Bound for Texas
This lesson plan was written for grades 3–5.
- understand factors that motivated immigrants to move to certain Texas cities;
- locate features on Texas bird’s-eye views;
- complete an art project from a townsperson’s perspective and/or a writing project from an immigrant’s perspective.
Materials needed are:
- bird’s-eye views of Texas cities projected for the class to see;
- selection from C. L. Riddell’s Immigrants’ Guide to Texas (1875);
- Texas Bird’s-Eye View Immigrants’ Checklist worksheet;
- paper and pencils for each student;
- various art materials (i.e. colored pencils, construction paper, scissors, glue, and/or markers).
Note: Those without classroom Internet access may use the poster of the 1891 Fort Worth view to complete portions of this lesson. The poster is available through the Amon Carter Museum’s Teaching Resource Center.
Note: Step three works best when students have access to a computer lab.
1. Explain that Texas grew from a small frontier state in 1846 to more than a half million residents by 1860. Immigrants to Texas came from both Southern and Northern states, as well as Europe and they arrived in different ways, including by ship, horse, wagon, and railroad.
2. Have students create a list of things that would be important to immigrants as they decided in which town to settle. After students finish brainstorming, have them read a selection from the Introductory Remarks to C. L. Riddle’s Immigrants’ Guide to Texas (1875) and answer the following questions:
- What features does Riddle mention to promote Texas to immigrants? (Possible answers include adequate schools, transportation via railroad and ships, wealth of the state, various occupations available, and plentiful resources, including animals, food, minerals, forests, and water.)
- Did students list any items that Riddle does not mention? If so, what are they? (Possible answers include climate, ample housing, a variety of places to worship, and social opportunities.)
Have students amend their original lists to include any of Riddle’s items that they left out. Then have them rank the items in order of their importance if they were planning to immigrate to Texas. Have students work with a partner to share their top three items and explain why they chose them.
3. Divide the class into groups, directing each group to look at a different bird’s-eye view from the same year. (The following years have three or more views: 1873, 1881, 1883, 1886, 1887, 1890, 1891, and 1892.)
As each group looks closely at their city’s view, have them complete the Texas Bird’s-Eye View Immigrants’ Checklist worksheet.
Closing and Assessment
Have students complete one or both of the following activities after they have determined their city’s available resources.
- Assume the perspective of a resident of their city and design and create a flag for their city. The elements included in their flag should feature the city’s key attractions and promote it to immigrants.
- Assume the perspective of an immigrant to their city and write a letter to their family or friends back home, persuading them to move to their city. Include the methods of transportation their family could use to travel to the city, as well as resources and job opportunities.
- 3.2B compare ways in which people in the local community and communities around the world meet their needs for government, education, communication, transportation, and recreation, over time and in the present
- 3.16A obtain information, including historical and geographic data about the community, using a variety of print, oral, visual, and computer sources
- 4.13C analyze the effects of immigration/migration/limited resources on the economic development and growth of Texas
- 4.22A differentiate between, locate, and use primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States and Texas
- 5.14C analyze the effects of immigration/migration/limited resources on the economic development and growth of the U.S.
- 5.25A differentiate between, locate, and use primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States and Texas
- 3.12E interpret and use graphic sources of information including maps, charts, graphs, and diagrams
- 3.12H demonstrate learning through productions and displays such as oral and written reports, murals, and dramatizations
- 3.14C write to communicate with a variety of audiences
- 4.15B write to influence such as to persuade, argue, and request
- 4.23B interpret events and ideas gathered from maps/charts/graphics/video segments or technology presentations
- 4.25A select, organize, or produce visuals to complement and extend meanings
- 5.15B write to influence such as to persuade, argue, and request
- 5.23B interpret important events/ideas gleaned from maps/charts/graphics/video segments or technology presentations
- 5.25A select, organize, or produce visuals to complement and extend meanings
- 3.1A identify sensory knowledge and life experiences as sources for ideas about visual symbols, self, and life events
- 3.2A create artworks based on personal observations and experiences
- 4.1A communicate ideas about self, family, school, and community, using sensory knowledge and life experiences
- 4.2B design original artworks
- 5.1A communicate ideas about feelings, self, family, school, and community, using sensory knowledge and life experiences
- 5.2C create original artworks and explore photographic imagery, using a variety of art materials and media appropriately
This lesson plan was created by the Education Department of the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, to accompany the Texas Bird’s-Eye Views Web site and was made possible by a generous grant from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation representing BNSF Railway Company.