Tacoma Narrows Bridge Lesson Plans
Pacific Northwest History - Natural Resources, Ports and Railroads
The economy of the Pacific Northwest has traditionally been resource-based.
The explosive growth of Northwest cities during the late 1800s and
early 1900s was fueled by the extraction of natural resources in
such industries as lumber, fishing, mining and agriculture.
As a result of this lesson, students will be able
1. Understand the importance of extractive resources on the development
of the Pacific Northwest;
2. Explain how the timber industry, fishing, mining and agriculture
shaped the growth of the Pacific Northwest;
3. Explain the importance of geography on the development of
the Pacific Northwest;
4. Understand why railroads were crucial to the growth of Pacific
Time: 5 days or class periods, including
two days research, two days preparing project, and one day to share
findings with other students.
Materials Needed: Textbooks and books
of other types for research, Internet access, white drawing paper,
colored markers and pencils, rulers, etc.
1. Count students off by fours and assign
each group an extractive resource: timber, fishing, mining, and
agriculture. Ask students to research the history of these resources
in the Pacific Northwest region. Have them answer the following
types of questions during the course of their research.
- Where does your resource come from?
- What does it consist of?
- How is it harvested or prepared for market?
- Who does the work?
- Where in the Northwest do the commodities produced from your
natural resource go for distribution to market?
- Where are the ultimate destinations of your commodities?
- How do they get there?
- What are the impacts of your natural resource on the Pacific
- What regions or cities were most impacted by your natural resource
and the commodities produced from it? Why?
- How did the railroads impact your natural resource and its extraction?
- What is the status of your natural resource today?
2. Ask students to prepare a presentation
explaining what they learned. They should also create a map showing
the journey of their extractive resource, from beginning to end.
3. Put students in groups of four, one
from each extractive resource group and have them share their findings
with one another.
4. Come back together in a large group
for further discussion of overarching themes and conclusions.
After the students have been working on their projects for a day
or two, bring them together in a large group and ask them to help
create a grading rubric. Ask them what attributes a top-quality
project might have, and list those attributes on an overhead projector
or white board. Possibilities might include:
- Contains strong historical content;
- Information is historically accurate;
- Includes clearly detailed illustration(s);
- Well crafted map, carefully drawn;
- Explains reasons explorers came to the West Coast of North America;
- Answers required questions regarding their resource;
- Well organized, neat, project has a professional appearance;
- Colorful and creative;
- Shows investment of time and effort;
- Displays strong presentation skills.
Evaluate each attribute on an appropriate scale based on your own
school's grading system, for example giving points or letter grades,
or ask students to evaluate the projects that they observe.