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Texas Transportation


This lesson plan was written for grades 6–8.


Students will analyze the effects of transportation on the settlement of Texas.


Materials needed are:


1. Distribute excerpts from the article “Railroads, Windmills and Barbed Wire” originally published in the 1990–1991 Texas Almanac. Instruct students to read the article to find the factors that contributed to the end of the cattle-drive era. Have students list the factors on their Factors Contributing to the End of the Cattle-Drive Era worksheet.

2. Have students access the bird’s-eye views of Wichita Falls and Abilene from the Amon Carter Museum’s Texas Bird’s-Eye Views Web site, http://www.birdseyeviews.org.

3. Challenge students to study the views to find evidence that supports the ideas presented in “Railroads, Windmills and Barbed Wire.” Have them list the evidence on their worksheets.

4. Have students access maps of Texas railroads in 1873 and 1900. Students should use the railroad maps to provide additional evidence that supports or challenges the information found in “Railroads, Windmills and Barbed Wire,” and should record their findings on their worksheets.

5. Discuss the findings and compare the information obtained from the various resources.

6. Encourage students to formulate additional questions related to factors that contributed to the ending of the cattle-drive era.


Show students an image of Frederic Remington’s The Fall of the Cowboy (1895). Have students explain the title of the painting by using examples from the Texas Almanac article, the bird’s-eye views, and the Texas railroad maps.

TEKS Connections

Social Studies

Language Arts

This lesson plan was created by Wendy Coleman, Fort Worth ISD educator, to accompany the Texas Bird’s-Eye Views Web site produced by the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, and was made possible by a generous grant from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation representing BNSF Railway Company.