Washington Social Studies

This group, curated by OSPI, contains resources created by and for educators - including instructional materials, review rubrics, and other useful links.
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All resources in Washington Social Studies

Civics Course Resources

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In Washington, a stand-alone high school civics course is required by a new state law. A statewide sub-committee of OSPI's Social Studies Cadre and Walter Parker, Professor of Social Studies Education, University of Washington, drafted this list of resources in hopes that it will be useful to schools needing to create such a course or update an existing course. It is a work-in-progress.

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy

Authors: Barbara Soots, Walter Parker

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework

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Representatives from a group of state education agencies and from the leading organizations in social studies and its individual disciplines collaborated to create a Framework to provide states with voluntary guidance for upgrading existing social studies standards. This Framework does not include all that can or should be included in a set of robust social studies standards, and intentionally preserves the critical choices around the selection of curricular content taught at each grade level as a decision best made by each state. The Framework aims to support states in creating standards that prepare young people for effective and successful participation in college, careers, and civic life.

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy

Authors: et al., Kathy Swan

Washington Quality Review Rubric for Social Studies Lessons and Units (EQuIP format)

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Use this tool to assess and further develop social studies lessons and units for: • Overall quality • Alignment to Washington State K-12 Social Studies Learning Standards • Alignment to Washington State ELA and Literacy in History/Social Studies Standards • Integration of curriculum with the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Barbara Soots

The Constitution and Government of Washington State

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An integrated language arts and social studies unit designed to develop student’s literacy skills while giving them an understanding of the general purpose of government, the structure and processes of Washington’s state government, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The unit culminates with an optional mock legislature simulation that has students write and argue for a bill.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Author: Ryan Theodoriches

Loyalty or opposition: What is more important for citizenship?

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This inquiry takes students through a consideration of what the duties of citizenship are. Students consider current controversies about behavior during the national anthem, historical reasons behind revolutionary and loyalist perspectives during the revolutionary era, and by applying learning to answer how loyalty and opposition play a part in actions of engaged citizens. This inquiry is designed to take about five 50 minute class periods, with additional time allowed for extensions and/or teacher discretion. This inquiry would fit in a unit studying the American Revolution. Materials should be adapted to meet the needs of students on Individual Education Plans, 504 Plans, or who are English Language Learners.

Material Type: Lesson, Unit of Study

Authors: Joshua Parker, North Thurston School District

Road to Revolution: What could cause the colonists to revolt?

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The students will identify and select two primary source documents from a valid source. Students will look for multiple points of view on their topic and print a copy of each. Next, as a group the students will highlight the two sources then reflect. They will then do the Newspaper activity illustrating both points of view they learned from the their sources that BEST reflect what really happened.. Follow up activity, each team chooses the Newspaper showing the best evidence of the event and as a group will come up and teach their “Intolerable Act” as the experts, to the class answering the question as to “Why this would cause the colonists to revolt?”

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study

Authors: Amy Johnson, Longview Public Schools

Grade 8 - Differentiate between Fact and Assumption

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Compelling Question: How can words lead to conflict? This inquiry provides students with the opportunity to analyze, through the evaluation of words, how conflicts between the U.S. government and Native American tribes arose. Students will be asked to investigate federal reports, speeches, and news reports to discern U.S. leaders’ perspectives and compare these biases to the words of Native American leaders Chief Red Eagle and Chief Tecumseh. This query is meant to challenge students to analyze the meaning of words and evaluate how these words said can cause conflict through three events: Andrew Jackson’s involvement in the War of 1812 and his presidency, the Sioux Ghost Dance, and Georgia v. Worcester. Students must also be able to think critically from Native American Chiefs’ perspectives to be able to accurately comprehend the power behind the U.S.’s conflicting words. The final summative assessment asks students to write an argument using evidence and a counterargument addressing how words lead to conflict.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan, Unit of Study

Authors: Cynthia Yurosko, Evergreen Public Schools

Puyallup Civics with Washington State History

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This standalone Civics course was developed by educators in Puyallup School DIstrict in Washington state. Civics is the study of our national government, constitution, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Topics include democracy and other forms of government; legislative, executive, and judicial functions; the political process; and foreign and domestic policies. It also includes a summary of Washington State History and local native sovereignty.

Material Type: Full Course, Lesson, Unit of Study

Authors: Barbara Soots, Tracy Pitzer

Human Geography: An open textbook for Advanced Placement Published

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Human Geography: An open textbook for Advanced Placement is aligned to the 2015  College Board course articulation for AP Human Geography. The purpose of  AP Human Geography is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth's surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Tracy Pitzer

How great was the Great Migration? Published

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The goal of this inquiry is for students to gain an informed, critical perspective on the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North and West from 1915-1970.  By investigating the movement, including the injustice of Jim Crow in the South, and the racism migrants continued to face in the North and West, students will examine how the migration changed the social fabric of the United States.  Through taking a critical look at the documents, students should understand the extent to which this movement was “great,” and determine if the title Great Migration is fitting. 

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Sue Metzler

Should Columbus Day Be Celebrated in the United States?

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This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the decision by the federal government of the United States to honor Christopher Columbus with a federal holiday as well as efforts to challenge the view that Columbus should be revered as a national hero. The compelling question “Should Columbus Day Be Celebrated?” asks students to identify and weigh evidence from multiple primary and secondary sources. This inquiry delves into a question that educated and informed scholars have disagreed on for decades.

Material Type: Lesson, Unit of Study

Authors: Evergreen Public Schools, Ryan Theodoriches

Food & Culture of Pacific Northwest Natives

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This online lesson provides perspectives from Native American community members, images, objects, and other sources to help students and teachers understand the efforts of Native Nations of the Pacific Northwest to protect and sustain salmon, water, and homelands. Scroll to begin an exploration of the Pacific Northwest history and cultures.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study

Author: Native Knowledge 360

The Fish Wars: What Kinds of Actions Can Lead to Justice

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This online lesson provides perspectives from Native American community members and their supporters, images, news footage, an interactive timeline, and other sources about an important campaign to secure the treaty rights and sovereignty of Native Nations of the Pacific Northwest. Scroll to begin an exploration of the actions Native Nations took to address injustices.

Material Type: Lesson, Module

Author: Native Knowledge 360

Washington State History, Unit 1, 4th Grade

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Unit 1: Exploring the Pacific Northwest Prior to Statehood This unit of study is comprised of four modules that are designed to help students deeply know and understand content while practicing essential reading, writing, and communication skills. Module 1. Geography and Tribal Sovereignty Module 2. Spokane Tribal History Module 3. Fur Trappers and Explorers Module 4. Westward Expansion

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Data Set, Diagram/Illustration, Game, Homework/Assignment, Lesson, Lesson Plan, Module, Primary Source, Reading, Simulation, Student Guide, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study

Authors: Leslie Heffernan, Morgen Larsen

Territory and Treaty Making: A study of Tribes, Westward Expansion, and Conflict

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This unit is focused on the examination of a single topic, in this case, the Native Americans of the inland Northwest and conflict that arose when other non-native people started to settle in the northwest, and to specifically address the native populations that lived in the inland northwest. The materials were created to be one coherent arc of instruction focused on one topic. The module was designed to include teaching notes that signal the kind of planning and thinking such instruction requires: close reading with complex text, and specific instructional strategies or protocols are described that support students’ reading and writing with evidence are described in enough detail to make it very clear what is required of students and how to support students in doing this rigorous work. Materials include summative assessment of content and process, central texts, key resources, and protocols that support and facilitate student learning.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Author: Leslie Heffernan

3rd Grade History Unit: Geography & Cultures of North America

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The unit is focused on the examination of geography in terms of “place.” Students dive into inquiry to answer the compelling questions, “Where are we?” and “Who are we?” Through these two questions students will understand where they live and where people around the world live. Students will also dive into the term “culture” and define it through many characteristics. Students will examine and reflect upon their own culture and research different cultures of North America.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Authors: Leslie Heffernan, Morgen Larsen

Grade 5 - Plight of the Honey Bees

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Should governments do more to help save the honey bee? Good question. We need bees for the survival of seeds and a tremendous number of our fruits and vegetables, but we also need to protect the food supply from pests. Feeding a hungry world is a huge job; likewise, commercial farming and chemical pesticides are big business. However, the economic impact of bee devastation is already being felt throughout the world. For example, in parts of China, the government has told farmers to hand pollinate apples and pears. Colony Collapse Disorder is a global problem, and different governments are responding--but should governments do more? This unit of study combines Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards for Language Arts, and the C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards; additionally, this fits the "You Decide" OSPI-Designed Assessment (formerly know as the Classroom Based Assessment--CBA)

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study

Authors: Evergreen Public Schools, Karen Morley-Smith

Grade 3 - Environment & Native Americans

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This inquiry guides third graders to view the lifestyle and cultural development of Early Native Americans through the same lens of how lifestyles today have developed. While studying early Native Americans, students encounter vast differences between life today and life lived prior to the arrival of European settlers. Students will also begin to note that regardless of lifestyles, communities have the same basic needs to survive. Third graders are naturally curious as to how people lived and existed during these early centuries. The compelling question "How did environment influence the lifestyle of Early Native Americans?" encourages students to build on an understanding of how their own family and community functions as it relates to resources. It also asks them to draw comparisons between life today and life then. It allows for engagement with social studies, environmental science, and literacy.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study

Authors: Evergreen Public Schools, Kristina Labadie

Grade 5 - The Boston Massacre: What really happened on March 5th, 1770

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The students will highlight the two primary sources then reflect. They will then do the Open Mind activity illustrating both points of view they learned from the primary sources, develop a 3 event timeline and create a newspaper front page describing “What really happened March 5, 1770.”

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Primary Source, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Authors: Amy Johnson, Longview Public Schools