200 Years of State History on $0.00 (in useful materials) a Day!
July 17, 2008 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I need lesson plan ideas for Washington State History. It's a summer school class with three weeks left, three hours per day... and a number of odd and annoying constraints. Suggestions?

The kids are generally pretty good, but I have a mixed bag of age and ability. I have some chatty 8th graders who are being allowed to knock out a high school class early. The rest are high schoolers who need the credit.

The textbook is decent, but I have only 9 chapters left to go with three of the five weeks of class remaining.

I have a couple of random workbooks & textbooks from different editions for additional materials. Nothing really matches.

I can't do movies. I showed ONE, and the district assumed that was all I intended to do for the rest of the term. So movies are on a short list.

No field trips. Wanted to do Seattle Underground, was told it's just not in the cards.

The school library is closed. I'm trying to get into contact with the nearby public library to set up some research time.

The school's computer lab is occupied. I can work out time in the room, but not constantly, so sending kids in there for research projects is a little dodgy.

Tried loading up "Oregon Trail II" in the computer lab, but apparently my copies aren't all that good. Maybe it's just my CD burner? I have two original copies of the game (purchased), but I'd need like 12 to go around even if I paired everyone up.

My building admin has been generally supportive & understanding, but I think they keep getting a new constraint loaded on them from "upstairs" every other day...

Any thoughts, Mefites?
posted by scaryblackdeath to Education (10 answers total)
I'm sure there are local historical interpreters, or re-enactors. Find a local group and give them a call, someone will come out and talk, it's what they live for.
posted by piedmont at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2008

Something to do with the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial? Here is the section of the main national site devoted to lesson plans, with your age group included.
posted by Roach at 2:31 PM on July 17, 2008

How about giving them a project using information they can get out of the book? Liiiike... make a game based on the book/important characters or places in Washington's history/big events in Washington's history? Or maybe assign groups and have each present the last chapters in a (fun) way of their choosing?
posted by alpha_betty at 2:32 PM on July 17, 2008

Also, the history of the Hanford Site in the Columbia Basin is pretty fascinating.
posted by Roach at 2:35 PM on July 17, 2008

Have you checked out what the Washington State History Museum can do for you?
posted by milkrate at 2:45 PM on July 17, 2008

San Juan Island had the Pig War in 1859.

I'm sure they'd love to know something about that. (It's the only thing I remember from my Washington State History class. I didn't care that I was failing because I was moving to Florida.)
posted by bilabial at 3:03 PM on July 17, 2008

Along the same lines of piedmont's suggestion, you could invite a state legislator to talk about... something. Hopefully one of the ones living nearby would have something interesting to say about their favorite state historical event.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 3:20 PM on July 17, 2008

2nd-ing the Washington State History Museum.

I still remember my Washington State History class from 9th grade. I loved it! I thought the sections on the native tribes were most interesting.

Maybe start with what the kids know about the tribes currently? How many have been to the Puyallup reservation for fireworks? The Tillicum village tour? can you have someone from one of the tribes come give a talk?

That's a lot of question marks in one paragraph. But it's one of the few Junior High classes I remember fondly.
posted by InfinateJane at 3:22 PM on July 17, 2008

I just read the Wikipedia page about the Pig War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_War). You should seriously talk about the Pig War.
posted by Nelsormensch at 3:44 PM on July 17, 2008

Second the suggestion of native history. Whether that's ongoing legal ramifications of the treaties, or memories of the Catholic-run schools, or (would be way cool) if you could find someone who speaks passable Chinook Jargon and get a lesson or two (it's a contact language/lingua franca, not one of those mind-blowingly specialized tribal languages) and a rundown of what the local placenames mean.

What was the nearest flare-up in the history of labor relations? I mean things like the Everett and Centralia Massacres, obviously, not your run-of-the-mill strike. (But basic rules: (a) Epic strikes are OK. (b) Garbage strikes are always epic.) Seriously, anyone who gets through Washington State History and isn't at least temporarily a little pinko was not paying attention and probably should have failed.

How about constitutional issues? Washington's peculiar enthusiasm for public votes has historical roots I'm sure you know. If a state constitution were being written today, what would it be like? Get them in groups and have them draft one; make sure they know that it does have to be a constitution that Washingtonians will buy. Or make sure they understand the legal basis of the current state constitution and politics by simulating it: Party caucuses (assign arbitrary parties if necessary), representative government, initiative, recall, expensive recounts in the gubernatorial election, act out the whole deal.

Ah, memories of ninth grade. My history teacher lived on San Juan Island (summers and holidays, anyway) and spent a lot of time on the Pig War.
posted by eritain at 3:29 AM on July 18, 2008

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