Lesson Plans

Students attend class on the PSU park blocks, 1973


Using The OE in the Classroom

Public history resources are designed to serve wide audiences, and this one fulfills that purpose; but The OE is particularly suited for the classroom. The entries are written by experts in their subjects, and meticulously researched and fact-checked. Over 600 contributors from around the state have given their knowledge, expertise, and their voices to this one-of-a-kind public history site. The topics are varied, the entries are short, and the list of subjects is growing. 

Continue to refer to The Oregon Encyclopedia for additional resources on how to integrate The OE into the classroom. If you are an educator who is currently using The OE to teach history, literacy, and language arts curriculum, please let us know how you use this important resource with your students. We are always looking for new and creative teaching ideas to share with teachers across the state.

The Editors-in-Chief

History Minutes

Start the school day with a minute of Oregon History. History Minutes were developed as a collaborative project between The Oregon Encyclopedia (OE), the Oregon History Project (OHP), and the Oregon State Legislature. Each morning during the 2009 legislative session, a "minute of Oregon history" was read before the state's senators and representatives in commemoration of Oregon's Sesquicentennial. Each History Minute describes a valuable piece of Oregon history, part of the state's past that tells the story of Oregon's people and places.

Click here for the OE History Minutes page.

Lesson Plans

Elementary School Lesson Plan: Our Classroom Encyclopedia
Recommended for grades 4-6
Developed by Bethany Andrews, Jacob Carter, and Matthew Epplin

Middle School Lesson Plan: "Our Oregon"
Recommended for grades 6-8
Developed by Christine Campanella and Catherine Mermelstein

High School Lesson Plan: How to write for an encyclopedia
Recommended for grades 9-12
Developed by Santha Cassell

Primary Source Packets 

"Mixing the Devil's Broth": The Compulsory Education Act of 1922

The Compulsory Public School Attendance Bill was an initiative to amend the Compulsory Education Act that compelled children between the ages of eight and sixteen to attend public schools. Inaugurated by the Scottish-rite Masons of Oregon, the initiative measure appeared on the November 7, 1922, Oregon ballot.

Proponents of the measure—including the Ku Klux Klan and the Federation of Patriotic Societies—believed that the measure was necessary to preserve and perpetuate a homogeneous American culture. Opponents argued that the measure not only violated constitutionally guaranteed property rights but also posed a threat to religious freedom and the ability of parents to educate their children in accordance with their faith and conscience. SEE THE DOCUMENTS

  devil's broth

Digital Exhibits


Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde

The people of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde represent almost thirty different tribes and bands that the U.S. government removed to the Grand Ronde Reservation in the nineteenth century. The history of the reservation—and how so many western Oregon Native people came to reside there—is long and complex. With support from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the Oregon Historical Society is working with scholars in an ongoing effort to create Oregon Encyclopedia entries on the people, places, and events connected to the history of the Grand Ronde people.

"A Symbol of Home": The Environmental and Political Legacy of Tom McCall in Oregon

Famous for his forceful language and political skill, Governor Tom McCall has remained the name and face of Oregon's remarkable legacy of environmental lawmaking. His environmental efforts were not the earliest in the state, nor were his achievements his alone; but he provided people with a compelling and ambitious narrative that emphasized citizen responsibility to protect the land and its resources. This narrative continues to inform many aspects of lawmaking and advocacy in Oregon.

"Our Interests Are Identified": Oregon Statehood

Each year, Oregon Statehood Day on February 14, prompts us to consider the myriad social, economic, and political conditions that led to Oregon becoming part of the federal union. Some developments that led to statehood, such as the Tribes’ cession of their homelands through treaties with the federal government, were profound in content and consequence. Others arose from specific political and economic conditions, such as the creation of a Provisional Government in 1843 or the implementation of the Oregon Donation Land Act of 1850. We can better understand the advent of statehood by paying close attention to how resettlers in Oregon consciously formed a new state in 1859.


Need a great interactive research tool for your students?


Try Answerland, the Oregon online reference service. Librarians from Oregon and around the country help answer your research questions through live chat, email, or text. 

Click here

By using The Oregon Encyclopedia in the classroom, teachers can address the following Oregon Department of Education Social Studies Standards:

State & Local History: Understand and interpret the history of the state of Oregon.

  • Understand and interpret events, issues, and developments in Oregon history.
  • Understand and interpret events, issues, and developments in local history.

Social Science Analysis: Design and implement strategies to analyze issues, explain perspectives, and resolve issues using the social sciences.

  • Identify, research, and clarify an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon of significance to society.
  • Gather, use, and evaluate researched information to support analysis and conclusions.
  • Understand an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from multiple perspectives.
  • Identify and analyze characteristics, causes, and consequences of an event, issue, problem or phenomenon.
  • Identify, compare, and evaluate outcomes, responses, or solutions; then reach a supported conclusion.