Using the NHD Volcano Form to Find a Topic

As we begin the process of selecting a topic, the first step is making sure it’s EXPLOSIVE! We used this sheet, courtesy of the folks at National History Day, to evaluate if a topic has identifiable leaders, change, and opposition. For a topic to fit the NHD theme and our class design, it has to run through this VOLCANO sheet. We want HOT TOPICS! EXPLOSIVE CHANGE! (kids love these terrible dad jokes)

Students used the Chicago History Museum’s Facing Freedom resources as a test run. Through this process, we realize not every topic results in a “complete” VOLCANO form. Sometimes, they leave us with more Historical Questions, which is exactly where a student historian is born. Questions are the lifeblood of this process, and a few blanks on this document might be okay if they’re replaced with Questions which drive further research.

For now, we’re “Topic Shopping” and trying to find a few things we’re really interested in (including those not on “the list”).  Three or four topics is a good start for this week.