Learn about Texas history, historical sites and preservation, and other history-related content areas through these free, downloadable resources for K-12 students and teachers.
Content Area Resources
- Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá Learn about Spanish colonization in Texas through the story of a mission which was destroyed. Using primary and secondary documents, students will investigate what happened at the mission on March 6, 1758, and reflect on current archeological discovers at the site.
- Texas Archeology in the Classroom An educator's guide to teaching archeology with information, resources, and hands-on activities aligned with TEKS for classroom use (grades 3 through 12).
- Piecing History Together Artifacts can help archeologists understand the cultures that created them. In this activity, learners decorate an artifact, break it, and then experience the process of reassembling it.
- What Does an Archeologist Do? What's the difference between an archeologist and a paleontolgist or geologist?
- Careers in Archeology Are your students interested in archeology as a career? Find out more.
- Texas Archeology Month Each October, organizations across the state celebrate the spirit of discovery.
Cattle and Cowfolk
- The Chisholm Trail Scavenger Hunt In the 19th century, major cattle routes began in Texas and ran hundreds of miles to the stockyards and rail hubs in northern states. The months-long trips were hard on both the cattle and the cowfolk. Would you have made the journey? Using the THC Chisholm Trail brochure and scavenger hunt questions, find out more about the legendary cattle trails before you make your journey decision. An answer key is provided.
- Texas Foodways: Pan de Campo Use this baking activity to make (and eat!) the legendary camp bread of the 19th century cattle trails. This hearty yet simple staple was named the state bread of Texas in 2005.
- Chow Bingo How does a snack of brown gargle and boggy top sound? Cowfolk along the Texas cattle trails knew what those food items were. See how well you can match the cowfolk slang term with the real food item in Chow Bingo 1 and Chow Bingo 2. An answer key is provided.
- Texas Trails Pathways of History This ebook, published by the Texas State Historical Association to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail, includes information and graphics about historic Texas cattle trails, longhorn cattle, and notable cattlemen and women.
- Ranching: A Primary Source Adventure These Texas ranching learning resources, featuring oral histories, lesson plans for 4th and 7th grade students, and additional weblinks, are provided by The Portal to Texas History Resources4Educators.
- Campfire Stories: Cattle Folk At this Bullock Museum website, learn about Texas cattlemen and women, the cattle trail timeline, and what the iconic XIT Ranch had to do with the construction of the Texas state capitol building.
Cemeteries are steeped in the history and the stories of real people. To help students interpret this information, the Cemetery Lesson Plan for Grades 4 and 7 explores typical memorial and physical features found in most cemeteries. By experiencing a gallery walk through Oakwood Cemetery (established in 1839), the oldest cemetery in Austin, Texas, and becoming familiar with cemetery-related vocabulary, students will build a foundation for understanding the history that lives in cemeteries in their own communities.
Learn more about Cemetery Preservation.
Texas Historical Markers Lesson Plan In these activities, students explore and analyze Texas historical markers as resources for understanding and preserving local history.
- The Texas Prisoner of War Camps Lesson Plan In this lesson correlated to 7th grade TEKS, learners analyze the establishment, operation, and economic impact of Texas WWII prisoner of war camps located at Camp Hereford, Camp Huntsville, and Camp Swift.
- The Prisoners of War in Texas Lesson Plan In these four lessons correlated to high school U.S. History TEKS, learners analyze the role of the Geneva Convention in the establishment of Texas POW camps during WWII, the treatment of POW camp prisoners, and the economics of POW camps to understand the immediate and continuing legacy of these camps in both Texas and U.S. history.
- The Zimmermann Telegram, 1917 This coded message, sent by German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann, helped change American sentiment about entering World War I. In this activity, learners used a code key to figure out the missing words in a text summary of Zimmermann's message. A key is provided. An image and translation of the actual telegram text is also included.
There has never been a better time for capturing oral histories than now. Use the guidelines to discover the process of oral history interviewing. Practice asking good questions and understanding the etiquette and challenges of documenting other people's stories. The family interview activity offers the opportunity to put the practice into action and capture the history of then and now.
THC Historic Sites Lesson Plans and Site Guides
Why Coyote Stopped Imitating his Friends—1st Grade
This lesson provides material about the Caddo storytelling practice and how the stories themselves can be related to modern day stories and experiences.
Building a Caddo House—4th Grade
This art lesson was created to compliment historic lessons related to the Caddo Indians. Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is the sponsor of this lesson and related historical materials as they pertain to the Caddo Indians. This lesson is one of a series that incorporate art with history in relation to the Caddo people while meeting necessary national and state standards.
Caddo Indians—4th Grade
This lesson covers the origins, similarities, and differences of American Indian groups in Texas and North America before European exploration.
Caddo Indians—4th Grade
This Art lesson was created to compliment historic lessons related to the Caddo Indians.
Simple Machines, Tools, & Weapons of the Caddo—4th & 5th Grade
In this lesson, students will recognize that the Caddo Indians were a people that contributed to our national identity. The student will communicate in various ways an understanding of the systems that the Caddo used. They will know that tools and weapons of the Caddo are considered a system and/or structure. They will create models of these systems.
Reviving Caddo Pottery—4th & 7th Grade
Students will learn about the Caddo culture, especially with the art of clay pottery. The students will get background information about the Caddo tribe along with the history and uses of their clay pottery. They will then study about Jereldine Redcorn and her revival of this art, as well as trying to make their own, using the coiling method.
I Am a Caddo-a Multimedia Project—7th Grade
Students will research the lives and customs of the Caddo Indians. They will create a multimedia project, using Microsoft Photo Story 3, which tells the story of a Caddo Indian.
Traditional Caddo Stories—7th Grade
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration files for Caddo Mounds State Historic Site. It is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Poetry in Nature: Writing Activities and Comparisons to Caddo Poetry
To often we ask students to write a brief summary of what they have learned. What if we asked them to create poetry which includes the results of their investigations of the Caddo and the land they call home? In this lesson, students will document observations and write poetry reflecting connections with the environment. Be sure to download the lesson handouts.
Elementary, Middle School, & High School
Caddo Mounds: A Regional Center of the Mississippian Culture—5th, 6th, 7th, 8th Grades & High School Social Studies
This lesson could be used in units on early history in the American South. It provides interesting context about the Caddo people who have lived in Texas since 750 AD.
Videos: Caddo Traditions Teachers' Workshop
Our Caddo Mounds State Historic Site hosted a summer 2016 Caddo Traditions Teachers' Workshop that offered opportunities for K-12 teachers to learn about Caddo cultural traditions from Caddo people and scholars. Workshop sessions covered Caddo pottery, iconography, dance, stories, food, religion, cane weaving, and more. The videos in this playlist give teachers and students short introductions to some of these Caddo traditions. This project was sponsored in part by The Summerlee Foundation and Humanities Texas.
Videos: A New Lens Teachers' Workshop
El Camino Real De Los Tejas—1st Grade
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration files for El Camino Real de las Tejas. It is one that will bring the importance of historic places into classrooms across the country.
A Walk Along El Camino Real de los Tejas—4th Grade
This art lesson was created to compliment historic lessons related to El Camino Real De Los Tejas. This lesson is one of a series that incorporates art with history in relation to El Camino Real De Los Tejas while meeting necessary national and state standards.
El Camino Real—4th Grade
This lesson will focus on how one road can change over time to allow for developing background information, then lead into the specific history of El Camino Real and analyzing the people who used it and purposes that it served over time.
Exploring Caddo Culture Through Storytelling—4th Grade
This lesson will focus on the Origin Stories. Students will read through several Origin Stories and use their critical thinking skills to look beyond the stories themselves, but into what the stories offer for a glimpse into the life of the Caddo.
El Camino Real De Los Tejas—7th Grade
This lesson’s focus is to analyze the political, economic, geographic, and social (PEGS) connections to the El Camino Real de los Tejas potentially across multiple eras of Texas history beginning with Natural Texas and Its People (Prehistory-1528) through to Spanish Colonial (1690-1821).
Pre- and Post-Visit Lesson Plans—4th Grade
Educators can use the 4th grade lesson plans, which are aligned with TEKS, in the classroom or as an introduction/follow up to a visit to Casa Navarro. Lesson plans and activities include information on Casa Navarro, the life of Jose Antonio Navarro, and Historic Laredito.
Pre- and Post-Visit Lesson Plans—7th Grade
In this guide, you will find TEKS-aligned classroom lessons and extension activities that will prepare your students for a visit to Navarro’s historic home.
Pre- and Post-Visit Lesson Plans—High School
This TEKS-aligned classroom lesson plan prepares students for their visit to Casa Navarro by providing insight into José Antonio Navarro’s political influence as a Tejano leader by analyzing primary sources and charting his career on a timeline.
Expolre the buildings of "Little Laredo" using the Casa Navarro—Laredito Powerpoint
- Texas Time Travel This THC site offers maps, brochures, and short videos on Texas history, Heritage Trails, and statewide travel. See the Guides & Apps tab for material that can be downloaded or ordered.
- Texas Travel Guides Colorful brochures focused on history content as well as Texas heritage travel are available to download or order for classroom use.
- Texas Council for the Social Studies This state affiliate of the National Council for Social Studies provides an educator blog and lesson plan resources under The Texan tab on the main menu.
- National Council for the Social Studies This national organization provides numerous resources and information on social studies-related conferences, publications, and classroom practices.
- The Institute of Texan Cultures The ITC's Education website has lots of information and activities for teachers, parents, and children, including "Just for Kids: Adventures in Texas History and Culture."
- TeachingTexas.org Teaching Texas is the premier site for finding resources to teach Texas studies. All resources are linked to 4th and 7th grade TEKS. The website is a collaborative project of the Texas State Historical Association, the Portal to Texas History, and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, as well as others. You can also find THC educational materials here.
- The Handbook of Texas Online The Handbook of Texas Online is a multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, geography, and culture sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association.
- Portal to Texas History The Portal is a gateway to Texas history materials. You may discover anything from an ancestor's picture in a college yearbook to a rare historical map.
- Texas Beyond History Texas Beyond History is a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, in partnership with the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University and 15 other organizations.
- The General Land Office Map Collection The vast Map Collection of the Texas General Land Office Archivesconsists of more than 80,000 manuscript and lithograph (printed) maps, sketches and documents dating from the early 1800s.