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Looking for a lesson plan, a general overview of Washington State history, or ways to teach with objects? We’ve got it, and we’ll be adding more.

Curriculum updates

Some of WSHS’s former curriculum modules are being updated, and will be reposted soon. To accommodate teachers and students who have been using those units for some time, a limited number of lesson plans are available for download in the Lesson Plans section of this page (scroll down).

For additional resources, we encourage you to check out the archives for the WSHS quarterly history journal, Columbia Magazine. You’ll find excellent articles associated with topics in our curriculum modules (e.g. Lewis and Clark, women’s suffrage, Chief Leschi, railroads).

For more information, contact the Education Department at 253-798-5879.

Printable Exhibitions

Tacoma’s Struggle for Civil Rights

This exhibition is an updated version of a project created in association with the Tacoma Civil Rights Project. It is written for middle school aged readers, but appropriate for many different audiences.

Washington Women Led the Way

Developed to acknowledge the National Women’s Suffrage Centennial, this panel exhibition explores women fighting for and winning the right to vote in Washington State. Follow the link to request the printable exhibition for download.

Curriculum Units

In this section, you will find the stories of Washington and its connections to the world. Offerings range from complete curriculum units to individual lesson plans and student activities. Our units provide both background materials on specific historical subjects and standards-based projects and assessments.

Browse the current selection of units below.

Remembrance 1
Curriculum Unit - Challenging History

REMEMBRANCE: The Legacy of Executive Order 9066 in Washington State

President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 authorizing the incarceration of individuals of Japanese ancestry who were living along the Pacific Coast. These individuals were sent to in inland concentration camps. For decades prior, Japanese immigrants had settled throughout Washington State, where they cultivated farms, built stores and businesses, established language schools, founded professional and social clubs, and raised families. The rippling effects of the War Relocation Authority’s forced upheaval of 120,000 individuals continue to impact survivors and descendants today. Explore this complex history through primary sources including oral histories, artifacts, and ephemera.

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Curriculum 2
Curriculum Unit

Women's Suffrage in Washington State

Women in Washington gained the right to vote in 1910, and women nationwide gained that right in 1920. In honor of these anniversaries, the Washington State Historical Society created curriculum to share the story of this struggle with students. The fight for women’s suffrage in Washington State is a unique story that explores themes of voting rights and social movements for change.

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Curriculum 7
Curriculum Unit

Cultivating Washington: The History of Our State's Food, Land, and People

HistoryLink, the Washington State Historical Society, digital studio North by Northwest, and digital-learning company Vivayic have teamed with Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop Cultivating Washington, a project that shares the rich history of Washington agriculture with a new generation of students. Cultivating Washington: The History of Our State’s Food, Land, and People is hosted on Moodle via the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The curriculum units have been developed to tell the story of the history of agriculture in Washington state, with special focus on Native Americans, immigrants, globalization, trade, and technology. Each lesson is introduced by a video, and features first-person primary source materials.

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Lewis & Clark in Columbia River Country 2
Curriculum Unit

Lewis and Clark in Columbia River Country

Travel through Washington with the Corps of Discovery, exploring such topics as the context for exploration, communication, and tribal cultures. Includes original illustrations by artist Roger Cooke.

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Curriculum 1
Curriculum Unit

The Treaty Trail: U.S.-Indian Treaties in the Pacific Northwest

Examine treaty negotiations in early Washington Territory, following in the footsteps of governor Isaac Stevens, artist Gustav Sohon, and the Native peoples who were displaced in the process.

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Curriculum
Curriculum Unit

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

In May 1882, Congress, responding to pressure from unions, passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. This treaty with the Chinese Government banned Chinese emigrants from entering America and called for the deportation of anyone of Chinese ancestry who arrived after 1880. Learn more about this Act and its impact on Washington in this curriculum unit.

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Lesson Plans

The following section will help you find particular lessons faster by presenting them in Elementary, Middle, and High School groupings that list topics covered and applicable standards.

Elementary Lesson Plans

Remembrance - The Legacy of Executive Order 9066 in Washington State

Topics covered:

  • Japanese American incarceration
  • Character development
  • Object analysis
  • Comparing historical sources

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Civics
  • Listening
Download Lesson Plan

The Treaty Trail: Native Life Before Treaties

Topics covered:

  • Native American Cultures
  • U.S.-Indian Treaties

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Geography
Download Lesson Plan

The Treaty Trail: Cause & Effect

Topics covered:

  • Native American Cultures
  • U.S.-Indian Treaties
  • Biography

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Geography
  • Arts
  • CBA: Causes of Conflict
Download Lesson Plan

Leschi, Justice in Our Time: Listening for Leschi - Voices from the Past

Topics covered:

  • Native American Cultures
  • U.S.-Indian Treaties
  • Biography
  • Oral Histories

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Communication
  • Writing
  • CBA: Dig Deep
Download Lesson Plan

The West the Railroads Made: The Time Machine

Topics covered:

  • Transportation
  • Railroads
  • Time

Standards met:

  • History
  • Social studies
  • Science
  • CBA: What’s the Big Idea?
Download Lesson Plan

The Treaty Trail: Understanding Treaties (I)

Topics covered:

  • Native American Cultures
  • U.S.-Indian Treaties
  • 20th-Century Civil Rights

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Geography
Download Lesson Plan

The Journey of Catharine Paine Blaine (I)

Topics covered:

  • Westward migration
  • Missionaries
  • 20th-Century Civil Rights
  • Women’s suffrage

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Geography
  • Civics
Download Lesson Plan

Middle School Lesson Plans

Remembrance - The Legacy of Executive Order 9066 in Washington State

Topics covered:

  • Japanese American incarceration
  • Non-violent direct action
  • Cause and effect

Standards met:

  • Civics
  • History
  • Reading
  • Listening
See Lessons

Lewis and Clark in Columbia River Country: Math of the Path

Topics covered:

  • Lewis & Clark
  • Exploration
  • Navigation

Standards met:

  • Mathematics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Reading
  • Science
Download Lesson Plan

The Treaty Trail: Examining Artifacts of Encounter

Topics covered:

  • Native American Cultures
  • U.S.-Indian Treaties
  • Trade
  • Exploration

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Geography
  • CBA: Dig Deep
Download Lesson Plan

The Treaty Trail: The Journey

Topics covered:

  • Native American Culture
  • U.S.-Indian Treaties

Standards met:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Reading
  • Arts
  • Social studies skills
Download Lesson Plan

The Journey of Catharine Paine Blaine (II)

Topics covered:

  • Westward migration
  • Missionaries
  • 20th-Century Civil Rights
  • Women’s suffrage

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Geography
  • Civics
Download Lesson Plan

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Topics covered:

  • Chinese expulsion
  • Immigration
  • Railroads

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Civics
See Lessons

High School Lesson Plans

Remembrance - The Legacy of Executive Order 9066 in Washington State

Topics covered:

  • Japanese American incarceration
  • Non-violent direct action
  • Cause and effect

Standards met:

  • Civics
  • History
  • Reading
  • Listening
See Lessons

Lewis and Clark in Columbia River Country: Forensic Examination of Artifacts

Topics covered:

  • Lewis & Clark
  • Exploration
  • Forensic Science
  • Crime Scene Investigation

Standards met:

  • History
  • Science
  • CBA: Dig Deep
Download Lesson Plan

The Treaty Trail: Point of View

Topics covered:

  • Native American Culture
  • U.S.-Indian Treaties
  • Art

Standards met:

  • History
  • Arts
  • Social studies skills
  • CBA: Causes of Conflict
Download Lesson Plan

The Treaty Trail: Understanding Treaties (II)

Topics covered:

  • Native American Cultures
  • U.S.-Indian Treaties
  • 20th-Century Civil Rights

Standards met:

  • History
  • Civics
  • Social studies
  • CBA: Constitutional Issues
Download Lesson Plan

The Journey of Catharine Paine Blaine (II)

Topics covered:

  • Westward migration
  • Missionaries
  • 20th-Century Civil Rights
  • Women’s suffrage

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Geography
  • Civics
Download Lesson Plan

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Topics covered:

  • Chinese expulsion
  • Immigration
  • Railroads

Standards met:

  • History
  • Reading
  • Civics
See Lessons