Washington State Living History Program
This field trip to Waskowitz Outdoor School allows students to travel back in time to the pioneer period in the Snoqualmie River Valley. It augments the 4th grade Washington State History curriculum. The program features four rotations where students experience life in the Washington Territory during the mid-1800s. In each rotation, Waskowitz staff and high school student leaders reenact historical lifestyle and industry, while participants practice an experiential model of education, using their imaginations and hands to gain a deeper appreciation of our state’s foundation.
On arrival at Waskowitz, 4th graders are welcomed into our trading post by the town sheriff. After a brief orientation to time, place, the day’s activities, and an introduction to some local characters, students are ready begin their experience. Small groups are dismissed to begin the first of four rotations. After two rotations, students reconvene for lunch. Two final rotations close out our day before students reload the buses for a memorable farewell, courtesy of local miners and the sheriff.
While students are participating in orientation, teachers and chaperones get a quick introduction to the program and are assigned a few important roles/tasks, including guidance on responsibilities related to safe use of tools.
Students are introduced to a log cabin-style homestead and work as a team to build a small cabin (think extreme Lincoln Logs). Students are also tasked with various chores, including food production, laundry and general homestead maintenance. As a reward for their hard work, students are introduced to a variety of pioneer style games.
Mining (Gold and Coal)
Gold mining features the use of a sluice box and gold panning. Somehow each student seems to find a piece of “gold” to take home. Students also enter our replica coal mine and extract coal with a rope and pulley while learning about the hazards associated with mining and the natural history of coal.
Here students get the chance to work for the Northern Pacific Railroad Company building the railroad. Like other areas, students use real tools -- rail lifters, bar claw and spike maul -- to move in the ties and rails and build the track. Safety is our first priority, so students are taught how to lift with their legs and work as a team.
The logging area, operated by the North Bend Logging Company, has real tools including a cross cut saw, cant hooks and timber tongs, which students learn to use safel, and under careful supervision.
Living history programming is incorporated directly into lunch. After eating in our dining hall but before resuming the final two rotations, students review a regional timeline and learn about the Native American presence and cultural history predating western settlement.
Through experiential hands-on learning, 4th grade students are transported back in time to learn about Washington state history. Watch this video created by Mr. Fladland, a fourth-grade teacher at North Bend Elementary.