The 1962 Seattle World's Fair 50th Anniversary Curriculum


April 26, 2012 - AKCHO Heritage Education Award presented to KCTS 9, HistoryLink.org & Seattle Center Foundation for the 1962 World's Fair 50th Anniversary Curriculum. Learn More

Imagine: Looking Forward by Looking Back

The Imagine curriculum was developed as a project of The Next Fifty in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. This curriculum uses the fair, also known as the Century 21 Exposition, as a lens through which students will examine life in the Pacific Northwest fifty years ago and identify similarities and differences in today’s world. The curriculum challenges students to use the past as a tool to understand the present and imagine the future. Read More

Ten individual units provide interesting and relevant themes, ranging from the emergence of civil rights for women and communities of color; the changing geography (both physical and human) of the Pacific Northwest; the differences in marketing, advertising, popular culture, and technology; to the lasting physical, cultural, and personal legacies of the fair. Carefully planned activities provide background information, primary and secondary sources, worksheets, audio and video clips, maps, and suggested teaching strategies.

Developed by partners including HistoryLink.org, KCTS 9, The National Archives in Seattle and the Seattle Time’s Newspapers in Education, the Imagine curriculum content and format were developed to align with Washington State Academic Standards, National Social Studies Themes, National Geography Standards, and Newman’s Criteria for Authentic Assessment. All unit and extension activities have been designed to enhance the basic themes of The Next Fifty by stimulating imagination, encouraging innovation, and promoting individual and group involvement.


  • Intro
  • Unit 1
  • Unit 2
  • Unit 3
  • Unit 4
  • Unit 5
  • Unit 6
  • Unit 7
  • Unit 8
  • Unit 9
  • Unit 10

This unit provides basic information about the Imagine project and its sponsors.



Students will explore primary and secondary sources related to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair to compare, contrast, and interpret where we were 50 years ago, where we are today, and where we will be in the future. It is recommended that basic information and/or selected activities from this unit be reviewed prior to using units 2-10 in order to introduce students to the Seattle World’s Fair and what life was like in 1962. (Appropriate for grades 3-12)


Students will identify which landmarks and events (from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair) were viewed as most significant as interpreted through souvenirs and stories that have been saved through the years. (Appropriate for grades 3-4)

Students will learn which states and nations participated in the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and how specific symbols represented each. (Appropriate for grades 3-4)


Students will travel along with the authors of original historical postcards from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair to analyze who came to the fair, how they got there, and why they came. Students are challenged to interpret how these journeys differ from those students might take today. (Appropriate for grades 3-11)


Students will examine how women were involved in and portrayed at the fair by looking at a variety of primary and secondary sources. Students will learn an engaging way to present their conclusions -- by creating their own document-based plays. (Appropriate for grades 7-12)


Students will use music and popular culture to navigate across time, space, and cultural perspectives by comparing trends of 1962 to those of today. (Appropriate for grades 4-12)


Students will learn about the historical framework, technological methods, and actual events portrayed at the U.S. Science Pavilion at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and analyze the relationship of the international space-race to the fair and public sentiment. (Appropriate for grades 6-12)


Students will investigate a selection of primary and secondary sources, including The Seattle Times Historical Archives, to identify how societal and political themes and technology have changed from the 1960s to today. (Appropriate for grades 10-12, Economics)

APPENDIX

  1. Appendix 1, Resources: Annotated list of 1962 Seattle World’s Fair primary and secondary sources, exhibits, and events.
  2. Appendix 2, Walking Tour: A simple walking tour that can be used as a field trip or to develop field trip activities. Photos
  3. Appendix 3, Curriculum Team: More about the educators who developed this curriculum and contact information
  4. Appendix 4, Oral History Techniques and Projects: Simple suggestions to get you started on a basic oral history project.