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Lesson Plans

Listed below are lesson plans currently available as Adobe PDF files (you may need to download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader). Check this site frequently for new additions.

In addition, there are two five-day Unit Plans available. Lessons focus on family history, using primary sources, map-making and map analysis, graphing population, analyzing artifacts, and doing archeology.

signifies lesson plan correlated to exhibit on Texas Beyond History.

Language Arts | Social Studies | Math/Science | Art


Language Arts

A Day in the Life
Students explore the roles of a variety of people who lived or worked at a nineteenth-century Texas frontier fort or in a nearby frontier town. By writing about a character in his/her own voice, students reach a greater understanding of life on the Texas frontier. Suggested for grade levels 4-7. View TEKS and download page.

Archeology 2500: Texano Weapons
Students work in small groups to write a creative, descriptive report about a "mystery" artifact. Hypothesis building and creative writing suitable for upper elementary and above. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

Creative Writing about Ancient Life Ways
Students choose one of three writing prompts (included) to complete a short essay about geography, environmental changes and human migration and settlement. Upper elementary and above. View TEKS and download page.

Inventions Over Time
Students compare ancient inventions such as the atlatl, spear point and bow and arrow with modern ones, such as the telephone. Students make inferences about how inventions change people's lives based on a cause and effect chart. Upper elementary and middle school.View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Kincaid Creatures
This two-part lesson illustrates how archeologists use stratigraphy (layering of the earth) to help determine which animals lived (or were hunted) at the Kincaid Shelter over the last 13,000 years and how some of these animals may have become extinct. Students work with a partner to answer stratigraphy diagram questions, then search the Kincaid Shelter website to identify animals whose remains were found in different layers of Kincaid. The animals’ names are then used to solve a “Magic Squares” puzzle. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitMaking a Caddo Circle Book
Students write, draw, and use mathematics to create a short booklet about the Caddo Indians. This interdisciplinary lesson is suitable for grades 4 and 7. View TEKS and download page.

Timeline of the Western Texas Frontier
Students work in pairs or small groups, using the Internet to research time periods for Texas archeology and make an illustrated timeline. Then they write a creative story describing the changes indicated by the timeline. Suggested for grade level 4.View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Whose Buffalo?
This two-part lesson deals with events on the Great Plains of Texas leading up to the Red River War of 1874. Students will examine how the Plains Indians vied with white commercial buffalo hunters for the millions of Great Plains buffalo, and will create an illustrated broadside supporting the interests of either the Indians or the commercial hunters. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

Social Studies

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitA Day in the Life
Students explore the roles of a variety of people who lived or worked at a nineteenth-century Texas frontier fort or in a nearby frontier town. By writing about a character in his/her own voice, students reach a greater understanding of life on the Texas frontier. Suggested for grade level 4. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Aldridge Sawmill - The Story in Numbers
This lesson plan provides 7th-grade students an opportunity to practice math skills while becoming familiar with Texas’ “Boom & Bust” economy  and the natural history and geography of the east Texas Piney Woods. The student handout is illustrated with historic photos of logging in East Texas. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

Archeology of the Future
This lesson has two parts that teach 11 vocabulary words suitable for middle school and above. In Part 1 students describe four artifacts from an imaginary archeology site and make inferences based on this evidence. Part 2 is a charming crossword puzzle to reinforce vocabulary. Either part works great alone too! Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

Archeology 2500: Texano Weapons
Students work in small groups to write a creative, descriptive report about a "mystery" artifact. Hypothesis building and creative writing suitable for upper elementary and above. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

Artifact Bingo
Students practice using a grid while playing an archeology bingo game with picture cards to learn vocabulary. Picture cards and grid outline included. Elementary and middle school levels.View TEKS and download page.

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icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Bottles, Pins, and Horseshoes: Analyzing Artifacts From the Ransom Williams Farmstead Using Bloom’s Taxonomy
Students will analyze several of the intriguing farmstead artifacts using Bloom's Taxonomy, a classifying device used to illustrate the  hierarchy of thinking levels, from simple and concrete to complex and abstract. This allows students on all levels to exercise the complete range of critical thinking skills while appreciating the cultural significance of historical objects. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitCabeza de Vaca Meets the Coahuiltecans
Using historic documents, students will learn to distinguish the difference between primary sources, such as Cabeza de Vaca's journal, La Relación, (The Account) and secondary sources, such as their history books or the posters they will create in this lesson. Suggested for grade level 4 (but easily adapted for 5th, 6th, or 7th).View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitComparing Two Cultures: Hinds Cave and Yours
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 Hinds Cave on a map, make cultural comparisons using a graphic organizer, and write a comparison/contrast essay on the two cultures. (7th-grade and older) View TEKS and download page.

Creative Writing about Ancient Life Ways
Students choose one of three writing prompts (included) to complete a short essay about geography, environmental changes and human migration and settlement. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Death on Board La Belle: Finding Clues from Old Bones!
Students will analyze the skeleton found onboard the La Belle shipwreck by completing an illustrated online interactive and printed report form. Based on the actual analysis of the skeleton and the French shipwreck, the lesson enables students to learn about the sailor's life during the voyage of La Salle to the New World. Suggested for grades 4th-7th. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Digging Deeper: Mission San Sabá is a lesson is aimed at students who already have an understanding of the Spanish mission-presidio system in Texas. The purpose of this lesson is to have students understand  Spanish motives for establishing Mission San Sabá and the reasons for the mission’s failure. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

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icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Drawing Our Lives: Plains Indian Ledger Art Revisited
Students view examples of Plains Indian ledger art from different eras and read a speech made by Kiowa chief Satanta when his tribe was forced onto a U.S. government reservation in the late 1800s. They will then create an example of ledger art that documents some aspect of their own culture and write a paragraph explaining their choice of subject. Suggested for 7th grade, but easily adapted for 4th. View TEKS and download page.

Ecoregions of Texas
Students map the ecoregions of Texas and illustrate native vegetation. Then students make inferences about why certain areas were attractive to early people in Texas. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit 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. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

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icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Exercising the Rights of Citizenship in 19th-Century Texas
Students will explore a variety of primary source documents to learn how Ransom Williams, an African American living in post-Civil War Texas, began the transition to freedom by excercising the right to vote and own property. Suggested for grade 7 and above. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Fort St. Louis: A Do-It-Yourself History
For this social studies lesson, students will work in cooperative groups to gather primary and secondary source materials from the Texas Beyond History website. They will then incorporate these materials into an illustrated history book about Fort St. Louis, the first French settlement in Texas. Suggested for 7th-grade. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit The French in Texas
This lesson for 4th grade students is correlated to the above exhibit and other websites. Through researching, journal writing,  and answering a variety of questions, students will gain a broad understanding of early French exploration and settlement in Texas. View TEKS and download page.

The Geography and Archeology of River People
Students work in small groups to apply geography concepts such as location, physical characteristics, and human-environmental interaction to hypothetical situations. Students identify ways people adapt to and modify their environment. Students make inferences based on evidence. Middle school and above. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit The Graham-Applegate Rancheria
In this lesson, students can learn about the Indian groups who lived 1,000 years ago on the Llano River.  The students will use paintings and photographs of tools and other artifacts to make inferences and conclusions about how the Indians lived. Suggested for grade level 7.  View TEKS and download page.

Inventions Over Time
Students compare ancient inventions such as the atlatl, spear point and bow and arrow with modern ones, such as the telephone. Students make inferences about how inventions change people's lives based on a cause and effect chart. Upper elementary and middle school. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Kincaid Creatures
This two-part lesson illustrates how archeologists use stratigraphy (layering of the earth) to help determine which animals lived (or were hunted) at the Kincaid Shelter over the last 13,000 years and how some of these animals may have become extinct. Students work with a partner to answer stratigraphy diagram questions, then search the Kincaid Shelter website to identify animals whose remains were found in different layers of Kincaid. The animals’ names are then used to solve a “Magic Squares” puzzle. Suggested for grade levels 4-7. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Lake Naconiche Timeline
For this social studies lesson, students will work in pairs to create a timeline to understand how long people have lived in the area near Nacogdoches, Texas. Suggested for 4th-7th grades. View TEKS and download page.

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icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Life on an African-American Farmstead
Students compare their lives today to those of 19th-century rural Texans by exploring a colorful interactive scene of the farmstead. They also will also consider the evidence for this creative interpretation: the actual artifacts that represent the chores and farm activities depicted in the painting. Suggested for grade 4 and above. View TEKS and download page.

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icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Life in Texas Freedom Colonies
Students focus on the hundreds of self-sufficient black communties which sprang up after Emancipation and the many challenges African Americans faced during this time. Using the Internet, students research the Constitutional amendments designed to help them, as well as the laws and conditions that limited their freedom Suggested for grade 7 and above. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitLiving on a Cotton Farm: Mexican American Life in Texas
This five-day unit plan contains bilingual lessons about twentieth century Mexican-American cotton farming experiences in Texas, based on the Osborn Tenant Farm. Topics cover immigration, the twentieth century economy, sharecropping, farm houses, and children's activities. Among the several skills covered are map making and graphing. Teachers have the permission of TBH also to print out any of the images from the main Osborn exhibit for classroom use (note: if printing the entire page, set paper orientation to landscape). This unit plan was sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

Location, Location, Location: Using a Grid to Determine Context
Students make inferences about artifacts based on context, or where the artifact is located in relation to other artifacts or surroundings. Suggested for grade level 7.View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitMaking a Caddo Circle Book
Students write, draw, and use mathematics to create a short booklet about the Caddo Indians. This interdisciplinary lesson is suitable for grades 4 and 7. View TEKS and download page.

Mapping and Excavating a Jello Mold
Students learn about geologic stratigraphy by excavating grapes from a three-color jello mold. Suitable for elementary.View TEKS and download page.

Mapping with a Compass
Using a compass and a grid, students map the location of artifacts found at a simulated dig site. Suitable for elementery. View TEKS and download page.

Meet You at the Midden
Students identify reasons people modify their environment to meet basic needs, intepret map symbols, and play an archeology board game. Game board, game cards and instructions included. Suitable for elementary and middle school.View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitMoving West with the Forts: Using an Interactive Map
Students will read a map of Texas forts and analyze westward movement from Statehood to the Civil War. Suggested for grade level 7.View TEKS and download page.

Prehistoric Life in the Oak Woodlands
This unit plan for 4th- and 7th-grade students contains lessons and activities about the prehistoric people who lived in East-Central Texas about 600 to 800 years ago. Lessons focus on their economy, including pottery, weaponry, and how they adapted to and modified their environment. Other lessons incorporate archeological and geographical techniques, including making a topographic map and understanding environmental regions and landforms. The unit includes five lessons with colorful transparencies, maps, and student handouts and is provided courtesy of Prewitt and Associates, Inc., and Northwestern Resources Co. View TEKS and download page.

Natural Regions of Texas Archeology
Students research archeological sites in Texas using the Internet and create a class mural of poster board collages illustrating natural regions and the archeological sites found in them. Suggested for grade level 7.View TEKS and download page.

Personal Chronology
Students sequence chronological information. Suggested for grade levels 4-7.View TEKS and download page.

Pieces of the Past
Students simulate working in an archeological lab by reconstructing broken pottery. Math and writing skills are also used. Upper elementary and above. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit

Piecing Together History: A Turn of the Century African-American Farmstead
This unit plan contains seven lessons, four transparencies, a culminating project, and grading rubrics. Students use primary sources to learn about historical archeology and African American life at the turn of the twentieth century in Texas. The unit is suitable for 7th-grade Texas history. Teachers also may print out the main TBH exhibit of the Rubin Hancock farmstead to use in the classroom. This unit plan was sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation.View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitStones, Bones, & Telephones: Analyzing Artifacts Using Bloom's Taxonomy
In a series of questions and discussions about different objects, students on all levels (from remedial to gifted and talented) will be able to exercise the complete range of critical thinking skills, from simple and concrete to complex and abstract. Suggested for grade level 7 (but easily adapted for 8th, 10th, or 11th). View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Stratigraphy - Layers of Time in the Earth
This science lesson introduces students to the concept of stratigraphy as a historical and geologic process and helps explain soil formation and the impact of floods on a watershed. The lesson is based on the deeply stratified Richard Beene site on the Medina River near San Antonio. Suggested for grades 11 and 12 but suitable also for lower grades. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitTimeline for the Western Texas Frontier
By constructing a timeline of events on the western Texas frontier, students will understand the rapid changes in population, settlement, migration, transportation, and political control of Texas as it expanded westward. Suggested for grade levels 4 and 7.View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitTwo Ways of Life
Students will compare the ways of life of Indians on the western Texas frontier and U.S. military men at the Texas forts. These two ways of life came into conflict in Texas, ending with the removal and virtual destruction of most Native Americans from the state. This conflict is a classic example of a culture with more advanced technology overcoming a less-technologically advanced group, a pattern of human affairs oft repeated throughout history. Suggested for grade levels 4 and 7.View TEKS and download page.

Vocabulary Charts
Elementary students learn 12 archeology vocabulary words by writing definitions, creating sentences, drawing pictures and making inferences. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

What Can We Learn from the Past?
Students make observations and inferences about artifacts. Suggested for grade level 4. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit What's Cookin' at Honey Creek? introduces students to the fascinating process in which prehistoric "chefs" on the Edwards Plateau cooked quantities of plant bulbs in earth ovens by using hot rocks. This cooking technique was used for more more than 8,000 years in Texas, so they clearly had a recipe for success! Suggested for grade levels 4-7. View TEKS and download page.

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icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitWho's Buried Where - and Why? Finding Cultural Universals with Ancient Egyptians and Texas Caddo Indians
This lesson illustrates that certain human values and practices do not change over time or with location. Cultural universals are the basic behaviors practiced by all cultures, regardless of location or era. Studying cultural universals helps us understand the customs of other societies both historically and in today’s multicultural world. Humans burying and honoring their dead is one of these cultural universals. In this lesson, students will discover that burial practices of the Caddo Indians in east Texas around 1000 years ago and those of the ancient Egyptians over 4000 years ago, had a number of interesting differences and similarities. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Whose Buffalo?
This two-part lesson deals with events on the Great Plains of Texas leading up to the Red River War of 1874. Students will examine how the Plains Indians vied with white commercial buffalo hunters for the millions of Great Plains buffalo, and will create an illustrated broadside supporting the interests of either the Indians or the commercial hunters. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitWhose Business?
Students compare the businesses in the town of Fort Griffin (The Flat) to those in the students' community. Students investigate the factors that influence the development of specific types of businesses in a community. Suggested grade level 4.View TEKS and download page.

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icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Writing Contemporary Protest Music
Students will examine a19th-century folk song and an anti-slavery protest song that share the same melody but have different lyrics. Students will write their own protest song lyrics to the tune of these two songs, based on a current event they have researched, then perform and record their songs.View TEKS and download page

Math / Science

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Aldridge Sawmill - The Story in Numbers
This lesson plan provides 7th-grade students an opportunity to practice math skills while becoming familiar with Texas’ “Boom & Bust” economy  and the natural history and geography of the east Texas Piney Woods. The student handout is illustrated with historic photos of logging in East Texas. View TEKS and download page.

Artifact Bingo
Students practice using a grid while playing an archeology bingo game with picture cards to learn vocabulary. Picture cards and grid outline included. Elementary and middle school levels.View TEKS and download page.

Coordinate Grid: Mapping an Archeological Site
Students develop a sense of distance by pacing off an area, estimating distance, working with a grid and reasonable numbers. A related lesson is Mapping a Site Using a Coordinate Plane. Suggested for grade level 4. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Death on Board La Belle: Finding Clues from Old Bones!
Students will analyze the skeleton found onboard the La Belle shipwreck by completing an illustrated online interactive and printed report form. Based on the actual analysis of the skeleton and the French shipwreck, the lesson enables students to learn about the sailor's life during the voyage of La Salle to the New World. Suggested for grades 4th-7th. View TEKS and download page.

Discovering Pi
Students discover the relationship between the circumference and diameter of circles by measuring a variety of objects. Elementary and middle school. A related lesson is Investigation of Pot Sherds.View TEKS and download page.

Ecoregions of Texas
Students map the ecoregions of Texas and illustrate native vegetation. Then students make inferences about why certain areas were attractive to early people in Texas. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

Famous Rock Groups
Students learn definitions and identify igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks by close observation. Includes evidence chart, ID worksheet and rock cycle graphic.Suggested for grade levels 5-6.View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Kincaid Creatures
This two-part lesson illustrates how archeologists use stratigraphy (layering of the earth) to help determine which animals lived (or were hunted) at the Kincaid Shelter over the last 13,000 years and how some of these animals may have become extinct. Students work with a partner to answer stratigraphy diagram questions, then search the Kincaid Shelter website to identify animals whose remains were found in different layers of Kincaid. The animals’ names are then used to solve a “Magic Squares” puzzle. Suggested for grade levels 4-7. View TEKS and download page.

Location, Location, Location: Using a Grid to Determine Context
Students make inferences about artifacts based on context, or where the artifact is located in relation to other artifacts or surroundings. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitMaking a Caddo Circle Book
Students write, draw, and use mathematics to create a short booklet about the Caddo Indians. This interdisciplinary lesson is suitable for grades 4 and 7. View TEKS and download page.

Mapping and Excavating a Jello Mold
Students learn about geologic stratigraphy by excavating grapes from a three-color jello mold. Suitable for elementary.View TEKS and download page.

Mapping with a Compass
Using a compass and a grid, students map the location of artifacts found at a simulated dig site. Suitable for elementary.View TEKS and download page.

Pieces of the Past
Students simulate working in an archeological lab by reconstructing broken pottery. Math and writing skills are also used. Upper elementary and above.View TEKS and download page.

Plants in Central Texas: Then and Now
Students compare and contrast the ways early people used plants in Central Texas with the ways modern people use plants today by using the Internet, including www.texasbeyondhistory.net. Suggested for grade level 7. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Slow Rot.or Not!
In this science lesson, students will discover how different environments affect materials that easily decompose, such as ancient sandals made of plant fibers. They will formulate and investigate their own preservation theories by observing how grapes decompose in five different environmental settings. They will hypothesize how particular environments will affect their "artifact," record observations of the grapes' changing properties over a 10-day period and, finally, form conclusions based on their research. Suggested for grade level 5. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Stratigraphy - Layers of Time in the Earth
This science lesson introduces students to the concept of stratigraphy as a historical and geologic process and helps explain soil formation and the impact of floods on a watershed. The lesson is based on the deeply stratified Richard Beene site on the Medina River near San Antonio. Suggested for grades 11 and 12 but suitable also for lower grades. View TEKS and download page.

Tag It and Bag It
Students analyze and categorize snack mix in cooperative groups, simulating archeologists' work in the archeological lab. Students organize and interpret information in a chart, create a graph, and write a paragraph about what they find. This lesson integrates social studies, math, science and writing skills. Upper elementary and above.View TEKS and download page.

Art

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Cabeza de Vaca Meets the Coahuiltecans
Using historic documents, students will learn to distinguish the difference between primary sources, such as Cabeza de Vaca’s journal, La Relación, (The Account) and secondary sources, such as their history books or the posters they will create in this lesson. Suggested for grade level 7 (but easily adapted for 4th, 5th, 6th, or 8th).View TEKS and download page.

new

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibit Drawing Our Lives: Plains Indian Ledger Art Revisited
Students view examples of Plains Indian ledger art from different eras and read a speech made by Kiowa chief Satanta when his tribe was forced onto a U.S. government reservation in the late 1800s. They will then create an example of ledger art that documents some aspect of their own culture and write a paragraph explaining their choice of subject. Suggested for 7th grade, but easily adapted for 4th. View TEKS and download page.

icon signifying lesson correlates to a TBH exhibitMaking a Caddo Circle Book
Students write, draw, and use mathematics to create a short booklet about the Caddo Indians. This interdisciplinary lesson is suitable for grades 4 and 7. View TEKS and download page.

Personal Chronology
Students sequence chronological information. Suitable for elementary or middle school.View TEKS and download page.

Personal Painted Pebble
Students create painted pebbles and discuss possible uses of such artifacts. Suggested for grade level 4.View TEKS and download page.

Rock Art Around the World!
Students will learn that cultures in different parts of the world developed in different ways at different times and that we can learn a great deal about a culture by analyzing its rock art. Suggested for grade levels 9-12. View TEKS and download page.

Rock Art Caves
Students use the Internet to learn about rock art and the raw materials used to create them. Students work together in small groups to create caves for other students to explore in the classroom. Suggested for grade level 4 (but easily adapted for 5th). View TEKS and download page.