16 Issaquah Pioneer Life Game

Competencies: Social Studies, Economics

Economics 2.2: Understands how economic systems function.

CBA: Humans and the Environment

CBA: Meeting Needs and Wants


Objective: Students choose an occupation specific to Issaquah’s history and experience the joys and difficulties of pioneer life as they play a game.

Materials: The Issaquah Pioneer Game, four game pieces, related photos, shoe-lasts, coal, coal miner’s hat, railroad spike, quilt square, homemade soap, washboard, rug beater, and hops, Photo Prompts Power Point (Work section).


  • Ask students what jobs they think the early pioneers in Issaquah had.  Share photos and objects in the kit that are associated with logging, coalmining, work at home, dairy farming, hops, railroad depot master, and shoe repair, and teacher with their class.
  • Show students the “Work” section in the photo prompts slide show.
  • Explain that early pioneers had many different jobs, but four of the jobs named were the primary, early careers of Issaquah.
  • Introduce “The Issaquah Pioneer Game.”
  • Discuss possible occupation choices.
  • Explain the rules for the game.
  • In groups of four, children can take turns playing the game.  This can be set up as a learning center or an assigned activity.
  • When everyone in the class has had a chance to play the game, discuss what students learned about Issaquah’s past from playing the game.


1.  Invite a parent volunteer to come in and play this game with students.


Activity 16 (DOC)
Activity 16 (PDF)
Issaquah Pioneer Game board
Issaquah Pioneer Game instructions
Issaquah Pioneer Game cards
Photo Prompts slide show

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17 Our Diverse Community

Competencies: Social Studies, History

History 4.2.2: Understands how economic systems function.

CBA: Humans and the Environment

CBA: Meeting Needs and Wants


Objective: Students learn that the people who settled in what is now the Issaquah area, came from many different places.  Students then research and document their own family tree and by doing so, discover that their family also contributes to the different ethnic, racial, religious and social groups that make up their local community.

Materialslaminated world map, family information pages and photos, bulletin board, string, thumb tacks, family tree worksheet (see attached), pencil


Part 1: Issaquah Families

  1. Discuss how long students have lived in Issaquah.  Did any of the students move here from another location?  Did anyone’s parents or grandparents move here from another town, city, state, or country?
  2. Ask, “Who were the first people to live in the Issaquah area?”  (Native Americans) and “Who came to the area next?” (Early settlers from the east coast, Midwest, and other countries, including about 40 people from China that were run out of Issaquah in a matter of days).
  3. Share the family information cards and photos of the early settlers.  Discuss how far each family had to travel from their original home to Issaquah.  Discuss how they probably made that journey (no planes or cars then).
  4. Create a bulletin board display as a class by pinning up the world map.  Then add each family card and photo in the space around the map.  Connect the family card and photo to the place on the map from which the family came.  Place a thumbtack on the country or state in which the family started.  Tie a string from the thumbtack on the state/country to the thumbtack holding up the family card and photo.  For example, the Castagno family came to Issaquah from Italy, so the thumbtack holding the Castagno family card will have a string tied to it, leading to a thumbtack in Italy, showing where they came from.
  5. Explain to the class this is only a small number of families that came to the Issaquah area.  Many other families have come from many other places.  Where did their families live before they moved to Issaquah?

Part 2: Family Tree

Note to teacher: Use professional discretion in giving this assignment.  Some children may have sensitive issues surrounding extended or immediate family information (adoptions, recent and difficult divorces, parents not involved in their child’s life, etc.).  Some families may find gathering this information to be difficult, uncomfortable, or impossible.

  1. Discuss the purpose of keeping a family tree or record.  Discuss what a family tree looks like.
  2. Discuss the items that belong on a family tree.  Family trees may include; names of family members, birth, marriage and death dates, short stories, or photos.  Discuss how many years a family tree might document (anywhere from two or three generations to thousands of years).
  3. Share the Tibbett’s family tree as an example.  This family was one of the first to settle in Issaquah.
  4. Share the “Family Tree” worksheet, or let students create their own.  Discuss how additional information can be added, such as aunts, uncles, cousins, great grandparents, birth dates, etc.  Set guidelines for expectations; what must be included on their family tree and what is optional.
  5. This activity works best as a homework assignment, as most children will need assistance from adults in their family to complete their family tree.
  6. Share the completed family trees as a class and discuss when each student’s family came to the Issaquah area.


Activity 17 (DOC)
Activity 17 (PDF)
Family Summaries
Family Tree worksheet
Sample family tree

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18 Town Name

Competencies: Social Studies, Social Studies

Social Studies Skills 5.1: Uses critical reasoning skills to analyze and evaluate positions.

Social Studies Skills 5.1.2: Evaluates if information is clear, specific, and detailed.


Objective: Students discover the fascinating history behind the four names that people have called the area that is now known as Issaquah.

Materials: three newspaper articles “Name Game – What to Call the City?”, “What the ‘Squak’ is all about”, and the article from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!


  1. Start this activity by reading the first sentence from the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! article, “Four members of the Cowell Family all were born in the same house but in different towns.”  Ask the class how they think this could be possible.
  2. Ask the class if they would believe that the house mentioned in the article is here in Issaquah and that the Cowell family lived here at the turn of the century.  Ask if anyone has ever heard any of Issaquah’s previous names.  Does anyone know how many names Issaquah has had?  Does anyone know what the current name, Issaquah, means or where it came from?
  3. Brainstorm reasons why names of locations sometimes change.  (Different focus at different times in history based on occupations or environmental surroundings, named for important or influential people, nick names that catch on, etc.)
  4. Write the names of the children in the Cowell family on the board, the dates they were born and the town name at the time.
  5. Explain to the students that they can find out more information about the name of their town and why it has changed from other newspaper articles.  Read the article “Name game – what to call the city?”
  6. Does anyone in the class have the same name as someone else or a similar name?  Does it ever get confusing?  This is why the name changed from Gilman to Olney at the post office.  There was a town in Washington State already called Gilmer.  This name was so close in spelling to Gilman that they changed the post office name to Olney.  Has anyone heard of an area called Gilman?  Gilman Village is a modern shopping area.  The buildings in Gilman Village are historic homes, stores and barns turned into shops.
  7. Do we know all about the names that our town has had?  Actually, there is much more to the original name that Squak came from.  We can find more information by reading other articles.  Read the article “What the ‘Squak’ is all about.”
  8. If you were to rename the town Issaquah.  What name would you choose and why?


Activity 18 (DOC)
Activity 18 (PDF)
Supplemental articles

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19 What If?

Competencies: Social Studies, Geography

Geography 3.2: Understands human interaction with the environment.

CBA: Humans and the Environment


Objective: Students discover how differing environments have provided varying opportunities and limits for human activity in the Issaquah area..

Materials: book Preserving the Stories of Issaquah, paper, pencil


  1. Identify the major industries that contributed to Issaquah developing into a town.  Use the following selections from Preserving the Stories of Issaquah.  These are memories of Issaquah residents:Discuss where in Issaquah each of these industries took place and why.
  2. Sawmills:

    • page 37 by Urban Masset
    • page 38 by Walt Seil
    • page 38 by Donna Pedegana Arndt
    • page 39 by Wilma (Nikko) Hill


    • page 40 by Rachel Darst
    • page 41 by Nancy Horrocks
    • page 41 by Marian Stefani Hampton

    Farming and Dairies:

    • page 44 by Eric Erickson
    • page 44 by Peechie Bergsma Stefani
    • page 45 by Peechie Bergsma Stefani
    • page 45 by Lenore Martinell
    • page 46 by David Waggoner
    • page 46 by Peechie Bergsma Stefani
  3. Discuss where in Issaquah each of these industries took place and why.
    • Why did they mine in the hills and near the creeks? The coal seams were in the hills and coal was first found in the creeks.
    • Why were there dairy farms in the valley? The soil was rich and perfect for grazing after the thick forests had been cleared.
    • Why did they log the area? Originally, the Issaquah area was a dense forest, full of huge cedar trees, that grew straight and tall.  These trees were perfect for building material.  There were sawmills near the lake because the lake provided easier transportation for the lumber.
  4. Now play a “What if…” game.  How would the development of Issaquah have been different if the environment was different?  Use the prompts below to get students thinking about how differing environments provide varying opportunities and limits for human activity.  Students can either brainstorm a scenario of how Issaquah would have been different or write their ideas in a short story.
  5. Share the results and discuss the effects that changing the environment had on the stories about Issaquah.


Activity 19 (DOC)
Activity 19 (PDF)
What if? (DOC)
What if? (PDF)

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