1968, The Year That Rocked Washington: Before visiting the exhibit Lesson B


1968, The Year That Rocked Washington: Before visiting the exhibit Lesson B


Legacy Washington, Office of the Secretary of State




Except where otherwise noted, this work by Legacy Washington is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. All logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Grade Levels


1968: The Year That Rocked Washington features a collection of online oral history profiles and a public exhibit inside the State Capitol Building that explores the lives of 19 Washingtonians caught up in one of the most tumultuous years in world history. With profiles, compelling photos and artifacts, Legacy Washington documents activism and aftershocks of a landmark year in world history. View the online exhibit and profiles.

1968: The Year That Rocked Washington includes middle school curriculum with accommodations and adjustments available to upper elementary and high school.

The lesson plans follow the inquiry arc as outlined in the College, Career, Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards and are common core aligned (Washington State standards) to challenge students in essential reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. These plans are poised to engage students before, during, and after visiting the 1968  project and exhibit (either in person or online).

Lesson Objectives

  • EQ: Was ‘68 a watershed year of change for WA?
  • EQ: What makes a good question for research?
At the end of this lesson students will…
  • Choose a lens of focus for their inquiry.
  • Design questions to guide the display visit to the 1968: The Year That Rocked Washington display as well as further research.


  • Handout: Focus Topic
  • Shortened Question Formulation Technique (QFT)


Common Core Reading
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2.  Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Common Core Writing
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.7.  Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
Common Core Speaking and Listening
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.1.  Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
State Social Studies Standards
  • History: Understands that there are multiple perspectives and interpretations of historical events.


Entry Task: Think-Pair-Share
    1. Think: Students should review the timelines they created yesterday and identify the events that seem to them to be:
      1. Most important
      2. Most interesting
      3. Most connected to our lives today
    2. Pair: Students should share with a neighbor which events from the timeline they chose for each and why.
    3. Share: Teacher should ask 4-5 students to share what stood out from their paired discussion.
Activity: Question Creation for Display Research
  1. Lens Selection (see handout)
    1. Assign or have students select a partner. They will work together in preparation for the exhibit visit, they will analyze the exhibit together, and they will research and create the final project together.
      1. For elementary students - teachers may choose to have the class do one focus topic all together and lead the group through this brainstorm and the next question creation process as a whole group.
      2. For high school students - teachers may choose to have each individual student pick a focus topic and create their own questions.
    2. Read the Background information (in reading partners, as a whole class, or whatever structure works best in your classroom).
    3. Partners pick a focus topic and complete the "Think we know, Want to find out" brainstorm sheet. What they write can be very general about the groups of focus or very specific about things they know about the 1960s/1968 in particular.
      1. Teachers - Encourage an approximately equal number of groups to focus on each of the different topics, if possible. However, student choice can be a powerful motivator.
      2. Students - It is ok to be wrong on a brainstorm. It is a collection of our best-informed guesses, ideas and questions that we have at this moment. You’ll get more specific and clarify any misconceptions in your learning later.
  2. Question Formulation
    1. Students should follow the Question Formulation Technique as outlined on the handout. Teacher should determine the right division of time for students to complete each step in their partnerships.
      1. Create Essential Question using question stem and chosen topic.
      2. Create Supporting Questions.
      3. Improve Supporting Questions.
      4. Prioritize Supporting Questions.
    2. Preview visit to display, use of questions, and goal of product after display visit.
    3. Collect/approve/share out focus topics and questions.
      1. If teacher wants to ensure quality questions or score the completion of the task, it should be collected.
      2. If there is some time left in the class period when questions are created, place 3-4 partnerships together to share their topics/questions and start to predict what they think they’ll find out in the display visit and add these ideas to their brainstorm from earlier.

Formative Assessment

    • Knowledge demonstrated in Entry Task
    • Chosen Topic
    • Essential Question and four Supporting Questions developed in preparation for a visit to the Display
1968, The Year That Rocked Washington: Before visiting the exhibit Lesson B