Tacoma Narrows Bridge Lesson Plans
Pacific Northwest History - Immigration
Imagine you are Hawaiian, German, Scandinavian, Jewish, Canadian,
English, Irish or Chinese living in your native country some time
between 1850 and 1900. You decide to immigrate to the Pacific Northwest.
After researching the history of your ethnic group in the Pacific
Northwest, write a narrative in the form of a journal, letters,
autobiography, obituary, short story or other format.
As a result of this lesson, students will be able
- List the immigrant groups that migrated west, explain why they
came and what they did upon arrival;
- Explain the importance of geography on the development of the
- Discuss the different modes of travel available to early settlers
Time: 5 days or class periods, including
two days research, two days preparing project, and one day to share
findings with other students.
- 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.
- When did different immigrant groups arrive in America?
- What types of economic and social changes encouraged immigration?
- What regions or cities were most impacted by different ethnic
- How travel across and around the west change?
- What were the major travel routes in the Pacific Northwest?
Have the routes changed over time and why?
2. Ask students to
prepare a presentation explaining what they learned. They
should also create a map showing the journey of their immigrant
3. Put students in groups of four, representing
different ethnic groups and have them share their findings with
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:
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.
- 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
- 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.