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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