Wanted: Texas Workers
This lesson plan was written for grades 3–5.
- discover the various industries prevalent in nineteenth-century Texas cities;
- understand the resources required to perform various occupations;
- examine how geographic areas contribute to the development of certain industries in Texas;
- write a letter applying for a job in a nineteenth-century Texas city.
Materials needed are:
- classroom Internet access;
- bird’s-eye views of Texas cities projected for the class to see;
- colored pencils and/or markers, scissors, and tape;
- large map of Texas showing the cities featured in the bird’s-eye views;
- paper and pencils for each student.
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 two works best when students have access to a computer lab.
1. Explain that as Texas cities grew in the nineteenth century, there were a variety of jobs that helped the cities’ economies grow.
2. Divide the class into groups, directing each group to look at a different bird’s-eye view from the same year. This activity works best when cities are selected across the state. (The following years have three or more views: 1873, 1881, 1883, 1886, 1887, 1890, 1891, and 1892).
Have students look closely at their views, locating the types of jobs available to the city’s residents. (Possible answers include jobs with the railroad, shipping, and in factories, as well as shopkeepers, teachers, ministers, cattle raisers, and farmers.) Have students consider the answers to the following questions:
- What types of jobs are available in this city?
- Which jobs are most widespread?
- What resources are needed to do these jobs?
- Why might these jobs be the most widespread in this city?
3. Working with their groups, have students select two industries that they feel are most prevalent in their cities and design a symbol for each of the industries. (For example, railroad jobs might be symbolized by a train, or the job of teaching with a book or apple.) Students should draw their symbols on an 8 ½-by-11-inch sheet of paper and cut them out.
4. Display the map of Texas in your classroom, and have each group locate their city on the map and tape their two main industries near the city. Each group should present their answers to the questions in step two.
5. As a class, discuss why certain jobs are more prevalent in certain areas and which cities have a greater variety of jobs.
6. Have students look at the map of Texas with the symbols and decide which city they would want to live in based on what they would like to do as a career. Have them write a letter applying for a position in this career. They should describe the skills they possess that would make them a good candidate, indicate why they are drawn to the job, and how living in that city would help them do this job.
- 3.16E interpret and create visuals including graphs, charts, tables, timelines, illustrations, and maps
- 3.17A express ideas orally based on knowledge and experiences
- 3.18B use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, identify options, predict consequences, and take action to implement a decision
- 4.7A describe a variety of regions in Texas and the Western Hemisphere such as political, population, and economic regions that result from patterns of human activity
- 4.13B explain how geographic factors have influenced the location of economic activities in Texas
- 4.24B use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, identify options, predict consequences, and take action to implement a decision
- 5.14A analyze how people in different parts of the United States earn a living, past and present
- 5.14B identify and explain how geographic factors have influenced the location of economic activities in the U.S.
- 5.27B use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, identify options, predict consequences, and take action to implement a decision
- 3.1D listen critically to interpret and evaluate
- 3.14C write to communicate with a variety of audiences
- 3.20B record his/her own knowledge of a topic in a variety of ways such as by drawing pictures, making lists, and showing connections among ideas
- 4.1C understand the major ideas and supporting evidence in spoken messages
- 4.15B write to influence such as to persuade, argue, and request
- 4.25A select, organize, or produce visuals to complement and extend meanings
- 5.15B write to influence such as to persuade, argue, and request
- 5.1C understand the major ideas and supporting evidence in spoken messages
- 5.25A select, organize, or produce visuals to complement and extend meanings
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.