History & Geography Unit 1-2: Washington’s Geography

History & Geography Unit 1-2: Washington’s Geography

Grade Level:


Scope & Sequence:

World History (600-1450) & Washington State History & Government (Tribal History)


The students can give examples of physical features, identify the land regions and landforms where the students live, understand that all cultures have creation stories and that Speelya plays a large part in the STOI’s creation stories.


The students will:

Locate WA on a map of the USA, North America, and the world, the students will be able to locate the Spokane Reservation…and the original lands the Spokane’s inhabited. The students will be able to define geography and chosen physical features and label a State with correct land features. Students will be able retell a Speelya story and how it coordinates with the creation of WA State’s features.

Spokane Tribal Values

  • Speelya Creation stories
  • Tribal map: upper, middle, lower location.
  • Location of STOI Reservation. of life.


Teacher’s Vocabulary:

  • Creation stories: Speelya
  • Physical Features, see vocabulary below
  • The Terms Upper, Middle, and Lower Spokane’s–used as a form of classifying the Spokane Indians.

Student Vocabulary:

  • Geography
  • Spi lya?
  • Coulee
  • Physical features
  • Palouse
  • glacier
  • Archipelago
  • Island
  • Hill
  • Basin
  • Isthmus
  • Plain
  • Canyon
  • Mountain range
  • Peninsula
  • Continent
  • Mountain
  • Plateau
  • Valley
  • Bands

Lesson Plan

  • Give examples of Physical Features. See website: https://quizlet.com/15433737/physical-land-featuresflash-cards/
  • Hand out a map of WA that has physical features. With the student’s elbow partner, fill in the map with the correct names for the physical features.
  •  Identify the major landforms of WA
  • Identify the land region and landforms where the students live
  • Discuss the fact that scientist can explain how mountains, rivers… were created…
  • Discuss with the students that each culture has their own creation stories that explain why/how things were created.
  • Discuss STOI Bands and their traditional lands (Upper, Middle, Lower) (The Teacher will explain that the terms “upper, middle, lower Spokane’s, were terms used by the Whites as a form of Classification).
  •  Locate on a Map.
  • Hand-out Speelya story “___________”, and discuss how it helps to tell the story of how something was created and why. (use marking the text strategies)


  • Students will be given a map of WA and the students will correctly label the physical features of Washington.
  • The students will be able to retell/write the Speelya story and tell how it relates to Washington’s geography.


Materials Needed:

  • Map of WA with physical features / Pencil.
  • Coyote (Spi lya?) stories: Read in Salish:
    • Why the Coeur D’Alene’s don’t have salmon
    • Upper Spokane River and how it was created
    • War between land creatures and water creatures
    • Salmon and Rattle Snake
  • https://quizlet.com/15433737/physical-land-features-flash-cards/ 
  • List of geographical terms in Salish and English
  • Website to hear the Salish pronunciation of each word, and the Spi lya? Stories being read.


  • Using the website “quizlet”, show the students the pictures of the vocabulary word, next show and read the definition of the Physical feature word.
  • Have the students illustrate and write the definitions on to index cards.
  • Students will play a concentration type game with each other. On the floor or A large table, the students will try to make matches with their flash cards. Matching up the correct picture with the appropriate definition.
  • Discuss the idea that each culture is unique, yet has an important part in world history.
  • Introduce the STOI
  • Next, the students will be given a Spokane Tribal Speelya Stories that will explain the creation of physical features around our state. *Listen to the story being read in the language of the Spokane’s – Salish. Listen to the Salish pronunciation of the physical features that are this week’s vocab words.
  • The students will create their own Spi lya? stories that explain how one of the Physical features of Washington was created.

Lesson PDF Download

Related Videos

Related Images

Community Resources

Lesson Assigned To:

  • Geography: 1.2.2, 2.1.2, 3.1.2, 3.2.2
  •  History: 1.3.2, 1.1.


Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy: RH 6-8.2, RH 6-8.7, RH 6-8.8

Spokane Tribal Standards

  • Language: Coyote Stories & video/recording of Salish
  • Terms
  • Preservation: Historical Information
  • DNR: Historical Map