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Texas Beyond History

El Paso and the Oldest Mission in Texas

The purpose of this lesson is to have students understand the reasons for Spanish settlement of the El Paso valley in Texas, events that transpired there, and what life was like for Indians and Spanish settlers. Students will work in cooperative groups to view examples of rock art, research the culture that produced it, and write a short, guided essay describing the rock art’s origins.

A New Life in Freedom: A Late 19th-Century African-American Farmstead

This lesson contains three mini-lessons that may be used independently or together. In these lessons, students will explore a painting based on an actual farmstead site owned by former slaves, Ransom and Sarah Williams, to learn about African-American family life in 19th-century Texas. They will work in pairs or groups to learn about the various activities and chores shown in the painting, examine the artifacts found by archeologists representing these activities, and compose “snapshots” based on their findings.

Bottles, Pins, and Horseshoes: Analyzing Artifacts from the Ransom Williams Farmstead Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

Material objects found at historical sites can be both intriguing and informative, especially when examined carefully in the classroom with students. A thorough discussion of any given artifact can be based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, a classifying device used to illustrate the hierarchy of thinking levels, from simple and concrete to complex and abstract. Analyzing artifacts from the Ransom Williams farmstead using Bloom's Taxonomy allows students on all levels to exercise the complete range of critical thinking skills while appreciating the cultural significance of historical objects.

After Slavery: Exercising the Rights of Citizenship in 19th-Century Texas

Students will explore a variety of county government records to learn how Ransom Williams, an African American living in post-Civil War, Texas, began the transition to freedom by exercising the right to vote and own property. Students will work with partners to analyze a 19th-century primary source document, then create their own county government documents and answer questions about Ransom Williams and the functions of county government.

Learning From Cabeza de Vaca

Cabeza de Vaca’s accounts of life among the native peoples of Texas and Mexico in the early 1500s have long piqued the imagination and curiosity of scholars and lovers of history. Much attention has been directed to fleshing out details of the explorer’s life and trying to pinpoint the route he and his companions traveled from the Gulf shores through south Texas and deep into Mexico.

Stones, Bones and Telephones: Analyzing Artifacts Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

Lesson Plan - A thorough discussion of any given artifact can easily be based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, a teaching tool that can take students through the hierarchy of thinking levels, from simple and concrete to complex and abstract. Analyzing artifacts using Bloom’s Taxonomy allows students on all levels (from remedial to gifted and talented) to exercise the complete range of critical thinking skills.

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