3 Communities and Town Histories

Competencies: Social Studies, Social Studies Skills, Geography

Social Studies Skills 5.2: Uses inquiry-based research.

Geography 3.2.2: Understands the cultural universals of place, time, family life, economics, communication, arts, recreation, food, clothing, shelter, transportation, government, and education.

CBA: Humans and the Environment


Objective: Students learn what makes up a community and how communities are alike and different. They learn the differences between villages, towns, cities and suburbs.  Students learn various ways to find out more about a town’s history, including street signs, town names, objects, maps, houses and buildings.  They use the development of Issaquah as an example of how a community begins and grows, changing and adapting with the times.

Materials: list of field trip destinations


In the classroom:

  1. As a class, brainstorm what makes a community. All communities have… places to live, work, learn, and play
  2. Discuss how big a community can be… village, town, city, suburb, in rural or urban settings.
  3. Review what all communities have and what sizes they can be.
  4. Discuss how we can find information about our town’s history. Suggestions may include; reading books, going to the local museum, asking a librarian, asking people who have lived here for a long time, maps, terrain features, street names, town names, neighborhoods, houses, buildings, objects, photos, newspapers, journals, diaries, roadways, disasters, etc.
  5. Explain that in this unit, students will be using many of these strategies to learn more about their town’s history. They will be using the development of Issaquah as an example of how a community begins and grows, changing and adapting with the times.

On the field trip:

  1. Go on a scavenger hunt on a walking tour of downtown Issaquah looking for evidence of mountains, streams, railroads, coal, old houses and buildings, old neighborhoods, buildings where the bottom half has changed, but the top half hasn’t, old street names, etc.
  2. Take a field trip to the Issaquah History Museums, including the Gilman Town Hall and the Issaquah Depot Museum.  Learn about the buildings themselves, and their place in Issaquah’s history, and about their contents.
  3. Take a field trip to the Museum of History and Industry for logging displays.
  4. Take a field trip to Newcastle Regional Park for coal mining (some mine openings are still visible today).
  5. Possible assessments include; diorama, mural, poster, bulletin board, model, etc., that shows understanding/knowledge of the forces that may contribute to the making of a community.


Activity 3 (DOC)
Activity 3 (PDF)

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