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National History Day

National History Day 2024: Turning Points in History

"A turning point in history is more than just an important event that happened a long time ago. It is more than a new idea or a particular action taken by an individual. A turning point is an idea, event, or action that directly, or sometimes indirectly, causes change." - National History Day® (NHD)

During the 2023–2024 school year, National History Day® (NHD) invites students to research topics related to the theme, Turning Points in History. This theme is broad enough in scope to encourage the investigation of topics ranging from local to global history. Throughout the school year, students develop essential skills by fostering intellectual curiosity and thinking both critically and creatively.

To understand the historical importance of their topics, students must ask questions of time and place, cause and effect, change over time, and impact and significance.

  • What factors contributed to the turning point?
  • Why did the turning point develop? How did it create change?
  • What were the immediate and long-term consequences?
  • What impact did the turning point have on the people who experienced it? How did they, in turn, affect it?

Inspire Student Research

Use this series of videos featuring Filmmaker Stanley Nelson to support students on the research journey that is unique to their project. Students will explore the “story behind the story” as Stanley Nelson describes how he engaged in critical thinking, problem-solving, and historical research to tell the stories of two of our nation’s greatest freedom fighters, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.