Texas is a state in the Southwest region of the United States. It has a long history, both before and after joining the United States. A state research project is the perfect summative activity for any U.S. Region, Geography class, or general research unit of study. Students will love learning about state landmarks, mottos, fun facts, history, and so much more! Research is an important skill for children to learn at a young age; it exposes students to expository text, gives them practice determining important information, and enhances note taking and presentation skills.
Date of Statehood: December 29, 1845 (28th state)
State Motto: Friendship
State Nickname: The Lonestar State
State Bird: Mockingbird
State Tree: Pecan Tree
State Flower: Bluebonnet
Tourist Attractions: The Alamo, San Antonio’s River Walk, Big Bend National Park, Johnson Space Center, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and the Sixth Floor Museum
Famous Citizens of Iowa: Drew Brees, Lyndon B. Johnson, Steve Martin, Beyonce, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Kenny Rogers, and Sandra Day O’Connor
Capital City: Austin
Major Cities: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth
Many years ago, Native American tribes inhabited Texas. Some of these tribes included the Caddos, the Apache, the Comanche, and the Karankawa. In 1519, Spanish explorer Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda was the first to map the coastline, and Cabeza de Vaca arrived in 1528 when his ship wrecked. In the late 1600s, Europeans began settling in Texas. Frenchman Robert De La Salle established Fort St. Louis in 1685, but soon the Spanish took over. The Spanish established Catholic missions to spread Christianity throughout the area, and in 1718, what is now known as the Alamo was built.
In 1825, while Texas was still a part of Mexico, American Stephen F. Austin arrived with many people, and with the Mexican government’s approval, he established a colony. As the colony quickly grew, they had more and more disagreements with the Mexican government. Tensions got so high that in 1835, the Battle of Gonzales took place. As fighting broke out around the area, the Texas Revolution began. During the famous Battle of the Alamo in 1836, almost 200 Texans were killed. Even though they were defeated, Texas declared their independence on March 2, 1836, and defeated the Mexicans at the battle of San Jacinto. Although they were independent, Texas was not admitted into statehood until December 29, 1845 as the 28th state. Mexico was not happy that Texas was declared a state, and the Mexican-American War broke out in 1846. The war lasted about a year and a half, and ended with a U.S. victory in 1848.
Students will create a historical timeline, a postcard, a spider map, and a fun facts storyboard showing what they have learned about Texas. Creating these visuals gives the students the opportunity to show their creativity and their unique view of the state that they have researched. In addition, the combined use of words and illustrations allows students with different learning styles to show what they know in an exciting and eye catching way.