Congratulations! Your child is participating in Tennessee History Day, a curriculum and a competition, organized by the Tennessee Historical Society. Your child may be researching and constructing a project in an extracurricular club or as part of a classroom assignment. History Day projects require intense research over a number of months; some students work on theirs for an entire year.
The Tennessee History Day competition process is comprised of two to three levels: school, regional, and state. In addition, there is a national contest where winners at the state level compete. Questions regarding the classroom and school level should be directed to the teacher. If you have questions about the district/regional competition, ask the coordinator for your district or region. Questions about the state and national competition should be sent to the Tennessee History Day staff.
Here are some practical tips to help you navigate the History Day world.
- The History Day experience gives students tremendous opportunities to improve their communication, presentation, research, creativity, technology, project development, and teamwork skills. Competition and winning are less important than these life skills. Over 7250 students participate in Tennessee History Day; most of them do not win medals.
- Familiarize yourself with the project schedule and deadlines. Important dates for the regional, state, and national contests can be found here.
- Establish communication with your child’s teacher/coach. If your child is competing in the Group division, know the other students and the contact info for their families.
- Reinforce the short and long-term goals your child’s teacher sets for accomplishing the project.
- The regional, state, and national contests are open to the public. Many families turn a trip to the state contest into a fun weekend. If you suspect that your child may qualify for the state contest, make your hotel reservations now.
- You may be asked by your child or your child’s teacher to provide transportation to research sites (such as libraries, archives, museums, historic building) and to History Day competitions. Adults advisers can do things with History Day students, but not for them.
- You can assist with the operation of dangerous equipment, such as power tools, but only students are responsible for the design, construction, and presentation of projects. For more detailed information on assisting with student projects, see the Contest Rule Book.
- Family members can also help with transporting exhibits and props to the competition site. You may accompany the student to the door of the Exhibit Hall or Performance Hall with the project. The student must be able to carry and set up the exhibit, props, and background without adult assistance from that point. Adults are not permitted in the Exhibit Hall during set up on the day of competition. Only students may operate the equipment for Documentaries or Websites, unless a paid IT staff person is available. In some competition sites, only university or state employees may operate AV equipment.
- Help your child identify and eradicate plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined as the wrongful appropriation, close imitation, and publication of another author’s language, writing, thoughts, ideas, or creations without acknowledgement of that author. Plagiarism occurs when you claim someone else’s work for your own. All projects at the regional and state levels are vetted for plagiarism and violators are disqualified.
- Your child’s project will be evaluated by a team of judges at the regional, state, and national contests. Judges are volunteers, drawn from the local academic community. The judging process is subjective. The judges’ decision is final.