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Washington State Guide & History

Washington state is in the Pacific Northwest, and borders Canada. A state research project is the perfect summative activity for any U.S. Region, Geography class, or general research unit of study. Students will love learning about Washington landmarks, mottos, fun facts, history, and so much more! Research is an important skill for children to learn at a young age; it exposes students to expository text, gives them practice determining important information, and enhances note taking and presentation skills.

Student Activities for Washington State Guide

Essential Questions for Washington

  1. What are some significant events in the history of Washington?
  2. What are some facts and features that make Washington unique?
  3. What are some interesting places in Washington that people would want to visit?

All About Washington

Date of Statehood: November 11, 1889 (42nd state)

State Motto: Into the Future

State Nickname: Evergreen State

State Bird: American Goldfinch

State Tree: Western Hemlock

State Flower: Rhododendron

Tourist Attractions: The Space Needle, Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Seattle Center, Pike Place Market, and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Famous Citizens of Washington: Bill Gates, Kurt Cobain, Bob Barker, Hope Solo, Bing Crosby, John Elway, and Jimi Hendrix.

Capital City: Olympia

Major Cities: Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, and Kent.

Brief History of Washington

It is believed that people inhabited what is now Washington over 10,000 years ago. Thousands of years later, Native American tribes such as the Chinook, Yakima, and the Nez Perce lived on the land. By the 1700s, Europeans began exploring the land, but didn’t stay long. However, in 1775, Captain Bruno Heceta arrived and claimed the land for Spain. The first settlers were fur traders who traded with the Native Americans. In 1805, explorers Lewis and Clark arrived in the region and spent the winter at the mouth of the Columbia River. Missionary Marcus Whitman arrived in 1836 and built several missions, hoping to spread the word of Christianity.

The land of Washington was shared between the United States and England throughout the early 1800s, until 1846 when the United States gained control through the Oregon Treaty. The treaty also included Oregon, Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming until 1853 when Oregon broke off and it became the Washington Treaty. On November 11, 1889, Washington became the 42nd state admitted into statehood.

Students will create a historical timeline, a postcard, a spider map, and a fun facts storyboard showing what they have learned about Washington. Creating these visuals gives the students the opportunity to show their creativity and their unique view of the state that they have researched. In addition, the combined use of words and illustrations allows students with different learning styles to show what they know in an exciting and eye-catching way.

Image Attributions
  • • 12019 • License Free for Commercial Use / No Attribution Required (
  • • Clker-Free-Vector-Images • License Free for Commercial Use / No Attribution Required (
  • 2539395 • Sergei Akulich • License Free To Use / No Attribution Required / See for what is not allowed
  • 26177 • Clker-Free-Vector-Images • License Free for Most Commercial Use / No Attribution Required / See for what is not allowed
  • 3387715 • Couleur • License Free for Most Commercial Use / No Attribution Required / See for what is not allowed
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