- What makes a person or historical event an example of conflict or compromise?
- What is the best way to complete a research project?
George Washington crossing the Delaware River
Through completion of a historical research project like National History Day, students engage in an independent investigation and interpretation of historical topics related to an annual theme. In the process, they master the basic research skills and produce creative and scholarly projects in the form of exhibits, documentaries, historical papers, or performances.
During the 2007-2008 school year, National History Day invites students to research topics related to the theme Conflict & Compromise in History. As is the case each year, the theme is broad enough to encourage investigation of topics ranging from local to world history, and from ancient times to the recent past. To understand the historical importance of their topics, students need to ask questions about time, place, and context; cause and effect; changeover time; and impact and significance. They ought to consider not only when and where events happened, but also why they occurred, what factors contributed to their development, and what effects they had on broader history. In other words, historical research projects should go beyond mere description to include analysis of information and conclusions about how the topic influenced and was influenced by other people, ideas, and events.
Delaware Social Studies Standards
Integrated in the Instructional Strategies
History Standard Two 6-8a: Students will master the basic research skills necessary to conduct an independent investigation of historical phenomena.Instructional Strategies
Gathering Information: 4-Fold Activity
Have students work in groups of 3-4.
Each group should fold a large piece of paper in half twice, and then bend down the upper left corner. When the paper is opened, the creases in the paper have created four rectangular quadrants and a diamond-shaped area in the center, as illustrated below.
- Have students write "conflict" in the center of the diamond.
- For two minutes, each group should list words and/or examples of conflict that come to mind.
- Each group should next rank the top 3 words or examples of conflict to share with the class.
- Finally, have each group complete the Analogy section and create an Illustration that matches the analogy to share with the class.
Check for UnderstandingHave each group replicate Strategy 1 after writing "compromise" into the center diamond.
Extending and Refining: Thinking about the Theme
Take the collection of ideas that the students generated in Strategy 1 and complete the graphic organizer with the whole class on the overhead or board. Generate more ideas with a class discussion about potential topics that fit the theme. Teachers might have to remind students that the theme includes the words "…in history." In general, to guarantee a sufficient quantity of source material, selected research topics should be at least twenty years in the past.
Ask students to consider the the consequences of inaction:
Are there historical events that you can think of in which someone didn't do something and it proved to be an historically significant conflict or compromise? Is not making a decision a decision in itself?
Add the ideas generated by this discussion to the graphic organizer.
Check for Understanding
- What makes a person or historical event an example of a conflict or a compromise?
- Is it important to consider how an event came to be known as a conflict or a compromise in addition to why?
Students in groups should construct a brief role–play or simulation that would demonstrate understanding of the NHD theme by answering the questions below. Students might construct a situation or event from their own perspective, or use topics suggested above to generate a historical perspective.
- What does it mean to be triumphant or tragic?
- Is an event considered triumphant or tragic at the time in which it takes place or does it require time to pass?
- Are there situations where a person or event can be both triumphant and tragic?