Lesson Title: Comparing Two Cultures – Hinds Cave and Yours
Subject: Texas history & geography
Grade level: 7th grade
Rationale or Purpose: In this lesson students compare their own culture with that of prehistoric people who camped at Hinds Cave in the Lower Pecos region of Texas thousands of years ago. Students become familiar with lesson-related vocabulary terms (in English and Spanish), locate Hind’s Cave on a map, make cultural comparisons using a graphic organizer, and write a comparison/contrast essay on the two cultures.
Lesson Duration: One or two 45 minute class periods
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS):
Social Studies, 7th Grade
English Language Arts, 7th Grade
Step 1: Display the overhead transparency of Hinds Cave. Ask students to describe the physical geography around the cave. Possible answers include dry, semiarid, desert like, rocky, hilly, etc.
Step 2 (optional) If students are not familiar with this lesson’s vocabulary words, introduce them on an overhead transparency or write them on the board and briefly define them aloud. Note: Spanish translations are included.
Step 3: Explain that nomadic hunting and gathering people traveling through southwest Texas often stopped at Hinds Cave for temporary shelter during the Archaic era. Such caves were usually inhabited by groups the size of an extended family, or around 12 people . Ask students to brainstorm a few examples of how living in such a cave 1,000 – 6,000 years ago would compare to living in their homes today. Explain that in this lesson, they will explore the culture of Hinds Cave and compare it to and contrast it with their own culture.
Step 3: Display the overhead transparency, Map of Hinds Cave. Point out that the cave is located on the Pecos River and have students locate this area on a map or Texas. Step 4: Distribute the Comparing Two Cultures graphic organizer. Explain that students will compare their own culture to that of Hinds Cave by filling out the Comparing Two Cultures graphic organizer, then use the information they collected to write a comparison-contrast essay on the two cultures.
Step 4: Explain that Hinds Cave is protected beneath a prominent limestone overhang and because it exists in a semiarid region of Texas where the dry climate has produced almost perfect preservation conditions, archeologists have found a wealth of information about the people who camped there over the centuries. Objects found intact in Hinds Cave include artifacts, such as intricate tools, weapons, basketry, sandals, wood, and chipped stone. Also found were more than 2,000 well preserved coprolites which tell us much about what these people ate.
Step 5: Distribute student copies of the Comparing Two Cultures graphic organizer. If necessary, display an overhead transparency of the graphic organizer to help students get started. To fill in the first two sections of the organizer, students will need access to their Texas history textbooks, the Texas Almanac, or some other source of information that can help them describe the location and climate where they live. Have students work with a partner to fill in the rest of their graphic organizers.
Step 6: Using their completed graphic organizers for reference, have students write a comparison-contrast essay on their own culture and that of Hinds Cave.
Modification: Highlight pertinent geographic information for special needs students and have them use fewer categories on the graphic organizer. Use Spanish vocabulary for ESL students.
Student Product: A completed Culture Comparison graphic organizer and a comparison-contrast essay.
Closure: Ask students if they’ve ever been camping, and if so, how primitive their experiences were. Answers will vary from camping in an RV with TV and air-conditioning to primitive tent camping. Have students relate how their camping experiences differed from their everyday lives.
Assessment: Have students list the five things they would miss most from their own culture if they had to live in Hinds Cave for a week. Let students read their lists aloud and see if there are some common elements among their lists.
Texas Beyond History
University of Texas Archeological Research Laboratory
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