What is Vermont History Day?

six students holding ribbons and the Vermont History Day banner

Every April, hundreds of Vermont students share their learning at the annual Vermont History Day state contest. As students create these projects, they develop research and historical thinking skills. They explore content and gain life skills through project based learning and the study of history. Students who win at the state contest qualify for National History Day in June.

Each year, National History Day selects the annual theme. The 2021 theme is Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.

Vermont students in grades 5 through 12 and homeschool students ages 10 to 18 can compete in Vermont History Day. Students exercise their voice and choice by selecting a topic related to the annual theme and presenting their research as an exhibit, website, documentary, performance or paper. Working individually or in small groups (up to 5), students can explore a topic related to Vermont history, US history or world history. Vermont History Day is a great venue for personalized learning.

Students explore change, continuity and context as they conduct research online and in libraries, museums, and historical societies. Using evidence from primary sources and interviews with experts, students examine multiple perspectives and draw conclusions. At the state contest, students present their claims to local historians, educators, and other professionals who participate as judges. 

Through their work, students act as historians and become experts on a wide range of topics. With the guidance of teachers, students learn history by doing history.

After participating in the 2020 virtual Vermont History Day contest, over 50 students reflected on their learning:

  • 83% of students learned research skills
  • 69% of students practiced writing skills
  • 71% of students used organizational skills
  • 60% of students practiced persistence

In their own words, students reported the best part of Vermont History Day was:

  • Working with my partner on an interesting topic that kept us both engaged, and connecting our idea to the theme.
  • I really was looking forward to the day when we were supposed to gather for the history day, but once I finished my project, seeing what I was able to create and that final product of my work was the best part about this project.
  • Getting to research a topic I’ve been wanting to look into for some time now.
  • It was a lot of fun working with all my friends and we put a lot of work into it so it was really exciting to watch the finished project. Plus, we didn't expect to win, so that was a really nice surprise :)
  • The really good feeling of when you finish the project because you have been working on it hard, and winning an award.

You can be part of Vermont History Day!

For more information, contact Victoria at (802) 828-1413 or email victoria.hughes@vermonthistory.org 

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