Grand Coulee Dam Sarah Olson


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Grand Coulee Dam 



 

Sarah Olson 

Summit School 

 

Trail Blazers 



5

th

/6



th

 grade 


 

2-3 week Investigation 

During three-month Expedition 


Table of Contents 

 

Overview ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 



 

Learning Expedition Planner  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4                   

 

Goals and Overall Objectives -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 



 

Objectives (Learning Targets), Lesson Descriptions, Lesson Plan Materials 

 

 

Lesson 1: Geologic History of Grand Coulee ------------------------------------------------------------------ 6 



 

 

Lesson 2: Important People ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7 



 

 

Lesson 3: What was good about the dam ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 8 



 

 

Lesson 4:  Who/What the dam hurt ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 9 



 

 

Lesson 5:  Lasting Effects on the area ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10 



 

Final Assessment—What’s the Big Idea? CBA ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11 

 

Annotated Bibliography  



 

 

Primary Sources ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  12 



 

 

Other Sources -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  14 



 

 

- 2 -



Overview 

 

 



Trail Blazers began the year learning about colonial life, the establishment of America, and its 

founding fathers.  This study was during September through November.  Then we began the We the 



People expedition about our country’s guiding documents and how the US government works.  This leads 

us into the study of Grand Coulee Dam and how the government played a role in its development.   

 

 The 


We The People expedition looks at the founding documents of the United States and why they 

are important to us.  We will also be learning about important people to the beginning of our nation.  These 

two things will follow-up very nicely with the end of our colonial American expedition.  We finished this 

learning about the Revolutionary War and how this lead to our freedom as a nation.   

 

 

 Students will be able to give evidence to answer the guiding question of “Is it so grand?” by the 



end of this case study.  They will be able to cite 3-4 pieces of evidence that can specifically answer the 

question in terms of the affect Grand Coulee Dam had on the Northwest.  This will be assessed through the 



What’s the Big Idea? CBA.   

 

 



This study will connect to our next expedition about the Spokane River.  Students will need to be 

able to analyze local impact dams have when they are built.  They will use the knowledge they have gained 

about dams, how they are built, what they are used for, and the local impact from learning about Grand 

Coulee Dam.   

 

- 3 -


L

EARNING 

E

XPEDITION 

P

LANNER

*

                      

 

 

T

ITLE 

/T

OPIC

Grand Coulee Dam 

A

UTHOR

(

S

): 

Sarah Olson 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G

RADE 

L

EVEL

(

S

):

 

5

th



/6

th

   T



IME 

F

RAME

January for about 2 weeks 

 

G

UIDING 

Q

UESTIONS 

(Open-ended question to focus long-term inquiry. Can be linked to big ideas – enduring 

understandings we want students to remember ten years from now) 

Is it so grand?  



 

I

NVESTIGATION TOPIC

 

Grand Coulee Dam 

and its affect the 

people and land 

around it 

 

C

ONTENT

 

 

Technology and ideas 



surrounding the 

development of the 

Grand Coulee Dam  

 

Attitudes and beliefs of 



people about the dam 

 

Other perspectives 



about the dam 

 

Use resources (primary 



and secondary) to back 

up facts 



S

TANDARDS

 

4.2.3 Understands how 

technology and ideas have 

affected the way people live 

and change their values, 

beliefs, and attitudes. 

5.4.1 Researches multiple 

perspectives to take a position 

on a public or historical issue 

in a paper or presentation. 

5.2.1 Evaluates the relevance 

of facts used in forming a 

position on an issue or event. 

5.4.2


 

Prepares a list of 

resources, including the title, 

author, and type of source, 

date published, and publisher 

for each source, and arranges 

the sources alphabetically. 

L

ONG

-

TERM 

LEARNING TARGETS

 

I can describe the 

way Grand Coulee 

Dam affected the 

people and the land 

around it. 

 

I can analyze the 



importance of the 

Grand Coulee Dam. 

 

 I can use primary 



and secondary 

resources about the 

Grand Coulee Dam 

to answer the 

guiding question.   

K

ICK

-

OFF

/I

MMERSION EXPERIENCES

 

Look at maps to locate area and see what it looks like now. 



 

F

INAL ASSESSMENT

 

What’s the Big Idea? CBA 



 

 

*This planning tool is used by Expeditionary Learning Schools, which Summit School is a part of, as a 

template for expeditions (units of study).   

 

 



 

- 4 -


Goals 

(Long-Term and Supporting Learning Targets) 



 

 

I can describe the way Grand Coulee Dam affected the people and the land around it. 



o

 

I can tell 2 people who were influential in the development of the dam. (lesson 2) 



o

 

I can describe 2 groups of people who were against the building of the dam.  (lesson 2) 



o

 

I can describe 2 lasting effects on the land around Grand Coulee Dam. (lesson 5) 



o

 

I can describe 2 lasting effects on the people around the Grand Coulee area.  (lesson 5) 



 

 

 



I can analyze the importance of the Grand Coulee Dam.   

o

 



I can analyze how the geologic history of the Grand Coulee area made it a good place for the 

dam. (lesson 1) 

o

 

I can describe 3 pros of the Grand Coulee Dam. (lesson 3) 



o

 

I can describe 2 cons of the Grand Coulee Dam. (lesson 4) 



o

 

I can describe 3-4 lasting effects on the land around Grand Coulee Dam. (lesson 5) 



o

 

I can describe 3-4 lasting effects on the people around the Grand Coulee area.  (lesson 5) 



 

 

I can use primary and secondary resources about the Grand Coulee Dam to answer the guiding 



question.  (final assessment) 

 

 



- 5 -

Lesson 1: Geologic History of Grand Coulee area (1-2 days) 

 

Learning Target:  I can analyze how the geologic history of the Grand Coulee area made it a good place for 

the dam. 

 

Activity: 



o

 

Watch video about how the Missoula Floods helped create the Grand Coulee area. 



o

 

Review what a coulee is 



o

 

Review a map of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet and the path of the Missoula Flood to show how it 



affected the Grand Coulee area and the Columbia River 

o

 



Use parts of article to talk about why the area was good for the dam 

o

 



Begin filling in a map of Washington state to show rivers, lakes, cities 

 

Materials: 



o

 

United Streaming 



video segment

  

o



 

Aquifer Atlas, 2004 edition p. 9-10 

o

 

WA map outline 



o

 

“Harnessing the Columbia River: The Grand Coulee Dam and Its Geographical Setting” article 



o

 

http://www.usbr.gov/pn/grandcoulee/



 other historical information  

 

- 6 -



Lesson 2:  Important People (2-3 days) 

 

Learning Target:  I can tell 2 people who were influential in the development of the dam. 

I can describe a group of people who were against the building of the dam.   

 

Activity: 



o

 

Learn about who was involved in the making of the dam and why they felt the dam would be a 



good thing for Washington state.   

o

 



Look at photographs about people at the dam and fill out photograph analysis forms as a whole 

class.  Also talk about how senses are evoked when we look at pictures.  Have students fill in 

senses recording form as they look at the pictures. 

o

 



People involved in the making of Grand Coulee Dam 

o

 



President Franklin D. Roosevelt 

o

 



Clarence C. Dill  

o

 



Rufus Woods 

o

 



Frank A. Banks: Chief Engineer 

o

 



William (Billy) M. Clapp 

o

 



farmers  

o

 



People/Groups against the building of the dam 

o

 



Small towns 

o

 



Business owners who would have to rebuild 

o

 



Colville Indian tribe 

o

 



Pick one of the people/groups of people involved with the Grand Coulee Dam.  Write a letter as 

that person describing your point of view, how you feel about the dam, what you think the dam will 

to do the area in the years to come.   

 

Materials: 



o

 

Photograph Analysis



 form 

o

 



Posters

 with each person or group on the top 

o

 

Photos and articles about or by the people 



o

 

The 23-Year Battle for Grand Coulee Dam book excerpts 



o

 

Senses recording form 



o

 

Excerpts about towns moved from Exploring Washington’s Past  



o

 

Images of America: Grand Coulee Dam photos  



 

- 7 -


Lesson 3: What was good about the Dam (2-3 days) 

 

Learning Target:  I can describe 3 pros of the Grand Coulee Dam. 

 

Activity: 



o

 

What did the dam do for people of Washington state? 



o

 

Provide electricity 



o

 

Provide jobs during the Depression 



o

 

Create irrigation for farming 



 

Apples 


 

Wine 


o

 

Tourism (current day) 



o

 

Spur the local economy 



o

 

Students will use written documents and photos to analyze how the dam was promoted.   



o

 

They will do analysis forms for some of the documents in pairs or small groups. 



o

 

Write a newspaper article describing what the Grand Coulee Dam will do for the people of 



Washington state.   

 

Materials: 



o

 

Life article 



o

 

Spokesman-Review cover page, January 29, 1939 

o

 

“Grand Coulee Dam” pamphlet 



o

 

Spokane Daily Chronicle cover page, June 18, 1934 

o

 

The 23-Year Battle for Grand Coulee Dam book excerpts 



o

 

Grand Coulee Dam: The Columbia Basin Reclamation Project, Pamphlet 

o

 

Written document analysis



 form 

o

 



“When Dams Weren't Damned: The Public Power Crusade and Visions of the Good Life in the 

Pacific Northwest in the 1930s” article 

o

 

Washington’s History articles: 106-107, 108-109 



o

 

Excerpts about towns moved from Exploring Washington’s Past  



o

 

Historic Photos of Washington State, p. 188 and 200 



o

 

Images of America: Grand Coulee Dam photos  



 

 

 



- 8 -

Lesson 4: Who/What was hurt by the dam (2-3 days) 

 

Learning Target: I can describe 2 cons of the Grand Coulee Dam. (lesson 4) 

 

Activity: 



o

 

What did the dam do to hurt the people of Washington state? 



o

 

Moved towns 



o

 

People lost some of their businesses 



o

 

Colville Indians had to move their reservation 



 

Loss of history 

o

 

Salmon were hurt as an industry 



o

 

Look at the map to find what towns are being moved and where.   



o

 

Write a letter to the editor explaining who you are and why you feel the building of the dam would 



be a bad thing for the people of Washington state. 

o

 



After the past two lessons, students would pick a role for a town in Washington faced with being 

moved because of the building of the dam.  Students will participate in a town meeting to discuss 

the merits of the dam. They will need to bring their 

notes


 as a ticket to participate. (Breaking Away 

From the Textbook) 

o

 

Who are you?   



o

 

What is your role in the town? 



o

 

What is your position on the building of the dam? 



 

What are your reasons for you position? 

o

 

What is your final say in the building of the dam? 



o

 

After the town meeting, students will need to write up how their position might have changed or not 



because of what their fellow town members had to say.   

o

 



Assessment:  Fill in the 

Venn Diagram

 stating what you know about the pros and the cons 

surrounding the building of the dam.  Be sure to site where your information came from (articles, 

pictures, maps, class notes, etc.). 

 

Materials: 



o

 

The 23-Year Battle for Grand Coulee Dam book excerpts  



o

 

Notes as ticket 



o

 

Venn Diagram 



o

 

Excerpts about towns moved from Exploring Washington’s Past  



o

 

Washington’s History articles: 106-107, 108-109 



o

 

Images of America: Grand Coulee Dam photos  



 

 

 

- 9 -



Lesson 5: Lasting Effects on the area (2 days) 

 

Learning Target:  I can describe 2 lasting effects on the land around Grand Coulee Dam. 



I can describe 2 lasting effects on the people around the Grand Coulee area.   

 

Activity: 



o

 

Brainstorm from past visits to the Grand Coulee Dam about what it is currently like 



o

 

What does the Grand Coulee Dam look like today? 



o

 

What does the Grand Coulee Dam provide for us today? 



o

 

Read the articles in groups to answer the questions. 



o

 

Look at websites:  



o

 

What do they suggest about the Grand Coulee Dam? 



o

 

What is the perspective offered on the site? 



o

 

Go back to map to see how the area around Grand Coulee Dam looks different today.   



 

 

Materials: 



o

 

Grand Coulee Dam Now student



 worksheet 

o

 



“The Benefits and Costs of the Columbia Basin Project: Earlier Perspectives and Changing 

Perceptions” article  

o

 

"The Columbia Basin Project: Seventy-Five Years Later" article  



o

 

http://www.grandcouleedam.org/



  

o

 



http://www.usbr.gov/pn/grandcoulee/

  

o



 

Washington’s History articles: 106-107, 108-109 

o

 

Excerpts about towns moved from Exploring Washington’s Past  



o

 

Historic Photos of Washington State, p. 188 



o

 

Images of America: Grand Coulee Dam photos  



 

 

 



 

- 10 - 


Final Assessment:  What’s the Big Idea? CBA (3-5 days) 

 

Learning Target: I can use primary and secondary resources about the Grand Coulee Dam to describe the 



affect this technology had on the land and people around it. 

 

Activity: 



 

Introduce steps of CBA 

o

 

Introduce assessment task, student directions, and rubric. 



o

 

Have students use notes and other materials from investigation to complete the graphic 



organizer. 

o

 



Students will develop an initial draft of their paper answering the guiding question of “Is it 

so grand?”. 

o

 

Give feedback to students on the progress of their papers and details they might need to 



develop. 

o

 



Have students present their paper by sharing 2 reasons they give to answer the guiding 

question. 

 

Materials: 



 

Student directions

 for Dig Deep  

 

Writing checklist



  

 

Support Materials and Graphic Organizer



  

 

Teacher 



Scoring Guide

 

 



Primary resources used throughout the investigation 

 

Selected secondary resources used throughout the investigation 



 

- 11 - 


Annotated Bibliography 

 

Primary Sources 

 

Bamonte, Tony and Suzanne.  Pathways to History.  Spokane, WA: Tornado Creek Publishing, p. 115.  



 

The photo in the book gives a personal look at what it took to move towns and people displaced by 

the building of the Grand Coulee Dam.   

 

Barbour, G. B.  “Harnessing the Columbia River: The Grand Coulee Dam and Its Geographical Setting.”  



The Geographical Journal, Vol. 96, No. 4  (Oct., 1940), pp. 233-242, found in 

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1787579

. (June 21, 2010) 

 

This article is meant to give both the teacher and students a better understanding of the geologic 



history of the Grand Coulee area and why it was suitable for the building of a dam the size of 

Grand Coulee Dam.  

 

Bottenberg, Ray. Images of America: Grand Coulee Dam.  Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2008.   



 

This book provides many historic photos documenting the Grand Coulee Dam from the beginning 

dream for the dam, through the construction, and all the way up to the completed and working 

dam.  These pictures will be used throughout the unit to help students see what it was like to be a 

part of the building of the dam.   

 

Coulee Dam Section.  Spokane Daily Chronicle cover page.  Spokane, WA, June 18, 1934.  Found at Joel 



E. Ferris Research Library and Archives.  (September 26, 2010) 

 

The cover page has a variety of articles showing progress on the building of the Grand Coulee 



Dam.  It also gives a great picture to show just how big the dam would be once the construction 

was completed.  This will give the students a good understanding of the magnitude of the whole 

dam.   

 

Grand Coulee: Eighth Wonder of the World.  Spokesman-Review cover page.  Spokane, WA, January 29, 



1939, 1939 Progress Edition.  Found at Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives, L95-16.185.  

(September 26, 2010) 

 

The cover page shows one of the public opinions about the building of the dam.  Many people were 



very much in favor of the dam and this cover was meant to show that as well as gather more 

support while the dam was being built.   

 

Lacey. “Spokane Celebration.”  June 1934.  From Old EWSHS System (located at Joel E. Ferris Research 



Library and Archives), L2004-32.570.  (accessed September 26, 2010) 

 

This photograph will be used to show how relationships were attempted to be formed between the 



tribal elders and the people in charge of building the dam.  Students will analyze the photograph to 

see what we can learn from it.   

 

 

- 12 - 



Libby Studio.  “”FDR, Clarence D. Martin, Mrs. Roosevelt and attending crowd at Grand Coulee Dam.”  

August 4, 1934.  From Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives, L87-1.4367-34.  (accessed 

September 26, 2010) 

 

This photograph shows the attempt that was made to draw in the president and other important 



figures show their interest in what was happening with the building of the dam.  We will look at how 

media plays a role in the public’s perception.  Students will analyze the photograph to see what we 

can learn from it.   

 

Libby Studio.  “FDR with James R. at speaker’s podium during his visit to Grand Coulee Dam.”  August 4, 



1934.  From Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives, L87-1.4370-34.  (accessed September 

26, 2010) 

 

This photograph shows the attempt that was made to draw in the president and show his interest in 



what was happening with the building of the dam.  We will look at how media plays a role in the 

public’s perception.  Students will analyze the photograph to see what we can learn from it.   

 

Life.  America’s Future: Pacific Northwest: the story of a vision and a promised land.  June 5, 1939, Vol. 6, 

No. 23.  Found at Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives, RE SC 89 1/1.  (September 26, 

2010) 

 

This article was to give the nation a look at one of the large construction projects meant to help our 



failing economy during this time.  It talks about how the dam will help the people of Washington, 

the size of the dam, and gives some personal stories to accompany this project so far away for 

many Americans.  It will be used to give students a better understanding of some of the people 

involved in the making of the dam and who the dam affected.    

 

Soden, Dale E. (text and captions).  Historic Photos of Washington State.  Nashville: Turner Publishing 



Company, 2008, p. 188, and 200.   

 

There are two pictures in this book that will give students a better perspective of the size of the 



dam and some of the different parts of the dam.   

 

Woods, Rufus.  The 23-Year Battle for Grand Coulee Dam. 1944.  From Joel E. Ferris Research Library 



and Archives, 333.91, W866t.  (September 26, 2010) 

 

The book by Rufus Woods was meant to give people a better understanding of what went into 



gathering support for the building of the dam.  He includes map, pictures, newspaper articles, and 

people’s opinions about who was for and against the dam.  These texts and pictures will help 

students better understand the different views surround the building of the dam.  

 

US Department of the Interior: Bureau of Reclamation.  Grand Coulee Dam: The Columbia Basin 



Reclamation Project, Pamphlet, From Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives, Eph L85-

109.1.  (September 26, 2010) 

 

This pamphlet will be used to show how the government tried to put a positive spin on what the 



Grand Coulee Dam would do for people of the Northwest.  It gives facts about size, building 

materials, how it uses the Columbia River, expenses, and how it will help the area.  The students 

will use this pamphlet while learning about the good things about the dam, but they will also use it 

when looking at how the dam hurt and try to use some inferring skills.  They will do a written 

document analysis form for it in pairs.   

 

 



 

- 13 - 


Secondary Sources 

 

Alt, David. Glacial Lake Missoula and it Humongous Floods. Missoula: Mountain Press Publishing 



Company, 2001. 

 

This book provides a thorough but understandable description of what the Missoula Floods did to 



help create many of the lakes and landforms found in our area.  It helps to give background for 

myself and my students about why the Grand Coulee area was a good spot for a dam of this size 

to be built. 

 

Bloodworth, Gina, and James White. 2008. "The Columbia Basin Project: Seventy-Five Years Later." 



Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers 70, 96-111. America: History & Life

EBSCOhost (accessed June 21, 2010). 

This article provides information about the history of the Columbia Basin Project as well as what 

the project is doing now.  It looks at the changing needs of the area and how we continue to benefit 

from the dam today.  There is also information about some negative effects of the dam on the local 

area.   


 

Cordero, Wilma, and Shelly Kintisch. Breaking Away from the Textbook: A Creative Approach to Teaching 

American History.  3

rd

 ed. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2006.  



I used this book to find new approaches to teach history in the elementary classroom. I used two 

ideas from this book in my project. 

 

Dick, Wesley Arden.  “When Dams Weren't Damned: The Public Power Crusade and Visions of the Good 



Life in the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s.”  Environmental Review: ER, Vol. 13, No. 3/4, 1989 

Conference Papers, Part One (Autumn - Winter, 1989), pp. 113-153, found in 

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3984393

, June 21, 2010. 

 

Understanding what a dam can provide in the sense of electricity is a huge piece to understanding 



why the dam was so desired by many people who fought for the building of the dam.  The author of 

this article helps to put a better perspective on how many people viewed the building of the dam 

during this hard-hit economic time.   

 

Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce.  Url: http://www.grandcouleedam.org/, accessed October 



2, 2010. 

 

This site is more designed to bring people to the Grand Coulee Dam area.  Students will again be 



asked to examine the perspective to see if it might be biased toward one perspective or another.  

Students will also get a chance to explore the site to figure out more information about the dam. 

 

Grand Coulee Canyon, WA: Site of the Channeled Scablands, video segment from, Earth’s Catastrophic 



Past.  Discovery Channel School. 1999. Discovery Education. 24 September 2010, 

)   

This video helps students understand the geologic history of the Grand Coulee area.  It begins to 

give background for why this was a good site for the dam.   

 

 



- 14 - 

 

- 15 - 


Kirk, Ruth and Carmela Alexander.  Exploring Washington’s Past, Seattle and London: University of 

Washington Press, 1990. 

 

This book describes many of the towns in Washington that were affected by the building of the 



dam.  The author talks about towns that had to be moved before the building of the dam as well as 

prior to Lake Roosevelt being filled after the dam had been completed.  It also talks about the 

power created by the dam, the effect on the salmon, and how it is more currently affecting the area.  

There is also some information about the role President Roosevelt played with the dam. 

 

Ritter, Harry. Washington’s History, Portland: West Winds Press, 2003, 106-109. 



This book provides short, to-the-point articles about what the Grand Coulee Dam did for 

Washington state, how it helped the economy, and some of the negative effects that were felt.  It 

covers a little of what the dam did for the economy of Washington as well.  

 

Shepherd, James F.  “The Benefits and Costs of the Columbia Basin Project: Earlier Perspectives and 



Changing Perceptions.”  Agricultural History, Vol. 76, No. 2, Water and Rural History (Spring, 

2002), pp. 463-480 found in 

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3745017

, June 21, 2010. 

 

This article helps illustrate what the Grand Coulee Dam did to the area, both good and bad.  Then 



it looks at how people’s opinions on the dam have changed over the years.  This article helps give 

better perspective on how people viewed the dam then and now.  

 

The Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer Atlas. 2004 ed. Spokane Valley: Aquifer Atlas Team, 2000. 

The aquifer atlas helps to build background about the path of the Missoula Flood and what is did to 

the land.  It shows maps of the area during the Pleistocene Ice Age and a brief description of the 

area. 


 

US Department of the Interior: Bureau of Reclamation Pacific Northwest Region. Url: 

http://www.usbr.gov/pn/grandcoulee/, accessed October 2, 2010.   

 

This website will be used to give facts about how the Grand Coulee Dam is used now, who it 



benefits, and how it is impacting the local area.  Students will get a chance to explore the site to 

figure out more information about the dam.  Students will also be asked to examine which 

perspective is clearest through this website. 

 

 



 

 


Grand Coulee Dam

Sarah Olson

Trail Blazers (5th/6

th

grade)



Summit School

Learning about the good and bad 

about the Grand Coulee Dam

a 2-3 week case  study, part of a three month 



expedition, 

We the People

about US 

government

other case studies are: our founding 



documents and people, how the US 

government works



Guiding Question

IS IT SO 

GRAND?


Long-Term Learning Targets

I can describe the way Grand Coulee 



Dam affected the people and the land 

around it.

I can analyze the importance of the Grand 



Coulee Dam.

I can use primary and secondary 



resources about the Grand Coulee Dam 

to answer the guiding question.  



Lesson Overview

1: Geologic History of Grand Coulee 



(2 days)

2: Important People (2-3 days)



3: How the dam helped (2-3 days)

4: Who/What the dam hurt (2-3 days)



5: Lasting effects of the dam (2 days)

Final Assessment (3-5 days)



Evidence Journals

Students will make their own evidence journals



Students will daily journal about people 

involved, pros and cons, affect on the area 

around the Grand Coulee Dam 

Students will differentiate between fact and 



opinion

Some Activities

Notice/Wonder notes

Living anchor charts

Venn Diagrams

Video clips


Town Meeting

Breaking Away From the Textbook activity p. 166

Town Meeting:

You are a part of a town that is in jeopardy of being 

moved because of the building of the Grand Coulee 

Dam.  Choose a role you would play from that town.  

Be ready to defend how the building of the dam 

would affect you and whether you would be for it or 

against it. 


Sharing our Knowledge

Students will present their observations 



journals to share the impacts they learned 

about


What’s the Big Idea? CBA for 5

th

grade


Students will connect this learning to our 

study of the Spokane River to decide 

whether dams should be built in our area



 

 

 

Grade 6, 7, 8 

Fall 

Checklist for Expository Writing  

 

My paragraph will explain successfully if I include thoughtful and specific content 

and organize my writing well.  That means I should 

 

  follow the directions given in the writing prompt; 

  narrow my topic;  

  stay focused on the main ideas; 

  elaborate by using reasons, well-chosen and specific details, examples, and/or 

anecdotes to support my ideas; 

  include information that is interesting, thoughtful, and necessary for my audience to 

know; 


  organize my thoughts in the paragraph;  

  use transitions to connect my ideas. 

 

My paragraph will explain successfully if I demonstrate an effective style.  That 

means I should 

 

  show that I care about my topic by writing in a voice appropriate for my audience 

and purpose; 

  use language that is appropriate for my audience and purpose; 

  use specific words and phrases that help the reader understand my ideas; 

  use different types and lengths of sentences. 

 

My paragraph will explain successfully if I follow conventions in writing.  That 

means I should 

 

  follow the rules of grammar and Standard English usage, 

  spell words correctly,  

  use correct capitalization, 

  use correct punctuation, 

  write complete sentences,  

  show where new paragraphs begin. 

 

Revised 11/06/2006 



Name: ________________ 

Date: ________________ 

Grand Coulee Dam Now 

 

You have learned about what happened in the area surrounding the Grand Coulee Dam before and during the construction.  Now 



you will look at what has changed.  Think about the people involved, the impact on the land and economy, and how people feel today 

about the dam.  Use the notes form below to fill in as you explore different websites, pictures, and articles about the dam now.   

 

Source People 

Land 

Economy 

Feelings 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



President Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Clarence C. Dill 

Rufus Woods 

Frank A. Banks: Chief Engineer 

William (Billy) M. Clapp 

farmers 

People of small towns 

Business owners who would 

have to rebuild 



Colville Indian tribe 

 


Sarah Olson 

October 21, 2010 

Pod Cast write-up 

 

Jonathan Alter and Alan Brinkley FDR's First 100 Days” 



 

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt was a big player in the 20



th

 century.  This pod cast talked 

more about the beginning of his presidency instead of the later part that we so often 

hear about.   

 

 

The presidency of FDR is something that we learn about in school, but there are 



many things that are left out.  I never knew that just prior to his inauguration, an attempt 

had been made on FDR’s life down in Miami, FL.   

 

 

Roosevelt was not seen by many as a strong candidate.  Many people felt he 



was a bit stuck up because of his background as a lawyer and a reputation he seemed 

to have built up during a time prior to his political career.   

 

He was also seen as a lightweight because of his fight with polio and the physical 



disabilities that came of this.  People thought that he would let others lead during his 

time as governor in New York, but instead surprised many by rising up to be a very 

strong leader with his own ideas.  He changed the American view of people with polio to 

create an open-mindedness that people with disabilities could rise above their troubles 

to take on bigger issues.  He also worked very hard to hide the fact that he was in a 

wheelchair because he didn’t want the public to see him as week.  The public often 

viewed him as an active man because he worked hard to make them believe that he 

had overcome this issue.  All of these attempts were made to show the public that he 

was not a lightweight at all!   

 

We think about the New Deal as one of the big things that FDR did for our 



country, but this did not occur during the first hundred days.  What leads up to this 

though was a feeling that the public should know about what is going on in our country.  

Financial transparency was the feeling that came out of this time.  People wanted to 

take charged of the national banking system because of our failing economy, but 

Roosevelt did not want to do this because he felt this should still be a private practice.   

 

The Civilian Conservation Corps was another first that helped to define the kind 



of president Roosevelt would be.  He created the first jobs program to make clear that 

the government should care about people’s jobs and the effect those jobs would have 

on our economy.  People thought the CCC wouldn’t be effective, but Roosevelt was 

sure that it would.    

 

National Recovery Act was designed as a way to show that Roosevelt was taking 



action against the depression.  He was trying to show that he would take a stand on 

issues that faced the nation at the time, that he was taking action to help our country.  

  

Roosevelt may not have been everyone’s favorite, but he did many things while 



in office to help our country when we were in great need to raise the morale of the 

people.  This is what makes him a memorable president.   



Scoring Guide  

 

Elementary School – What’s the Big Idea? CBA 



 

 



 

Scoring Guide for the Elementary School What’s the Big Idea? CBA 

(Recommended for 5

th

 Grade) 


 

The following document outlines only some of the many ways students could reach proficiency in responding to 

this particular CBA. It is meant to provide abbreviated examples

*

 of how the rubric works. It is recommended that 



for each criterion, you begin with Score Point 3 (“Meeting Standard): it is highlighted because the purpose of the 

task is to see if students can meet standard (i.e., reach proficiency). 

  

Criterion A – Position

Score 


Rubric Language 

Sample Response

4 – Excellent 

(Exceeding 

Standard) 

States a position on how an idea or 

technology affected people’s lives 

AND 


Makes a general statement about how 

technology or ideas affect our lives. 



The idea that “all men are created equal” led the Colonists to 

fight the British for their independence. It shows that if an 

idea is powerful enough, people will be willing to fight and 

die for it.  

3 – Proficient 

(Meeting 

Standard) 

States a position on how an idea or 

technology affected people’s lives. 

The idea that “all men are created equal” led the Colonists to 

fight the British for their independence. 

2 (and below) 

Partial (Not 

Meeting 


Standard) 

States a position on how an idea or 

technology affected people’s lives that is 

unclear. 



The idea that “all men are created equal” was important to 

the Colonists. 

 

Criterion B – Reasons & Evidence

Score 

Rubric Language 



Sample Credited Change in People’s Actions 

4 – Excellent 

(Exceeding 

Standard) 

Provides reason(s) for the position 

supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



An explanation of how the technology or 

idea led to three or more changes in 

people’s actions.

 

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal” in 



the Declaration of Independence in 1776.  When colonists 

read this declaration, they began to believe they were equal 

to the British living in England and they decided to fight in 

the Revolution. As a result, people joined the Continental 

Army because they believe in this idea (Marshall, 2003). 

 

 (Note: This only explains one change. To reach proficiency

a response would need to explain TWO changes.) 

3 – Proficient 

(Meeting 

Standard) 

Provides reason(s) for the position 

supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



An explanation of how the technology or 

idea led to two changes in people’s 

actions. 

2 (and below) 

Partial (Not 

Meeting 


Standard) 

Provides reason(s) for the position 

supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



An explanation of how the technology or 

                                                            

*

 Note: The source references and citations used in the sample credited responses are only meant to serve as illustrations of 



how the rubric works. They are not actual sources. 

Scoring Guide  

 

Elementary School – What’s the Big Idea? CBA 



 

 



 

idea led to one change in people’s 

actions. 

 

 



Criterion C – Reasons & Evidence

Score 


Rubric Language 

Sample Credited Change in People’s Beliefs 

4 – Excellent 

(Exceeding 

Standard) 

Provides reason(s) for the position 

supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



An explanation of how the technology or 

idea led to two changes in the values 

and/or beliefs of the people. 

Jefferson’s belief in equality also led some colonists to 

question the use of slavery. As a result of this idea, some 

considered trying to abolish slavery in the new United States 

of America when writing the Constitution,. They were 

unsuccessful in the 1700s but the idea that all men, including 

slaves, were equal would continue to grow and Americans 

would have to think about it again in the 1800s. 

 

(Note: This only explains one change. To reach “excellent,” a 

response would need to explain TWO changes.)

 

3 – Proficient 



(Meeting 

Standard) 

Provides reason(s) for the position 

supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



An explanation of how the technology or 

idea led to one change in the values 

and/or beliefs of the people. 

2 (and below) 

Partial (Not 

Meeting 


Standard) 

Provides reason(s) for the position 

supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



An explanation of how the technology or 

idea led to changes in the values and/or 

beliefs of the people without any specific 

examples. 



 

 

 

Criterion D – Listing Sources

Score 


Rubric Language 

Sample Credited Source

4 – Excellent 

(Exceeding 

Standard) 

 



Lists three sources including the title, 

author, type of source, and date of 

each source. 

Marshall, G. (2003). The Declaration of Independence: A 

Living Document. Waterfront Press, Chicago. 

(Note:  This only lists one source. To reach proficiency, a 

response needs to list TWO sources. In addition, it is 

recommended that teachers have a designated format for 

listing sources.) 

3 – Proficient 

(Meeting 

Standard) 

 



Lists two sources including the title, 

author, type of source, and date of 

each source. 

2 (and below) 

Partial (Not 

Meeting 


Standard) 

 



Lists one source including the title, 

author, type of source, and date of 

the source. 

 


Scoring Guide  

 

Elementary School – What’s the Big Idea? CBA 



 

 



 

Scored Student Samples: TO BE ADDED

*

 

 

Note: If you are interested in sharing samples of student responses to this CBA, please email Caleb Perkins 

(

Caleb.Perkins@k12.wa.us



). We are particularly interested in posting proficient responses in a variety of formats 

(e.g., essays, videotaped presentations, etc.). Your help is greatly appreciated.  

 

                                                            



*

 If you are interested in seeing sample responses to this CBA, please click on the link for the “Archived Anchor Sets.” However, 

please note that the “Archived Anchor Sets” are scored using a previous version of the CBA rubric. They are meant only to 

provide a basic sense of what the CBA is asking and how students could respond to this assessment. 



Senses  

 

We use all of our senses when we look at photographs.  As you look at the photos about the Grand Coulee 



Dam, think about what sense are evoked by the images.   

 

Touch 



Sound 

Taste 

Smell 

Sight 

Emotions 

 

Name: __________________ 

Date: __________________ 

Town Meeting Notes 

 

Town Name:  



 

Who are you?   

 

What is your role in the town? 



 

 

What is your position on the building of the dam? (are you for or against it) 



 

What are your reasons for you position? (you need at least 3 solid reasons) 

1.   

 

 



2.   

 

 



3.  

 

 



 

 

What is your final say in the building of the dam? 



 

 

 



 

After the town meeting, how did or didn’t your position change because of what your fellow town members 

had to say? 

 


Name: ________________________ 

Date: ________________________ 

You have learned many facts about the reasons for the Grand Coulee Dam, the building of it, and the affect it had on the 

environmnet and people around it.  Fill in the Venn Diagram below with the facts that would be considered good about the 

dam and bad about the dam as well as the facts that could be both.   

Both good 

and bad 

Who/What the dam hurt 

How the dam helped  


What’s the Big Idea? CBA  

 

 

Ideas and technology have enormous impact on the values, beliefs, and/or attitudes of people. You 

will write an essay or develop a presentation in which you explain how an idea or technology has 

affected the way people live. 

 

Directions to Students

1

 

 

In a cohesive paper or presentation



2

, you will: 

 

 

State a position on how an idea or technology affected people’s lives. 



 

 

Explain how the technology or idea led to two or more changes in people’s actions. 



 

 

Explain how the technology or idea led to one or more changes in people’s values 



and/or beliefs. 

 

 



List two sources including the title, author, type of source, and date of each source. 

                                                 

1

 

This directions page guides students towards the “proficient” level (level “3”) for this CBA. To help students reach “excellent” (level “4), 



please refer to the rubric or, if available, the graphic organizer. 

2

 



Students may do a paper or presentation in response to the CBA provided that for either format, there is documentation of this response that 

someone outside their classroom could easily understand and review using the rubric (e.g., a videotaped presentation, an electronic written 

document).  

Elementary 

School 

Recommended 



for 5

th

 Grade 



 

Elementary – What’s the Big Idea? CBA Rubric 

(Recommended for 5

th

 Grade

*

) 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------PASSING    NOT PASSING -------------------------------------------------------

 

GLE (EALR) 



4 - Excellent 

3 – Proficient 

2 - Partial 

1 - Minimal 

5.4.1. Researches multiple perspectives to 

take a position on a public or historical 

issue in a paper or presentation.  (5

th

 



Grade) 

(EALR 5.4. Creates a product…) 

 

4.2.3 Understands how technology and 



ideas affected the way people lived and 

changed their values, beliefs, and attitudes.  

 

 

 



States a position on how an idea or 

technology affected people’s lives 

AND 

Makes a general statement about how 



technology or ideas affect our lives. 

States a position on how an 

idea or technology affected 

people’s lives. 

States a position on how an 

idea or technology affected 

people’s lives that is unclear. 

Provides reasons for a 

possible position but 

does not state a position. 

Provides reason(s) for the position 

supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



 

An explanation of how the 



technology or idea led to three or 

more changes in people’s actions. 

Provides reason(s) for the 

position supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



 

An explanation of how the 



technology or idea led to 

two changes in people’s 

actions. 

Provides reason(s) for the 

position supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



 

An explanation of how the 



technology or idea led to 

one change in people’s 

actions. 

Provides reason(s) for 

the position without any 

supporting evidence. 

Provides reason(s) for the position 

supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



 

An explanation of how the 



technology or idea led to two 

changes in the values and/or 

beliefs of the people. 

Provides reason(s) for the 

position supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



 

An explanation of how the 



technology or idea led to 

one change in the values 

and/or beliefs of the 

people. 

Provides reason(s) for the 

position supported by evidence. 

 

The evidence includes: 



 

An explanation of how the 



technology or idea led to 

changes in the values 

and/or beliefs of the people 

without any specific 

examples. 

Provides reason(s) for 

the position without any 

supporting evidence. 

 5.4.2. Prepares a list of resources 

including the title, author, type of source, 

date published, and publisher for each 

source and arranges the sources 

alphabetically. (5

th

 Grade) 



(EALR 5.4. Creates a product…) 

 

Lists three sources including the title, 



author, type of source, and date of each 

source.


 

Lists two sources including the 

title, author, type of source, and 

date of each source. 

Lists one source including the 

title, author, type of source, and 

date of the source.

 

Lists source(s) but does 



not include the title, 

author, type of source, 

and date of the source 

for any of them.

 

 

                                                 



*

OSPI recommends that this CBA be used at a particular grade level and thus, the GLEs included in the rubric are for that grade. However, if the CBA is used at 

another grade level within the grade band (3-5, 6-8, or 9-12), the GLEs may need to change to match the appropriate content. 

 


 

 

Suggested Directions for Teachers – Elementary CBA 

 

Essential Question 

 

Discuss with students what the focus of the CBA is, why it is important, and how it is relevant to 



students’ lives. 

 

Develop and/or share Essential Questions with students on the topics, events, issues, or questions 



related to the CBA. 

(The suggested unit outlines that accompany the GLEs may be helpful in developing essential 

questions or choosing topics: 

http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/SocStudies/UnitOutlines.aspx

 

Key Concepts, Vocabulary, & Background Knowledge 



 

Select a topic, issue, event, or question related to the CBA. Use it as a model to help students 

understand the key concepts related to the CBA. 

 

*See glossary on page p. 77 of the Social Studies GLE document for definitions of key terms and 



concepts: 

http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/SocStudies/pubdocs/SocialStudiesGLEs.pdf

 

 

Review the background for the topics, issues, events, questions, and concepts related to the CBA. 



 

Have a discussion about topics, issues, events, questions, and concepts related to the CBA. 



 

Inquiry 

 

Determine the level of choice for students in selecting the topic, event, issue, or question for the 



assessment. It could be something related to the class or school, a school issue, something 

historical, or something related to a current local, state, national, or global issue, etc. Possible ways 

of determining the topic, event, issue, or question include having:  

 

Students choose from a predetermined list of issues; OR 



 Teachers 

select 


it. 

 

 



Have the students brainstorm stakeholders related to the topic, event, issue, or question. 

 

 



Have the students brainstorm relevant sources. 

 

 



Model how to locate information about the topic, event, issue, or question and the multiple 

perspectives on it using pre-selected sources (newspapers articles, websites, etc.). 

 

 

Have students look at sources related to the topic, event, issue, or question and the multiple 



stakeholder perspectives. This can be done as a whole class activity, in small groups, or 

individually and with pre-selected resources or student generated research. Students can be 

assigned stakeholder roles for in-depth research. 

 

 



Model how to document the sources of information properly (see rubric). 

 

 



Discussion 

 

Hold a class discussion on the topic, event, issue, or question. 



 

 

Determine a type of public forum to hold with the class. Students can keep notes (see graphic 



organizer provided) on stakeholder perspectives, their positions, and their reasons. Some options 

for the forum are: 

 

 

A town meeting on the topic, event, issue, or question with the stakeholder 



positions represented (if relevant).  

 

Hold a debate with students role-playing multiple perspectives. 



 

Hold a summit with discussion around the multiple perspectives. 

 

Conduct a Socratic Seminar. 



 

 

 



 

Organization, Synthesis, Position & Presentation 

 

Introduce students to the assessment task, including the “Student Directions” page and the rubric 



 

Have students use their inquiry notes and research to complete the final product graphic organizer. 

 

Have students develop an initial draft of a coherent paper or presentation that address all aspects 



of the rubric. 

 

Allow students opportunities to receive feedback on their paper or presentation for any aspects of 



the paper or presentation not scored on the rubric, such as conventions. 

 

Have students complete a final form of their paper or presentation. 



 

Score student’s final work using the rubric and/or the scoring matrix. 

 

Consider opportunities for students to present their work to a meaningful audience. 



 

Teachers integrating writing with social studies are encouraged to use one of the WASL 

checklists with students. 

 

 

WASL Writing Checklist (Grade 4) 

 

 



My writing will be very good if I have thoughtful and specific content and organize my 

writing.  That means I should 

 

  follow the directions given in the CBA; 



  narrow my topic; 

  stay focused on my main ideas, 

  elaborate by using reasons, well-chosen and specific details, examples, and/or experiences 

to support my ideas; 

  include information that is interesting, thoughtful, and necessary for my audience to know; 

  organize my writing so that there is an opening/introduction, a middle, and a conclusion; 

  organize my writing in paragraphs;  

  use words that help show how my ideas are connected. 

 

My writing will be very good if I have an interesting style.  That means I should 

 

  show that I care about my topic, 



  use language that fits my audience and purpose, 

  use words and phrases that help the reader understand my ideas,  

  use different types of sentences. 

 

My writing will be very good if I follow conventions in writing.  That means I should 



 

  follow the rules of correct English grammar and usage (for example, correct pronoun for 

subject, verb endings, subject-verb agreement), 

  spell words correctly, 

 use 

correct 


capitalization, 

  use correct punctuation (periods, commas, quotation marks, question marks), 

  write complete sentences,  

  show where new paragraphs begin. 



Graphic Organizer for What’s the Big Idea? CBA 

 

Idea or Technology 



 

 

 



 

Position 

 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

Position on Idea or Technology: 



 

 

 



 

How technology or ideas affect our lives (in general): 

Reasons for the Position 

1

st



 effect of idea or technology on people’s actions: 

 

 



Connection to Your Position: 

 

2



nd

 effect of idea or technology on people’s actions: 

 

Connection to Your Position: 



 

 

3



rd

 effect of idea or technology on people’s actions: 

 

Connection to Your Position: 



 

 

1



st

 change in values or beliefs: 

 

 

Connection to Your Position:  



2

nd

 change in values or beliefs: 



 

 

Connection to Your Position:  



 

Document Outline

  • Grand Coulee Dam Project
    • Grand Coulee Dam project plans
    • Grand Coulee Dam presentation
      • Grand Coulee Dam
      • Learning about the good and bad about the Grand Coulee Dam
      • Guiding Question
      • Long-Term Learning Targets
      • Lesson Overview
      • Evidence Journals
      • Some Activities
      • Town Meeting
      • Sharing our Knowledge
    • Checklist for Expository Writing
      • Grade 6, 7, 8
      • Fall
      • Checklist for Expository Writing 
    • Grand Coulee Dam Now student worksheet
    • people posters
    • Pod Cast write-up
    • ScoringGuide-ESWhatstheBigIdeaCBA
    • Senses recording sheet
    • Town Meeting Notes
    • Venn Diagram
    • WhatsTheBigIdea-CBA
    • WhatsTheBigIdea-SupportMaterials
      • WASL Writing Checklist (Grade 4)

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