Hanford Labor Focused Inquiry


Hanford Labor Focused Inquiry


Hanford Site (Wash.) -- History
Hanford Site (Wash.) -- Employees.


Joshua Parker


Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State




[Grades 6-12]

In this focused inquiry, students investigate the question Were workers who came to Hanford during the war American heroes?

Students engage in a paired station analysis and discussion, focused note taking, comparative informational reading, claim/counterclaim writing, and an application to current issues.

Lesson Objectives

  • Students will be able to explain what the Hanford project was and why people came to work on it.
  • Students will analyze a variety of texts using close reading skills and partnered academic conversation.
  • Students will assess purposes and differences for men and women who went to Hanford to work during the war.
  • Students will communicate claims using evidence.


Common Core English Language Arts Standards, History/Social Studies
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1.  Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.3.  Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
College, Career, and Civic Life Framework
(See C3 Framework to adjust to the grade level of the audience of this lesson)
  • D3.3.6-8.  Identify evidence that draws information from multiple sources to support claims, noting evidentiary limitations.
  • D4.8.9-12.  Apply a range of deliberative and democratic strategies and procedures to make decisions and take action in their classrooms, schools, and out-of-school civic contexts.


Focused Inquiry

Staging the Question

Compelling Question:  Were workers who came to Hanford during the war American heroes?
Partner Station analysis: What was the Hanford project and who were the people who worked there? Station:
  1. Recruiting a Workforce and Securing Materials (excerpt 1)
  2. Recruiting a Workforce and Securing Materials (excerpt 2)
  3. Milwaukee Sentinal Newspaper Recruiting Advertisement
  4. Hanford Nuclear Reservation Timeline (1942-1972)
  5. Food Quantities Consumed Illustration
  6. Construction Force, April 1943 - November 1944, Chart
  7. Regional Activities Recruitment Map
Formative Performance Task

Supporting Question:
What do pamphlets tell us about opportunities and hardships for male and female workers in the early days of Hanford?
  • Partner Reading:
  • Complete a Venn Diagram about similar and different opportunities that Male and Female workers faced when working at Hanford.
Taking Informed Action

Argument: Draft a claim and explain 3-5 bullet points of evidence that back up your answer to the compelling question Were workers that came to Hanford during the war American heroes?

Identify and explain how two pieces of evidence could be used to counter your claim.
  • How should the Dupont company, the state of WA, the local community in Hanford, and the US government share the costs and responsibility of toxic waste cleanup?
Hanford Labor Lesson Plan with Activity Sheet.pdf
Partner Station Text Set.pdf
Focused Note Taker Activity Sheet.pdf