Teaching the Texas Government unit of Texas History can be hard when you don’t have the right resources. Check out this blog post with ideas and materials for engaging students in their learning about the Government of Texas.
Learning About the Texas Government
When it comes to learning about the Texas Government I like to dive right in by talking about the documents that formed the government’s structure and detailed what jobs it would do.
You probably already know the two documents our standards refer to are the Texas Declaration of Independence, written during the Convention of 1836, and the current Texas Constitution. Both of these documents were written based on their United States counterparts and have many similarities. If time allows, I would recommend pulling passages of each to compare and contrast.
3 Branches of the Texas Government
After learning about the foundation of the Texas Government we quickly move onto the three branches. For most students, this is a review, but sometimes it isn’t depending on their social studies background.
We take a look at each of the branches and what jobs they hold in the government.
It is only natural to then look at leaders of the Texas Government both current and in the past and classify them by which branch of the government they served in.
At this point in the unit, we discuss Texans that have served as President of the United States. This includes not only native-born Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson, but also the three presidents that called Texas home later in life, Ike Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.
It may come to a surprise to many of your students that the Bush family is not originally from Texas because they are so ingrained in Texas today.
A notebook activity and reflection questions for this learning can also be found in the interactive notebook kit.
My favorite way to wrap up the Texas Government unit is to have students complete a research project all about important Texans who held a place in their government.
The project I have chosen most to have my students complete are book jacket reports. You can check them out here. This project comes complete with a suggested list of people to research and a rubric of expectations to make grading easier.
Wrapping Up the Texas Government Unit
To complete the Government of Texas unit we present our research projects. Depending on how much time we have we may present to the whole class. If time is limited we presented in table groups, or even to partners. I have always found students LOVE to share their research. I always made time for some sort of presentation.
To review our learning from the unit we played a game with these task cards.
Finally, when students are ready, we wrap up the unit by completing an assessment. If you would like the assessment I have used along with word wall cards, daily lesson plans, and all the resources included in this blog post check out the full unit here.