Students do a “jigsaw” activity as an introduction to the peoples of Oregon. They record the findings of their research in a graphic organizer, and compare notes with other students in order to learn general background information about each group.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Oregon | Unit 1: Introduction to Oregon." In this introductory unit, students will look at what makes Oregon special. Students will learn about early Oregon history, settlement patterns, and cultural groups who live there. The materials and activities in this unit will give students a more nuanced understanding of how to set about learning about their state.
30 minutes (allow 45 minutes if traveling to a library)
4.2: Explain how key individuals and events influenced the early growth and changes in Oregon.
4.7: Use primary and secondary sources to create or describe a narrative about events in Oregon history.
- Research books, computers, tablets, or a school library (whichever possible)
- Class set of Cultures of Oregon graphic organizer
- Ask students if they know when or how their families came to be in Oregon. Then, indicate that they will be doing preliminary research about some of the groups that have come to the area we now call the state of Oregon. They will be focusing on the difficulties confronted by each group and how the group influenced the economy, environment, culture, and history of Oregon.
- Pass out the Cultures of Oregon graphic organizer. This activity is conducted in the “jigsaw” cooperative learning style. Divide students into six groups by having them count off by six. Form “expert” groups by having students with the same number work together.
- Assign each with one of the groups of people from the organizer to research. Within each group, a student can be assigned a category to focus on. Research resources will depend on the availability of books, computers, textbooks, etc., in your classroom. If possible, expand this activity by planning a trip to a school library.
- The intention is for students to do this as an introductory exercise, as they will be learning more about each of these groups throughout the year. Therefore, students should only be given 15 minutes to research their category.
- Students will then share the information they have found in “home” groups comprised of six students, each from one of the expert groups (each with a different number). Every student should thus complete their graphic organizer.
- To conclude the lesson, each “home” group will develop one question that they would like the class to answer about each of the groups of people they have just learned about. They may also share one fact they find especially interesting.
Note to teachers: The “impact” column should refer to what each group has contributed to Oregon as a collective: culture, economic impact, etc.