks of National History Day.

Second Six Weeks Unit Overview for 8th Grade Social Studies-US History to 1877

During the second six weeks, students in US History to 1877 will learn about the events and individuals associated with the movement for American independence from colonial Britain, and the adoption and principles of the United States Constitution.

Unit 3 Overview

American Independence-Restlessness to Rebellion 1763-1783

In this unit, student address events and individuals associated with the movement for American independence from colonial Britain. Students analyze the causes of the American Revolution and the contributions made by significant individuals during the revolutionary era. Students evaluate the varying points of view the colonists held in regards to declaring independence as well as analyzing the Declaration of Independence and studying the course of the revolutionary war.


boycott – refusal to buy something as a form of protest
taxation – process of collecting money from citizens in order to fund government expenses
political revolution – changing from one governmental structure to another
Patriots – American colonists who supported independence from Great Britain
Loyalists – American colonists who did not support independence from Great Britain
civil disobedience – refusal to obey laws as a form of protest
grievance – a complaint

Unit 4 Overview

The adoption of the United States Constitution and the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

In this unit students examine the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation along with the issues, debate, and compromises that emerged during the Constitutional Convention. Additionally students examining examples of how the U.S. Constitution reflects the seven constitutional principles and addresses colonial grievances as well as the process for amending the Constitution.


confederation – an alliance of states created for a common purpose
compromise – an agreement between opposing parties
constitution – document outlining the fundamental principles and structures of a government
ratification – approval of a document or policy
amendment – an addition to a document
sovereignty – independent power
federalism – political system in which power is shared between a national centralized government and a collection of smaller state governments

Second Six Weeks Unit Overview for High School US History since 1877

During the second six weeks, students in high school US History since 1877 will learn about the development of the reform movement of the Progressive Era, and the rise of the United States into the position of a world power at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Unit 3 Overview

Reforming America – the Progressive Era 1898-1920

In this unit, students learn about how reform leaders, referred to as “progressives,” tried to bring about social and political change at the local, state, and national level. Students not only study the reforms that were made during the Progressive Era, but also examine the changing relationship between business and government and the increase in political participation that both characterized this time period.


muckraker – term used to describe early a twentieth century journalist who worked to expose corruption and abuses in politics and society
reform – making changes to address abuses or injustices
progressives – refers to those who advocate making reforms to the social and political status quo
suffrage – the right to vote
recall – political procedure used to remove elected officials from office prior to the end of their term
referendum – political procedure in which the elector votes directly on a legislative measure
initiative – political procedure where votes can propose a legislative measure directly for a popular vote

Unit 4 Overview

Emergence as a World Power – Spanish-American and First World War 1898-1920

In this unit students examine early twentieth century foreign policy in the United States, including the decision to partake in the Spanish-American War, increasing global economic participation on the part of the United States, movements toward expansionism, and involvement in the First World War.


expansionism – practice of annexing new territory
foreign policy – actions that relate to the relationships between nations
domestic policy – actions that relate to conditions within a nation
diplomacy – the practice of conducting negotiations between nations
isolationism – policy to remain free from relationships with other nations
annexation – the act of taking in new territory

Clip art source for progressive era artwork is from an undated William Jennings Bryan campaign print, “Shall the People Rule?” Library of Congress. Image found on
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Delve into history with activities that will make history come alive for your child

Social Studies Activities:



Source: The Bullock Museum

Kids clip art: Karen's Kids