This past year we’ve been studying Texas history. Here’s the thing, I’m a firm believer in understanding geography to understand history. The geography of a state or country effects how things happen. Why am I telling you this? So you’ll understand why the very first unit of our Texas history lessons was a big long Texas geography unit. We spent a couple of weeks going over different aspects of Texas geography.
Don’t check out if you don’t live in Texas, this can be adapted to your state really easily.
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Supplies for our Texas geography unit
giant paper maps from this site (same we used for our reusable wall maps), manila paper, glue stick, and whatever coloring supplies you want (we used markers, and my daughter pulled out acrylic paint)
Oh and our Texas Geography Unit printable with super awesome rubric (not that I’m prejudiced), this will be part of the subscriber library, you can get it if you join my super cool newsletter over on the side there.
Lesson 1, regions of Texas
We printed off several of the maps I mentioned up above and put them all together. We’ll need them for the most of the rest of our lessons for this Texas Geography unit.
Then we used our textbooks to discover the different regions of Texas. If you don’t have a textbook, you can find the regions of Texas here.
Each region has its own varieties of wildlife and geography. East Texas and West Texas are very different. I was about to say something, and then realize Northeast Texas and Southeast Texas are very different. The Eastern part of Texas has trees, that’s where the Piney Woods region is, of course, the Southern part is more swamp-ish. Now West Texas, West Texas is a barren desert that takes what seems like five days to drive through.
Lesson 2, rivers and bodies of water in Texas
There’s a joke I heard once, “How do you tell a generational native Texan from a transplant?”
You point to a body of water and ask “What is that?” The generational Texan will say, “That’s a tank.” The transplant will say, “That’s a pond,” or “That’s a retention pond.”
Texas does not have natural lakes. All of the lakes I know of are from damming up the Colorado River. The lakes are in a pattern of the steady level lake and overflow lakes. Lake Travis, that is in Austin is an overflow lake, so when Texas had the drought it was several hundred feet down, and at one point Drought Island showed up. Now when all the crazy rain went through it got back up to its normal water levels, and then flooded. Because Texas.
Again we referenced our textbooks, and here’s an online map of Texas rivers and lakes. to draw out the rivers. These rivers are a key part of several events in Texas history, and get referenced all the time.
Lesson 3, Texas cities
Yesterday we went through the major exports of all the cities in Texas. The Texas Revolution is all about rivers and cities.
Again we took our giant maps and drew out where the major cities in Texas are.
Putting all the lessons of our Texas Geography Unit together
At the end of it all, everyone drew regions and they created two brochures. The first brochure was to entice people to visit their region. They had to give examples of places to visit, why it’d make a great tourist destination, all those fun details (you can see my entire rubric in the printable).
The second brochure was to entice people to move there. What kinds of jobs will you find in that region? What are the major cities? What is that city known for? Why is that region a great place to live?
How can you adapt my Texas Geography Unit to your state
Every state has all of the parts I’ve outlined. Actually, every country has these details, and possibly more.
- Divide your state/country into regions
- Look for the major natural landmarks (rivers, lakes, mountains, canyons, etc)
- Find the major cities
- Make a brochure to show it all off