Are you ready to teach your 4th grade Texas History students all about the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845?
The annexation of Texas is kind of a foreign language for fourth graders. I admit that it is a tough thing to teach. The idea that one country would WANT to be taken over and included in another is a bit tricky, but it can also be really fun!
In this blog post I will be detailing 5 activities to do with your Texas History students to drive home the period of time surrounding the annexation of Texas to really make it stick.
Annexation of Texas Activity #1 – Review and Debate
I start the annexation of Texas unit out by reviewing what we learned about the Republic of Texas and we go back over the Successes and Challenges Sort that we completed.
We use this information to complete a fold-up detailing the pros and cons of annexation. From here, students split up into those for annexation and those against for a debate. We usually spend about one history period practicing our arguments and then hold the debate the next day.
This activity is a lot of fun and allows students to see how there were people on both sides of the argument with good points. At the end of the debate, we hold a class vote to decide if we will be annexed or not. More times than not the class votes overwhelmingly to be annexed. It still boggles my mind that some students are surprised when I say it happened. I mean, aren’t we all part of the United States now?
Annexation of Texas Activity #2 – Go Letterman on Them
If you aren’t one for a debate, this freebie is a great way for students to decide on their own whether they think Texas should be annexed or not with this Letterman style Top Ten List.
Then we have the big reveal… Texas gets annexed into the United States. Again, it never ceases to amaze me that even though students know that we are now part of the U.S. they are shocked to find out that we were annexed. Really, every year at least half the class is surprised. It makes me giggle a little.
Even if you did do the debate, which is more of a team activity, it is fun to see what students personally think is important enough to include in their top ten. Before students get started I show them a YouTube video as an example of what a Letterman’s Top Ten is. There are a ton, and there may even be one on a topic you are currently studying. Be sure to check for appropriateness before viewing with students as some get a little racy!
Annexation of Texas Activity #4 – Talk Conditions
From there we talk about the conditions that Texas laid out to the United States in order to be annexed.
Before we talk about the conditions Texas had for joining the United States table teams get together and make their own lists. I tell teams to try and come up with ten conditions each. They refer back to the pro-annexation arguments they discussed earlier in the week as hints.
Then, I tell students that Texas had just four demands, so to narrow their lists down. Each team shares their four ideas for conditions with the class.
Then, I use this PowerPoint to lead this discussion. I love that it provides a framework for our discussion and keeps us on track. Students are always thrilled when they were able to come up with one of the conditions before learning about it. I haven’t had a group yet that has come up with the state retaining the ability to split into four individual states.
Annexation of Texas Activity #5 – Bring It All Together with an Anchor Chart
Once we have all the information we review by turning it all into an anchor chart together. We come together and determine what is important enough to include. Then we work as one to make the chart we can refer back to later.
You can see our example at the top of this post.
For more activities and information on the annexation of Texas check out this bundle of activities!