Welcome to the Eight For Each State US Geography tour. I am so glad you are joining us.
Texas, the only state to have been its own country, could still pass for a country all its own and it was next in our US Geography Study. It is as big as several eastern states put together, has its own power grid, and a fierce individualistic mindset.
We had a great time studying Texas. Benaiah’s favorite was the stories of the Alamo. But you know, he is a sucker for battles. Ruth thought that our chuck wagon dinner was pretty cool. Sarah Joan’s pick was the stories about the cowboys we read.
1. Nonfiction Resources
We always begin our state study the same way. With a bit of information on the state as a whole. Here are our favorite books and videos to get you started.
L is for Lone Star by Carol Crane – The best US Geography studies will include these books from Sleeping Bear Press. Be sure to check out the free teacher guides on their web site. We love the vivid pictures and pithy descriptions about what makes each state great!
Exploring the States, Texas by Kristin Schuetz – Another good set of state books with more data like information. These books also have recipes in the back.
Texas and Cowboys go together like a horse and carriage. What was interesting to learn about cowboys’ long cattle drives were how short lived their time in Texas history was. Only twenty years after the long cattle drives began, the railroad, and homesteaders broke up the endless grazing lands of the cattle ending the cattle drive for the cowboys.
Here are our favorite read alouds for cowboys
- Cowboys by Marie and Douglas Gorsline – And oldie, but a goodie. By far our favorite book on cowboys.
- Cowboys and Cowgirls: YippeeYay! by Gail Gibbons – With simple pictures and text, anytime I find a Gibbons book on a subject we are looking at, I snatch it up.
- It Happened in America by Lila Perl – Our newest US Geography treasury included a story about the cowboys on the Chisholm Trail. A great all around book for a US Geography study.
- The Cowboy’s Handbook: How to Become a Hero of the Old West by Tod Cody – Not a read aloud, but my kids loved looking through it at all of the neat projects and pictures. I even found my husband reading it one night!
Oil has a long history in Texas. My son wanted to know how plastic was made, so naturally, we looked up a YouTube video on how oil is used to make plastics. Enjoy these resources to learn more about oil in Texas.
- Spindletop Gusher: The Story of the Texas Oil Boom by Carmen Bredeson
- Bluebonnet at the East Texas Oil Museum by Mary Brooke Casad – This series looks so cute!
- This YouTube video didn’t answer all of our questions, but it satisfied the curiosity of my son.
The Texas state flower is beautiful. In our house, we paint and draw beautiful things that we learn about. After a quick Pinterest search, we had a good idea of how to paint this Texas treasure.
5. Chuck Wagon Dinner and Craft
Once we decided to make a chuck wagon for our Texas craft, Ruth insisted that we have a chuck wagon dinner as well. Fortunately, I had already planned a meal that would work.
We had baked potatoes, barbecued pulled pork, baked beans and a salad. Our table was decorated with the chuck wagons we had made earlier to complete or Texas themed meal.
6. Samuel Houston and Stephen Austin
Biographies are some of our favorite read alouds. Especially ones that detail the childhoods and defining moments in a famous person’s life. Learning about Sam Houston and Stephen Austin are a must for any US Geography study of Texas.
7. The Alamo
As I was reading one of our Alamo books to the girls, Benaiah comes hurdling into the living room shouting, “Is that about a battle? Can I listen PLEASE?” Bet you can guess my answer. He loved everyone of these books. And we read them all. It will be a long time before we need to be reminded to “Remember the Alamo.”
- Susanna of the Alamo: A True Story by John Jakes – A hard read for me, but my children really got into this story about one woman at the Alamo. A good account of the event plus the epilogue of how Texas eventually won their independence from Mexico.
- Battle of the Alamo by Rod Espinosa – This graphic history series is fun for all my kids. They love the pictures and the different perspective offered by seeing the dialog happen.
- The Boy in the Alamo by Margaret Cousins – Ruth read this one independently. She gave it five stars, along with many other people on Amazon.
8. Other US Geography Studies
- Learning is Messy has some great ideas for preschoolers and young elementary US Geography state studies.
- Shower of Roses is baking their way though the states with fun and enjoyable meals and treats!
- Catholic Missionary Family is nearly half-way through their Journey Across America.
- A Common Shepherdess has state inspired meals for most states.
L Is for Lone Star: A Texas Alphabet (Discover America State by State)Texas: The Lone Star StateCowboysCowboys and Cowgirls: YippeeYay!It Happened in America: True Stories from the Fifty StatesThe Cowboy’s Handbook: How to Become a Hero of the Old WestSpindletop Gusher: The Story of the Texas Oil BoomBluebonnet at the East Texas Oil MuseumMake Way for Sam HoustonStephen F. AustinSusanna of the Alamo: A True StoryBattle of the AlamoThe Boy in the Alamo
What are you favorite US Geography studies from around the web?
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