Aldridge Sawmill – The Story in Numbers
Subjects: mathematics, Texas history and geography
Grade level: 7th
Rationale: To practice math skills while becoming familiar with Texas’ “Boom & Bust” economy and the natural history of the east Texas Piney Woods
Lesson Duration: Two 45 minute class periods or one 90 minute block period
Activity - Part 1
Step 1: Place “Zones of Annual Precipitation in Texas” map transparency on the overhead. Explain to students that Texas is large enough to have a wide range of rainfall zones within its borders. Looking at the map, ask students which area of Texas they think is most likely to contain dense forests. Point out that the Piney Woods region receives between 45-55 inches of precipitation annually, the highest in the state, and averages about 245 days of growing season a year.
Step 2: Place “Natural Regions and Subregions” of Texas map on the overhead. Point out the Piney Woods subregion of the Gulf Coastal Plains region on the border between Texas and Louisiana. Explain that the East Texas Piney Woods is part of a pine forest that covers the entire southern United States from the Atlantic Ocean to Texas and today contains the Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, Angelina, and Sabine National Forests, as well as many commercial lumber companies and sawmills.
Step 3: Point out that at the beginning of the twentieth century, lumbering was the state's largest manufacturing enterprise, first among Texas industries in generating income, and the largest employer of labor in Texas. Today the Texas lumber industry continues to be a large and important contributor to the state economy.
Step 4: Have the students explore the Aldridge Sawmill site at: http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/aldridge/index.html
Activity - Part 2
Step 1: Explain that in this part of the lesson, students will learn more of the Aldridge Sawmill story that they began in Part 1.
Step 2: Distribute the student handout, Aldridge Sawmill – The Story in Numbers. Direct students to circle the correct answer for each question. Students may work alone or with a partner.
Modification: Highlight pertinent information in each question and identify functions needed to answer each question.
Student Product: Solutions to 10 math problems
Closure: Have students list all the mathematical functions they used to answer the handout questions. If time allows, go over correct answers with students.
Assessment: Ask students what is meant by “Boom and Bust.”
Daily Assessment for Part 2: Students will be expected to answer 10 math questions with at least 70% accuracy.
Extension: Have students view the following website: http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/kids/caddo/index.html
“World of the Caddo” is a children's exhibit on Texas Beyond History focused on perhaps the first "loggers" of East Texas, the Caddo Indians. In the section, “Living in Grass Houses,” students can learn how these ancient people constructed huge beehive-shaped houses and temples using tall pine poles covered with bundles of grass. There is also a teacher's lesson plan keyed to “World of the Caddo”.
Texas Beyond History
University of Texas Archeological Research Laboratory
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