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Resources for Teaching About 19th-Century Texas Forts and the Western Frontier

Welcome teachers. In this section, you will find lesson plans designed to help your students understand the dramatic conflicts that occurred on the 19th-century Texas frontier as settlers moved westward into the state. Understanding based on different time periods (pre- and post-Civil War) and different perspectives is encouraged, including that of Anglo settlers, U.S. soldiers, and the Native Americans who considered the lands their domain. Other lessons look at towns and forts on the Texas frontier.

Designed for different grade levels and subject areas, the lessons are based on the objectives of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Each lesson is in Pdf format for easy downloading and printing for use in class. The lessons were written by experienced teachers: Dr. Mary Black, education consultant for TBH and former instructor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at UT-Austin, and Laine Liebick, 4th-grade teacher at Highland Park Elementary School in Austin.

Although many of the materials in the forts exhibits are copyrighted, teachers and their students may freely download any of the images and information for educational use such as class projects, book reports, and bulletin boards, provided that the source is acknowledged. Please work with your students so they will learn how to properly credit sources and avoid plagiarism. No commercial use or republishing (on the web or in printed form) of any material on Texas Beyond History is allowed without the express permission from the copyright holder.


In Moving West with the Forts students read a map of Texas forts and analyze westward movement from Statehood to the Civil War.

4th- and 7th-Grade

Timeline for the Western Texas Frontier engages students in constructing a timeline of events, helping them to understand the rapid changes in population, settlement, migration, transportation, and political control of Texas as it expanded westward.

In Two Ways of Life, students compare the ways of life of Indians on the western Texas frontier and U.S. military men at the Texas forts. This lesson helps students understand the clash of cultures that occurred in Texas and the west during the 19th century that ended with the removal and virtual destruction of most Native Americans from the state.

4th grade

Whose Business? allows students to compare the businesses in the nineteenth-century boomtown known as Fort Griffin (or The Flat) to those in the students' community. In the process, they will investigate the factors that influence the development of specific types of businesses in a community.

In A Day in the Life, students explore the roles of a variety of people who lived or worked at a nineteenth-century Texas frontier fort or in a nearby frontier town. By writing about a character in his/her own voice, students reach a greater understanding of life on the Texas frontier.