Let’s talk about the Oil Boom in Texas! This era in Texas History is fascinating for our students, so let’s capitalize on their excitement!
Oil has been big business in Texas since early in the 20th century and has been a vital part of our economy. Ever since oil was discovered at Spindletop in 1901 it has been a part of how we live.
I like to start this unit with important vocabulary. Oil comes with a whole set of language all its own, and I think it is important for students to understand what they are reading about.
Another important aspect of oil is what it is used for. We complete a sort of petroleum and non-petroleum products. My students are always fascinated by the sheer amount of things that are made from oil, including items like guitar strings that they never would have thought.
Of course, we love to read all about Spindletop and the birth of the oil industry, and there are some pretty good choices out there! The (affiliate) links below take you to some of our favorites.
Another important topic to consider is the changing landscape of transportation. It is important for students to understand the implications that the discovery of oil in Texas had on the population’s ability to move around.
It really is truly amazing how quickly transportation changed from covered wagons to automobiles with combustion engines.
Finally, I like to end the unit with a bit of an “experience,” in the form of a dice simulation. My students LOVE these simulations, and I LOVE the narratives they create afterward in addition to the conversations that they lead into. They get so excited about completing the simulation, and it really gives them the experience to remember. I have had students come back years later and tell me that what they remember most are completing these simulations.
Of course, if you want to assess your students or complete other activities based on the Oil Boom then this bundle is a great place to start!