I promised the kids we would study Texas history next year. I’m amazingly excited about this, and I’m also starting to think of projects we can do with our history lessons, field trips we can take, and how amazing this is going to be. It’s going to be an awesome year of Texas history, and certainly better than when I took it in 7th grade from a coach, who had just moved to Texas, and it was her first year teaching.
I did not learn so much that year….. So, I’m preparing by gathering all of the Texas history resources I can find. I was relieved to find a great Texas history curriculum to use, so I won’t end up writing one. That idea scared me.
For each section I’m going to be linking to hands on Texas history lessons, interactive notebooks, and field trips I find. I’m pretty sure I’ll be updating this post ever so often as I find more subjects.
I’ve also got all of these ideas and a few that didn’t fit the hands on aspect on my Texas history pinterest board.
Every Texas history curriculum starts off with a unit on Texas geography. That’s because you need to understand the geography of an area for its history to make sense (I really should write a nice long post about this, my high school history teacher certainly lectured me enough on this topic that I could retell it).
As a side note, not too surprisingly I haven’t found a lot of hands on Texas history ideas for our Texas geography unit, so some of these posts I’m going to include notes on how I want to make it more hands on. I’m also including links to any and all notebooking or lapbooking pages I find.
Texas geography lessons
- make a salt dough map- because what kind of geography lesson would it be if you didn’t make one
- side note, I’m also planning on using this book from Triumphant Learning because I love the illustrations explaining different geography terms.
- regions of Texas sensory map– after searching I couldn’t find a blog post for this, so there is only the image of it. I did find a link to a different idea, that I’ll be linking to down below
- make a sticker map of Texas with its products for the region– a great variation if you don’t want to work with glitter or sand
- There are several more variations on mini-books, but I’m trying as much as possible to keep this to hands-on components, but I do want to point out this interactive regions of Texas mini books. Because I like mini-books with flaps and things.
Symbols of Texas lessons
- Bluebonnets– I think every Texan has done this at some point, and I know it always gets a lot of traffic in the spring here.
- Texas small mammal craft– because everyone needs a paper plate armadillo
- Texas symbols minibook- again I love mini-books (is it mini book, mini-book, or minibook?
- My Texas symbols notebook– this site is a fourth grade Texas history teacher, and I’m going to be linking to her a lot
- Texas symbols coloring page
No field trips for Texas geography
The big thing I remember from my Texas history class in college (aside from my thorough dislike of having a class through the dinner hour) was the Karankawa tribe from the coastal region were cannibals. That would be why I dropped Texas history the first time, because that was the first class, and that rather put me off my dinner that night.
Sadly, it was only offered at that time, every semester, so I had a few days where I lost my appetite because that particular subject features in some of my nightmares.
Also the word Texas means friend in Caddo.
- Make a paper craft project of a Caddo home
- Karankawa video
- Native Texans unit
- uses for a buffalo (applicable for the panhandle region)- I’m trying to think how I’ll best use this
- Texas natives map– I want to turn this into an interactive map, but I’m not quite sure how yet
- Texas natives unit study– I like the activities in this project.
- World of the Caddo site
- Natives of Southwest Texas unit
- Learn About Texas Indians– looks to be from the Texas State parks, I couldn’t find the landing page it came from (as I prefer not to link straight to PDFs)
Field trips for Texas Natives
- Palo Duro Canyon– there’s a little bit of native history here, but not much
- El Camino Real
- Lipantitlan State Historic Site– this is actually relevant to a couple of different eras, the Revolution and the cattle drive era
Spanish Texas, Texas colonization
While Texas was predominately colonized by Spain, there were colonists from France and Germany as well (technically the Holy Roman Empire because Germany didn’t exist yet, but still). Also, I didn’t really find a lot of good hands on lessons for this, but did find a few interesting lesson ideas. We’ll be doing some Lego history lessons for the explorers in this time, and a few simulations I know for sure.
- Spanish missions in Texas video
- Spanish missions in Texas video
- Stephen F. Austin colonization letter
- Why move to Texas?
- roles of Emprasarios in Texas colonization
- Going to Texas role play
- Colonization simulation
- Pioneers role play– Phyllis has an awesome pioneers role playing unit she’s been sharing, and I plan to modify it for Texas history…..
Spanish Texas, Texas colonization field trips
- Missions at San Antonio
- Pioneer Farms
- Washington on the Brazos
- Goliad State Park– this is also relevant for the Texas Revolution and some other time periods as well
- Wolf Creek Heritage Museum
- Stephen F. Austin park
Texas Revolution history lessons
The interesting thing about the Texas Revolution is its length of time. Unlike pretty much all other revolutiosn of that time period, it was accomplished in less than a year.
Or course just a few years later Mexico and the United States would be in a war together, largely over Texas, but that’s another story. One I’ll include down with the Republic of Texas time period
- Battle of the Alamo– quite a fun re-enactment
- Texas Revolution notebook
- Texas Revolution leaders notebook
- Texas Revolution game
- Alamo games
- Alamo resources
I could link to about 5 more interactive notebooking things, but I didn’t find much in the way of hands on lessons
Field Trips for the Texas Revolution
Republic of Texas
For a short time period, Texas was its own country. I’m looking forward to digging into this.
- Sam Houston– president of Texas AND governor of the state…
- campaign for President of Texas
- Sam Houston v. Mirabeau Lamar
Republic of Texas field trip
You cannot study Texas history without looking at the Texas Rangers, and how law was enforced during this time.
- Local legends and gunfighters– sprinkled all throughout Texas are numerous stories of gun fighters
- Texas rangers primary source
- lone stars and gun smoke
- Texas Rangers reading exercise
- Texas Rangers and the Texas Revolution
- Texas Rangers video series
field trips for Texas Rangers
- Texas Ranger museum– I’m super excited to go here
Texas is all about land and cattle. Cattle rustlers, cattle drives, and the Chisholm Trail.
- Following the Chisholm Trail– I can’t wait to repeat this activity
- Cowboy and Cattle Drives
- Texas Cattle Drive simulation– interactive website
- Texas Cattle Drive simulation
- Cattle Drive scenario
- Cowboys and cattle drives
Field Trips for Cattle Drives
- Chisholm Trail Williamson County Museum– I cannot wait to go through this museum
- King Ranch
- Texas Railroad Museum
- Old Red Museum
- Fanthrop Inn
Civil War and Reconstruction lessons
Of all the Confederate states, Texas is only tangentially involved in the Civil War because of its distance from all of the major battles, and it’s relative unimportance strategically.
- Juneteenth– when the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, and that is why this is a Texas, not a national holiday
- Civil War activities for kids
- Hands on Civil War unit
- Civil War card game
- Civil War unit study
Civil War field trips
Texas Forts and Buffalo Soldiers
I honestly didn’t know what to call this time. It’s that indeterminate time that if I were writing about the East coast I would call the Gilded Age, but Texas was still in the Wild West stage complete with frontier outposts and buffalo soldiers. I want to spotlight this particular aspect, because it’s an interesting part of Texas and US history.
- Ima Hogg– this is the daughter of a Texas governor who was quite a character
- Buffalo Soldiers lessons
- Day in the life of a frontier fort
- Challenges of life at a frontier fort
- Texas Frontier Forts lesson
field trips for Texas Forts and Buffalo soldiers
- Buffalo soldier museum– I’m excited to try it
- Fort Davis
- Fort Richardson
- Neil Cochran house– technically not this area, but it doesn’t fall under any of the others
World War 1 in Texas
While at this point we are solidly into US history, I think it’s still important to highlight how these events shape Texas, this won’t affect it as much as….. The Dust Bowl.
World War 1 unit– I need to research specifics for Texas
World War 1 in Texas field trips
Williamson County Museum– right now they have a temporary exhibit about World War 1 in Texas to honor the 100th anniversary
The Dust Bowl
A great deal of why the Great Depression was so bad in the United States was because it was also a time when a big drought hit the central states, and there were problems from over-farming in the area. This is also the period of the Great Depression, so I’m including related links for that.
- 10 minute Great Depression simulation
- Mapping the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression
- Interactive Dust Bowl webquest
- Dust Bowl simulation
- Dust Bowl ideas
- Local legends- Hutto Texas– a hippo that’s escaped from a zoo or maybe a circus, but either way, it’s exciting
World War 2 in Texas
There are a few training facilities in Texas, and a few other fun details going on during this time. But, we’ll be recreating several World War 2 activities from before.
World War 2 in Texas Field Trips
Civil Rights movement in Texas
I haven’t found anything specific to Texas yet, I’m still researching it right now, so far it’s all pretty generic to the nation, rather than just Texas.
Normally I’d includ links to some posts of mine at the bottom, but if you’ve made it this far, you deserve a gold star. Instead, I’m going to point you towards lots more: Ultimate Guides.