Does Understanding Causes Lead to Solutions?


Does Understanding Causes Lead to Solutions?



Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State



Grade Levels


In this focused inquiry, students investigate the question Can understanding causes help identify solutions to homelessness?

Students engage in a paragraph puzzle analysis of a report entitled Farmworker Housing and the Washington Law Against Housing Discrimination.

Lesson Objectives

  • Students will analyze a bureaucratic report and discuss findings to learn about an issue.
  • Students will explain the top causes of the farmworker housing crisis in WA.


Washington State Social Studies Standards:
  • SSS2.6-8.2.  Evaluate the breadth, reliability, and credibility of primary and secondary sources to determine the need for new or additional information when researching an issue or event.
  • SSS3.6-8.1.  Engage in discussion, analyzing multiple viewpoints on public issues.
  • E1.6-8.2.  Evaluate alternative approaches or solutions to current economic issues of Washington state in terms of costs and benefits for different groups.


Focused Inquiry

Staging the Question

Compelling Question: Can understanding causes help identify solutions to homelessness?

Images found on pages 192 and 193 respectively in:

Washington State Department of Health. (March 2018). 2018 Washington State Health Assessment [PDF file]. Retrieved from

Formative Performance Task

Supporting Question: What are the causes and potential solutions to the farmworker housing shortage in WA?

Paragraph Puzzle Activity:

  • Hand out paragraphs from the Farmworker Housing Report to groups of two to three students (there are 14 excerpts).
  • Students should analyze the paragraph, looking for evidence to explain the farmworker housing shortage, its causes, and any ideas for solution.
  • After analyzing one paragraph and noting what was learned, students should trade with another group to analyze another. This trading should repeat for at least 5 rounds.
  • After 5+ rounds of paragraph analysis, teacher should organize a student led discussion about the supporting question. Students should use evidence from the analyzed paragraphs to help answer the question.

Taking Informed Action

Argument: Explain the top 3 causes of farmworker housing shortage and give evidence for why you think those are the most important causes.

The report was from 2007. Some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. Find a recent article on farmworker housing to see if improvements have been made. Report back to class.

An example source: Article on Housing Shortage in Yakima from Northwest Public Broadcasting, June 2018

Understanding Causes Lesson Plan with Activity Sheet (pdf)
Understanding Causes Activity Sheet (pdf)