Territory to Statehood


Territory to Statehood

Lesson Objectives

Students will…
  • Understand the physical changes to the state of Washington political map
  • Analyze primary source maps
  • Create an original piece of writing about the path to statehood for the state of Washington


Common Core Reading Anchor Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Common Core Writing Anchor Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

College, Career, and Civic Life Framework

(See C3 Framework to adjust to the grade level of the audience of this lesson)

  • D2.Geo.3.6-8. Use paper based and electronic mapping and graphing techniques to represent and analyze spatial patterns of different environmental and cultural characteristics.
  • D2.Geo.5.6-8. Analyze the combinations of cultural and environmental characteristics that make places both similar to and different from other places.
  • D2.Geo.12.6-8. Explain how global changes in population distribution patterns affect changes in land use in particular places.
  • D3.1.6-8. Gather relevant information from multiple sources while using the origin, authority, structure, context, and corroborative value of the sources to guide the selection.
  • D3.3.6-8. Identify evidence that draws information from multiple sources to support claims, noting evidentiary limitations.
  • D4.2.6-8. Construct explanations using reasoning, correct sequence, examples, and details with relevant information and data, while acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of the explanations.


  1. Begin class with a Do Now.
    1. Ask How do maps tell us stories?  You might have a map of some sort projected along with the questions.
    2. Alternately, you could begin class with all three of the maps from the set out on a group table and ask students to organize them from oldest to newest and be ready to defend their decision with three pieces of evidence.
  2. Have students analyze one map at a time using What Stories Do Maps Tell Us? process.
    1. This could be done as individual student work, as partner work, or as small group work.
    2. Or, the teacher may want to do a gradual release of responsibility by doing the first one with the class, asking students to work in small groups or pairs on the second, and asking individuals to analyze the third map on their own.
  3. Wrap up the lesson by asking students to write out the story of WA from territory to statehood as told by the maps.


Possible extension of this could be to compare it against the Territory to Statehood exhibit. Is the story they saw in the maps similar or different from the story told in annotations?

What Stories Do Maps Tell Us?
Territory to Statehood Text Set
Map of Oregon Territory and Upper California (1846)