Barbara Soots, Washington OSPI OER Project, Leslie Heffernan, Jerry Price
History, U.S. History, Political Science
Material Type:
Lesson, Lesson Plan, Unit of Study
Middle School
  • League of Women Voters of Washington
  • Wa-social-studies
  • Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Washington State History
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    The State We're In: Washington - Teacher Guide Ch. 1: First People

    The State We're In: Washington - Teacher Guide Ch. 1: First People


    This is a Teacher's Guide for The State We're In Washington: Your guide to state, tribal and local government. These quides are developed by members of the Washington State Social Studies Cadre.

    Well before Washington was a state, tribes lived and thrived (and continue to thrive) on the land in communities and worked together for their common good. Chapter 1 focuses on how the first people of Washington governed themselves. 

    How the First People of Washington Governed Themselves

    General Overview

    Enduring Understanding

    People have lived on this land since time immemorial (for as long as can be remembered). Well before Washington was a state, tribes lived and thrived (and continue to thrive) on the land in communities worked together for their common good.

    Supporting Questions

    Students consider these questions - finding and using evidence to support the Enduring Understanding.

    • How does the land we live on tell the story of tribal sovereignty?

    Learning Targets

    Students will be able to…

    • Explain how tribes work together (and have always worked together) to meet their needs.
    • Analyze maps, informational, and narrative text to communicate understanding of tribal lands, culture, and customs.


    1. Launch
    2. Focused Notes
    3. Text-Dependent Questions
    4. Focused Inquiry

    Attribution and License


    This Teacher’s Guide for Chapter 1: The State We’re In Washington was developed by Leslie Heffernan, Central Valley School District.

    The downloadable digital version of The State We're In: Washington. Your guide to state, tribal and local government by the League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Print copies of The State We’re In: Washington, may be purchased from the League of Women Voters of Washington website.

    Resource image cover courtesy Governor’s Mansion Foundation. Indians Fishing at The Dalles,” 1854, from a report published with the results of a railroad survey for the Northern Pacific Railroad.


    Creative Commons attribution logo
    Except where otherwise noted, this Teacher Guide for The State We’re In Washington Chapter 6, copyright Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, is available under a Creative Commons Attribution License. All logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners. Sections used under fair use doctrine (17 U.S.C. § 107) are marked



    Hooking students into the content of the chapter.

    BEFORE you distribute the Student Handout: Launch to students, hold a discussion about what they already know about indigenous people in general. You will probably need to define words and clear up any potential misunderstandings that students have. If this is the first time students have been exposed to the idea of tribal lands, you will need to support their learning as they explore this resource. Go to for more information on best practices for using this map and to learn more about how the map came to be created.

    Ensure students know and understand that tribes and tribal people are still alive and thriving within all areas of the map. Though some text students encounter is written in past tense, discussions of tribal people should be in present tense whenever possible.

    Distribute the handout to students. This activity works best in pairs, and with ONE laptop or Chromebook for each pair.

    • Guide students in answering the prompts on the handout individually and in partners.
    • There is no “correct” answer. Encourage the students to explain their thinking with each other

    Focused Notes

    Activating student thinking about the content of the entire chapter.

    Distribute the Student handout: Focused Notes to students.

    • As students read, they will record their understanding, thinking, and questions about the content using the handout. This can be done individually or collaboratively in pairs or small groups.

    Text Dependent Questions

    Engaging students in a close reading activity about specific content in the chapter.

    Distribute the Student handout: Text Dependent Questions document to students.

    First Read

    Have the students read the section and answer the First read questions on the Text Dependent Questions document.

    Second Read

    Use the Second read questions below to facilitate a small or whole group discussion about the reading section. When they are done have them use the Text Dependent Questions handout to record their notes.

    Post read

    After students have done a first and second read of the page, use the following questions to facilitate a class discussion. Have students capture their notes on the student handout:

    • How do the images in the chapter support your answers in the text dependent questions you just answered? What evidence of “working together” do you see?
    • Review the phrase, “In the long march of history, “Washington” is a recent creation.” What evidence do you have now that helps you understand this phrase?

    Teacher note: You may want to use some or all the Second read or Post read questions. The purpose of the Text Dependent Question activity is to have students do multiple close reads of the text leading to discussion that engages all students. Therefore, you may need to add reading strategies that meet the needs of your students.

    Focused Inquiry

    A focused inquiry is a one to two day lesson that will have students engaging in the C3 Framework’s Inquiry Arc. The link below includes both teacher and student documents.

    Compelling Question

    How does the land we live on tell the story of tribal sovereignty?

    Teacher's Guide Menu

    Download the all the guides in one document or click on an individual chapter below.

    Washington tribe members fishing . Today's Democracy.  Creating Government.  Century of Change

    Governing Today.  Tribal Governments . Local Government.   Civics and Nature

    What's Next.  Good Citizen . all chapters