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Seeing through Immigrants’ Eyes


This lesson plan was written for grades 9–12.


Students will:


Materials needed are:

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.


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. Tell students that they will assume the role of an immigrant as they complete these activities.

2. Have students read the section “How to Find a Home in Western Texas” from C. L. Riddle’s Immigrants’ Guide to Texas.

3. Have students select an occupation from the section that they would like to do (farming fruits and vegetables; sawing lumber or making turpentine; raising grain; cultivating sugar and cotton; raising sheep, horses, or horned cattle; or growing grapes and making wine). Based on Riddle’s text, have them consult Texas maps to determine which bird’s-eye-view city fits the location of their chosen occupation. (Several cities may be good locations for the same occupation.)

4. Looking closely at the bird’s-eye view from their chosen city, have students complete the following activities:

5. Have students write a diary entry from an immigrant’s perspective, describing how they arrived in their new town, what steps they will take to get settled, and their feelings about their new home.

6. Students can compare their diary entries to that of an actual immigrant to Texas by reading portions of Sarah Ann Lillie Hardinge’s journal. Hardinge traveled from Brooklyn to Texas in 1852 after inheriting land from her brother. Students may also read Hardinge’s biography and view her watercolors from her experiences in Texas. Please note: While Hardinge’s watercolors document her experiences in Texas, she kept her journal as her family began its return trip to the East. Therefore, it does not document her experience arriving in Texas as the students’ entries will.

TEKS Connections

Social Studies

Language Arts

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.