Washington State
A Pathfinder for 4th Grade

If you're looking for kid-friendly information about Washington State, START HERE!

This pathfinder will help you find information in your school library media center, on the Internet, and in the community about the State of Washington.  

Ready to begin your research? Click on a link to start.


Print Resources-Books and Magazines

There are many wonderful books for kids about Washington State. A few of the books are listed below. To locate more books, use the suggested keywords and phrases to search the online library catalog.

508.797 Nel Nelson, Sharlene P. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. New York : Children's Press, 1997.
Describes the destruction caused by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 and the slow return of plants and animal life.
550 Alt Alt, David D. Roadside Geology of Washington. Missoula, Mont. : Mountain Press Pub. Co., c1984.
This book focuses on the most visible, most significant, and most intriguing aspects of the geology of Washington State.
599.74 Geo George, Jean Craighead. The Moon of the Mountain Lions. New York : HarperCollins, 1991, c1969.
Describes the experiences of a young mountain lion during the month of August in his natural habitat on the side of Mount Olympus, in Washington State.
970.4 MCK McKeown, Martha Ferguson. Come to Our Salmon Feast.
Here you will read, and see, how Indian boys caught salmon in a dip net, and how they shared in the great feast in the long house.
979.7 Coc Cocke, William. A Historical Album of Washington. Brookfield, Conn. : Millbrook Press,1995.
A history of Washington, from its early exploration and settlement to the state today.
979.7 Hir Hirschi, Ron. People of Salmon and Cedar. New York : Cobblehill Books/Dutton, c1996.
Presents the world of the Northwest Coast Indians, showing their interaction with and dependence on the natural world around them.
979.7 Hit Hitchman, Robert. Place Names of Washington. Tacoma, Wash. : Washington State Historical Society, 1985.
979.7 Phi Phillips, James Wendell. Washington State Place Names. Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1971.
979.7 Pow Powell, E.S. Washington. (Hello, USA Series). Lerner. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1993.
Introduces the geography, history, people, industry and highlights of Washington State.
979.7 Ste Stein, R. Conrad. Washington (America the Beautiful Series). Children's Press. Chicago, 1992.
Introduction to the geography, history, economy, people and interesting sites of Washington State.
979.7 Tho Thompson, Kathleen. Washington. Austin, TX : Raintree Steck-Vaughn, c1996.
Discusses the geography, history, industries, and culture of "The Evergreen State."
FIC Hol Holm, Jennifer L. Our Only May Amelia. New York : HarperCollins, 1999.
As the only girl in a Finnish American family of seven brothers, May Amelia Jackson resents being expected to act like a lady while growing up in Washington state in 1899.
FIC Jes Jessett, Thomas E. The Indian Side of the Whitman Massacre. Fairfield, Washington. Ye Galleon Press, 1985.
Presents the Indian version of the Whitman Massacre.
FIC Keh Kehret, Peg. Nightmare Mountain. New York : Cobblehill Books/Dutton,1989.
Twelve-year-old Molly's visit to her aunt and uncle's llama ranch in the state of Washington leads her into unexpected danger and suspense. 
FIC Lue Luenn, Nancy. A Horse's Tale. Seattle, WA. Parenting Press, 1989.
REF 979.7 Sco Scott, James William. Historical Atlas of Washington. Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, c1988.
REF 979.7 Mor Morgan, Murray Cromwell. Over Washington. Seattle, Wash. : Weldon Owen in association with KCTS, 1989.
REF 917.9704 Kir Kirk, Ruth. Exploring Washington's Past: A Road Guide to History. Seattle :University of Washington Press, c1990.  
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Online Resources-Internet Sites

The Web sites listed on this page have been previewed and selected for this topic. If additional information is needed, use the suggested keywords and phrases to search the Internet.

Mostly General Information

Access Washington is the homepage for Washington State. You'll find lots of information about the state government.

JUST FOR KIDS! is a part of the Washington Homepage site. You can access interesting facts about Washington State, find out the state's official bird, song, flower and more. - locate songs, bird, maps, and other facts about Washington State. If you are looking for famous people from our state, click on biographies.

History (Mostly)

Visit the Whitman Mission NHS Homepage to learn about early history of the Washington territory.

Have you ever wondered about the names of some towns and cities in Washington, such as Puyallup or Wenatchee? You can find out about the origin of the names at Washington Place Names, a database from Tacoma Public Library.

1895 Atlas Washington - What did Washington State look like 100 years ago? Print state and county maps from 1895

Boom Towns & Relic Hunters of Northeastern Washington - a comprehensive ghost town website dedicated specifically to the history of Northeastern Washington, its pioneers, Native Americans, and ghost towns.

Welcome to the History Lab - The Time and Place for History

Native Americans of Washington State Pathfinder (in progress)

Geography (Mostly)

Across Washington Project - This website offers online projects designed to join together students in learning about Washington state while using the Washington State EALRs as a guide to instruction and projects.

Washington Forest Protection Association for Teachers - The environmental education program at WFPA offers two programs for teaching about environmental education and Washington forests:

  • Project Learning Tree presents a balanced approach to environmental education - includes activity guides for teachers to use in their classrooms.
  • Forests of Washington activity guides include two separate guides: Ecosystems & People and History. The Forests of Washington activities are specific to Washington State and provide teachers with the material they need to educate about the complex issues surrounding Washington's forests.

Geography World - This site is a treasure trove of information about the geography (mostly) of the U.S. Be sure to check out the 10 Risky Places to Live in U.S. Find out why Seattle, WA is on the list!

Washington State Maps & Geography - Travel-in Washington links to Far Out Facts, Washington Counties, Washington's Volcanoes and Washington's Rivers. Includes an interactive Washington image that requires Shockwave.

HRW WORLD ATLAS - Washington - a topographical map from Holt Rinehart and Winston.

CCRH Homepage - Investigate the Columbia River and its history.

Washington State Climate Map - Interactive site that gives information on climate in regions and cities of Washington.

Visit these sites to find out about our volatile volcanoes:

Economics (Mostly)

Raised in Washington and Grown in Washington contain excellent information about the state's farming industry (which includes aquaculture), brought to you by the the P-I News for Kids section of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Be sure to visit The Importance of Export.

Washington State Tourism Home Page has information about tourism and general facts about the state.

Civics (Mostly)

At the Washington State Legislature Kid's Page, learn how a bill becomes a law, discover the symbols of our state, connect to the Department of Natural Resources Kids' Page, learn how to participate in the Page Program for the State Senate, and more.

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Videos, CD-ROM, Laserdiscs, etc.

Our library has the following multimedia resources on your topic:
CD-ROM 979.7 Sou - The Sound, Puget Sound Multimedia CD-ROM produced by the University of Washington.
Interactive CD-ROM encourages users to explore the properties, ecosystems, species, status, marine affairs, solutions and recreation of Puget Sound. Be sure to see the geologic formation of Washington.
Available in WSD libraries. See ordering information at The Sound, Puget Sound Multimedia CD-ROM for additional copies.
Laserdisc 979.7 Was - Washington History Series. Videodiscovery,1991.
A collection of mini-documentaries on Pacific Northwest history and geography based on the KCTS Over Washington series. Includes 2 interactive videodiscs in English and in Spanish. Guide with barcodes is included.
Covers the early explorers and settlers, natural forces that formed Washington, technological changes that challenge us in efforts to preserve our natural heritage.
Search the North Central ESD Media Coop Online Catalog for Washington State videos and laserdiscs. Teachers can book online. Students - ask your teacher to send for the material you need.
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Dewey Decimal Numbers to Browse

If you want to browse the shelves in the library to locate information about Washington State, look for these numbers:

  • 979 - Pacific Coast States
  • 979.9 - Washington State
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Keywords and Phrases for Searching

Do you need additional information? Use these words and phrases to search Electric Library, KidQuest Magazine Index, the library online catalog, CD-ROM or print encyclopedias, and the World Wide Web:

  • Washington State
  • Columbia River
  • Cascade Mountains
  • Pacific Northwest 
  • Names of communities, such as Chelan
  • Names of important people, such as Gary Locke
  • Names of landforms, such as Mount St. Helens
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Community Resources-People and Places

The following community contacts may help you with your topic:  

North Central Washington Museum - offers a variety of exhibits interpreting regional history, including the late 19th century entry into the area by miners, trappers, and settlers, the homesteading era and the growth of the community.

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 Information Literacy EALRs for Washington State


2. The student applies the methods of social science investigation to investigate, compare and contrast interpretations of historical events

To meet this standard, the student will:
2.1 investigate and research  

Benchmark 1

  • ask questions to identify a problem from the past
  • locate, gather, and process information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including photographs, drawings, artifacts, oral accounts, and documents

2.2 analyze historical information

Benchmark 1

  • organize and record information
  • compare and contrast information from different historical sources

2.3 synthesize information and reflect on findings

Benchmark 1

  • express findings; explain why interpretations of the same historical event can differ
  • examine earlier steps in the investigative process and propose improvements to the process used


1. The student uses maps, charts, and other geographic tools to understand the spatial arrangement of people, places, resources, and environments on Earth's surface.

To meet this standard, the student will:

1.1 use and construct maps, charts, and other resources  

Benchmark 1

  • examine a variety of maps to describe basic mapping elements, for example title, legend, direction and grid
  • design a simple map of a local area that displays information using symbols explained in a key

1.2 recognize spatial patterns on Earth's surface and understand the processes that create these patterns

Benchmark 1

  • locate places, major physical features, and human spatial patterns such as states, cities, rivers, and population distribution using maps, globes, and other sources
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