Traveling Texas

Social Studies, Grades K-3 and 4-7

Students will analyze moving image primary sources from home movie collections to access characteristics of the four regions of Texas.  Then, students will research, plan and map their own Texas trip through a chosen region, comparing the geography of Texas to other regions in the United States. 


Note: This lesson was developed using the region boundaries and terminology used in Celebrating Texas: Honoring the Past; Building the Future.  It should be easily adaptable to the standards used by your school or district.


Films - North Central Plains

  • Prior Knowledge Prior Knowledge
  • Hook Hook
  • Lesson Lesson
  • Independent Practice Independent Practice
  • Resources Resources
  • TEKS TEKS
  • Lesson Plan Use Lesson Plan Use
  1. Students should be familiar with the geographical division of the United States, including the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains, northwest Coastal Range, southwest Mountains and Basins, Interior Lowlands (Great Plains) and Coastal Plains in the southeast.

  2. Students should be familiar with the geographical divisions of the 4 regions of Texas: the Coastal Plains, the North Central Plains, the Great Plains and the West.

  3. Students should have a basic understanding of climate and landscape.

  4. Students should have a basic understanding of home movies.
  1. Before alerting students to the theme of the lesson, show them 1-2 minutes of a home movie from the collection that best represents your region:  the Coastal Plains, the North Central Plains, the Great Plains, or Mountains and Basins.  Ask them to sit quietly and try to pick up as much detail from the film as possible.
  2. As a class, describe the film.  Questions to explore:  Who was in it?  Who made the film?  Why did they make it? What information in the film might be useful?  What does this film have to do with Texas?  Do the students have similar films made by their families?  Or have they seen similar films before?
  3. After you discuss the film as a class, reveal to the students that in today’s lesson the class will watch primary source moving images, specifically home movies, to explore the landscape of Texas in the 20th century. Ask them how these regions in Texas compare to other geographic regions in the United States.
 
  1. Present a map of the United States to the class and indicate the different geographic regions: Coastal Range, Mountains and Basins, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and Coastal Plains.

  2. Present a map of Texas to the class and indicate the four regions of Texas: the West, Great Plains, North Central Plains, and Coastal Plains.

  3. Region by region, ask students to describe each region based on their prior knowledge and experiences. Collect the information on a white board using the regions as headings or have students write down their thoughts on post-it notes and adhere them to the appropriate region of the map.  <OR> Ask students to choose a particular region and create a quick drawing of the landscape of that region. Use these notes or drawings as reference during the lesson.

  4. Region by region, watch a home movie from the above regional video collections created for the lesson. Since the films are silent, have students point out characteristics of the region that are present in the film as you watch.  Choose one film per region.

  5. After watching each film compare and contrast your initial ideas of the region.  Why is it an accurate or inaccurate depiction of the region? What natural indicators of the region are seen?  What other indicators are present? What are not included? When was the film taken? What may have changed since the films creation?

  6. Repeat with films representing the other regions of the state. Discuss the similarities and differences found in the films and the initial notes and drawings produced by the class.  
 
Many of the home movies watched by the class were made by Texans as they traveled the state.  Ask to students to pretend they are taking a family vacation in one particular region of Texas and have them create a travel itinerary for exploring that region.  Students should route their own trip, but they must include 6 destinations.  Of the six, one should be in the city, one should be in the country, one should be a museum, and one should be a National or State Park. The information can be presented in a poster form and should include the following: the region name and a paragraph description of the region including a description of the landscape, people and industries; a map of the route traveled to visit 6 places in the region along with photos or drawings to represent the locations. A teacher may also require that students determine the distance and duration of their trip and indicate it on the poster.
 
Students should present their posters to the by explaining their reasons for choosing their 6 destinations. For both manmade destinations, students should explain how the location came to be in that region of Texas.  For natural destinations, students should explain whether the destination is typical to the landscape described by the class in the first activity or exceptional.
 
TEKS
 
Social Studies Kindergarten
 
4A - Use terms, including over, under, near, far, left, and right, to describe relative location
 
4C - Identify tools that aid in determining location, including maps and globes
 
5A - Identify the physical characteristics of place such as landforms, bodies of water, natural resources, and weather
 
5B - Identify how the human characteristics of place such as ways of earning a living, shelter, clothing, food, and activities are based upon geographic location
 
14B - Obtain information about a topic using a variety of valid visual sources such as pictures, symbols, electronic media, print material, and artifacts
 
15A - Express ideas orally based on knowledge and experiences
 
15B - Create and interpret visuals, including pictures and maps
 
16B - Use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, generate options, predict outcomes, take action to implement a decision, and reflect on the effectiveness of the decision
 
Social Studies Grade 1
 
4A - Locate places using the four cardinal directions
 
5A - Create and use simple maps such as maps of the home, classroom, school, and community
 
5B - Locate the community, Texas, and the United States on maps and globes
 
6A - Identify and describe the physical characteristics of place such as landforms, bodies of water, natural resources, and weather
 
6C - Identify and describe how the human characteristics of place such as shelter, clothing, food, and activities are based upon geographic location
 
17B - Obtain information about a topic using a variety of valid visual sources such as pictures, symbols, electronic media, maps, literature, and artifacts
 
17C - Sequence and categorize information
 
18A - Express ideas orally based on knowledge and experiences
 
18B – Create and interpret visual and written material
 
19B - Use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, generate options, predict outcomes, take action to implement a decision, and reflect on the effectiveness of that decision
 
Social Studies Grade 2
 
5A - Interpret information on maps and globes using basic map elements such as title, orientation (north, south, east, west), and legend/map keys
 
6A- Identify major landforms and bodies of water, including each of the continents and each of the oceans, on maps and globes
 
6B - Locate places of significance, including the local community, Texas, the state capital, the U.S. capital, major cities in Texas, the coast of Texas, Canada, Mexico, and the United States on maps and globes
 
6C - Examine information from various sources about places and regions
 
7A - Describe how weather patterns and seasonal patterns affect activities and settlement patterns
 
7B -Describe how natural resources and natural hazards affect activities and settlement patterns
 
8A - Identify ways in which people have modified the physical environment such as building roads, clearing land for urban development and agricultural use, and drilling for oil
 
18B - Obtain information about a topic using a variety of valid visual sources such as pictures, maps, electronic sources, literature, reference sources, and artifacts
 
18C - Use various parts of a source, including the table of contents, glossary, and index, as well as keyword Internet searches to locate information
 
18D - Sequence and categorize information
 
19A - Express ideas orally based on knowledge and experiences
 
19B - Create written and visual material such as stories, poems, maps, and graphic organizers to express ideas
 
20B - Use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, generate options, predict outcomes, take action to implement a decision, and reflect on the effectiveness of that decision
 
Social Studies Grade 3
 
4A - Describe and explain variations in the physical environment, including climate, landforms, natural resources, and natural hazards
 
4B- Identify and compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment in which they live such as deserts, mountains, wetlands, and plains
 
4E - Identify and compare the human characteristics of various regions
 
5A - Use cardinal and intermediate directions to locate places on maps and globes such as the Rocky Mountains, the Mississippi River, and Austin, Texas, in relation to the local community
 
5B - Use a scale to determine the distance between places on maps and globes
 
5C - Identify and use the compass rose, grid system, and symbols to locate places on maps and globes
 
5D - Create and interpret maps of places and regions that contain map elements, including a title, compass rose, legend, scale, and grid system
 
17C - Interpret oral, visual, and print material by identifying the main idea, distinguishing between fact and opinion, identifying cause and effect, and comparing and contrasting
 
17E - Interpret and create visuals, including graphs, charts, tables, timelines, illustrations, and maps
 
18B - Use technology to create written and visual material such as stories, poems, pictures, maps, and graphic organizers to express ideas
 
18C - Use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation
 
19B - 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
 
Social Studies Grade 4
 
6A - Apply geographic tools, including grid systems, legends, symbols, scales, and compass roses, to construct and interpret maps
 
6B - Translate geographic data, population distribution, and natural resources into a variety of formats such as graphs and maps
 
7A - Describe a variety of regions in Texas and the United States such as political, population, and economic regions that result from patterns of human activity
 
7B - Identify, locate, and compare the geographic regions of Texas (Mountains and Basins, Great Plains, North Central Plains, Coastal Plains), including their landforms, climate, and vegetation
 
7C - Compare the geographic regions of Texas (Mountains and Basins, Great Plains, North Central Plains, Coastal Plains) with regions of the United States and other parts of the world
 
8B - Describe and explain the location and distribution of various towns and cities in Texas, past and present
 
8C - Explain the geographic factors such as landforms and climate that influence patterns of settlement and the distribution of population in Texas, past and present
 
9A - Describe ways people have adapted to and modified their environment in Texas, past and present, such as timber clearing, agricultural production, wetlands drainage, energy production, and construction of dams
 
9B - Identify reasons why people have adapted to and modified their environment in Texas, past and present, such as the use of natural resources to meet basic needs, facilitate transportation, and enhance recreational activities
 
21A - Differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States and Texas;
 
21B - Analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions;
 
21C - Organize and interpret information in outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps;
 
22A - Use social studies terminology correctly
 
22B - Incorporate main and supporting ideas in verbal and written communication
 
22C - Express ideas orally based on research and experiences
 
22D - Create written and visual material such as journal entries, reports, graphic organizers, outlines, and bibliographies
 
22E - Use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation
 
23B - 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
 
Social Studies Grade 5
 
6A - Apply geographic tools, including grid systems, legends, symbols, scales, and compass roses, to construct and interpret maps
 
6B - Translate geographic data into a variety of formats such as raw data to graphs and maps
 
7A - Describe a variety of regions in the United States such as political, population, and economic regions that result from patterns of human activity
 
7B - Describe a variety of regions in the United States such as landform, climate, and vegetation regions that result from physical characteristics such as the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, and Coastal Plains
 
7C - Locate on a map important political features such as the ten largest urban areas in the United States, the 50 states and their capitals, and regions such as the Northeast, the Midwest, and the Southwest
 
7D - Locate on a map important physical features such as the Rocky Mountains, Mississippi River, and Great Plains
 
8B - Explain the geographic factors that influence patterns of settlement and the distribution of population in the United States, past and present
 
8C - Analyze the reasons for the location of cities in the United States, including capital cities, and explain their distribution, past and present
 
9A - Describe how and why people have adapted to and modified their environment in the United States, past and present, such as the use of human resources to meet basic needs
 
9B - Analyze the positive and negative consequences of human modification of the environment in the United States, past and present
 
24A - Differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States
 
24B - Analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions
 
24C - Organize and interpret information in outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps
 
Social Studies Grade 6
 
3B – Pose and answer geographic questions, including: Where is it located? Why is it there? What is significant about its location? How is its location related to the location of other people, places, and environments?
 
3C - Compare regions using data from maps, charts, models, and databases
 
4B - Explain the geographic factors responsible for patterns of population in places and regions
 
7A - Identify and analyze ways people have adapted to the physical environment in various places and regions
 
21A - Use primary and secondary sources to learn about world cultures
 
21B - Analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions
 
21C - Organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps
 
22A - Use social studies terminology correctly
 
22B - Incorporate main and supporting ideas in verbal and written communication based on research
 
22C - Express ideas orally based on research and experiences
 
22D - Create written and visual material create written and visual material such as journal entries, reports, graphic organizers, outlines, and bibliographies based on research
 
22E - Use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation
 
23A - Use a problem-solving to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution
 
Social Studies Grade 7
 
8A - Create and interpret thematic maps, graphs, charts, models, and databases representing various aspects of Texas during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries
 
9A - Locate the Mountains and Basins, Great Plains, North Central Plains, and Coastal Plains regions and places of importance in Texas during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries such as major cities, rivers, natural and historic landmarks, political and cultural regions, and local points of interest
 
9B - Compare places and regions of Texas in terms of physical and human characteristics
 
21A - Differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about Texas
 
21B - Analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions
 
21C - Organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps
 
21D - Identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference that influenced the participants
 
21E - Support a point of view on a social studies issue or event
 
21F - Identify bias in written, oral, and visual material
 
21H - Use appropriate mathematical skills to interpret social studies information such as maps and graphs
 
22A - Use social studies terminology correctly
 
22B - Use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and proper citation of sources
 
22D - Create written, oral, and visual presentations of social studies information
 
23B - 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
 
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