Washington State Migration


Washington State Migration



Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State

Grade Levels


In this focused inquiry, students investigate the question: Why do people move? Students will engage in focused inquiry that will require them to make predictions about how State, National, and International events in history have impacted the population of Washington. Students will complete a data analysis, make a prediction, and conduct research to understand how historical events create reasons for people to move in and out of Washington.

Lesson Objectives

1. Students will be able to use data analytical skills to make predictions on how historical events impacted the population of Washington.

2. Students will engage in discussion of push and pull factors of immigration/ migration into and out of Washington.

3. Students will research newspaper headlines that support or refute their predictions.

4. Students will use what they’ve learned to write a claim, evidence, and reasoning paragraph.

5. Students will use what they’ve learned to create a newspaper headline of their own around a major historical event.

Source Materials

Featured Source(s):


SSS1.6-8.1 Analyze positions and evidence supporting an issue or an event.

SSS3.6-8.1 Engage in discussion, analyzing multiple viewpoints on public issues.

H3.6-8.3 Explain, analyze, and develop an argument about how Washington State has been impacted by individuals and movements.


Compelling Question:

Why do people move?

Staging the Question:

Option 1

  • Have the students create a class list of why people move into and out of an area. The teacher might want to guide this discussion so that students are making a list that concentrates on the historical events that you would like to focus on.
  • After the students have their list, sort them into push (events that force people out) and pull (events that entice people in) factors to migration into Washington.

Option 2

  • Give students the cards with newspaper headlines on them, along with the source and date. (See Student Handout 1)

  • Students will need to connect historical events with their corresponding headlines.

  • Ask the students to predict how these newspaper headline events might make people want to come to or leave Washington. Start this activity with individual/ small group discussion, and then have the students share their ideas in a whole class setting.


  • Push Factors of migration
  • Pull Factors of migration
  • Immigration
  • Migration
  • Country of origin

Supporting Question:

What historical events changed the population of Washington?

Formative Performance Task:

  • Students should begin by making a list of historical events that have had an impact on Washington State. Once they are done brainstorming, have the students sort the events into State, National, and International events.

  • Next, have students choose up to 5 events and make predictions on if those events will lead to more people coming to Washington State, or less. Teachers should make the call for how many State, National, and International events. (See Student Handout 2)

  • After their predictions, have the students use America’s Great Migration Project (Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium, University of Washington) to see if their predictions were correct.

  • Have the students choose 2 of their 5 predictions to research in the Washington Digital Newspapers collection. Students will find 2-4 newspaper headlines to show how these historical events may have changed the population of Washington.


Have the students use the information they got from their research and data analysis to craft an argumentative paragraph. Student responses should include a clear claim, specific evidence, and a well-thought-out reasoning.

Taking Informed Action:

Students will take the information from their data analysis and the information from newspaper headlines to create their own headline. It should demonstrate how historical events influenced the population changes of Washington State.
Washington State Migration_LessonPlan_WSL.pdf