TBH Lesson Plan
Lesson Title: Whose Buffalo?
Grade Level: 7th
Rationale: This two-part lesson deals with events on the Great Plains of Texas leading up to the Red River War of 1874. Students will examine how the Plains Indians vied with white commercial buffalo hunters for the millions of Great Plains buffalo, and will create an illustrated broadside supporting the interests of either the Indians or the commercial hunters.
Two 45 minute class periods or one 90 minute block
Objectives: Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
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Social Studies, 7th Grade
- Social Studies 113.23 (1A), identify the major eras in Texas history
- Social Studies 113.23 ( 5B), analyze the economic effects of the Civil War in Texas
- Social Studies 113.23 ( 6A), identify significant events, and issues including the factors leading to the expansion of the Texas frontier, the effects of westward expansion on Native Americans, and the effects of the growth of railroads
- Social Studies 113.23 (8A), create thematic charts
- Social Studies 113.23 (9A), locate places and regions of importance
- Social Studies 113.23 (10A), identify ways in which Texans have adapted to and modified the environment
- Social Studies 113.23 (10B), explain ways in which geographic factors have affected the development of Texas
- Social Studies 113.23 (13A), analyze the impact of national and international markets and events on the production of goods and services in Texas
- Social Studies 113.23 ( 20D), evaluate the effects of technological innovations on the use of resources
- Social Studies 113.23 (21A), use primary sources
- Social Studies 113.23 (21B), analyze information by finding the main idea and summarizing
- Social Studies 113.23 (21C), organize and interpret information Social Studies 113.23 (21D), identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event
- Social Studies 113.23 (21E), support a point of view on a social studies issue or event
- Social Studies 113.23 (22C), transfer information from one medium to another
- Social Studies 113.23 (22D), create written and visual presentations of social studies information
- Social Studies 113.23 (23B), use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, and take action to implement a decision
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View English Language Arts Reading TEKS
English Language Arts and Reading, 7th Grade
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (8C), read for varied purposes
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (10F), determine a text's main ideas
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (10G), summarize text to organize ideas
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (10H), draw inferences and support them with text evidence
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (10L), represent text information in a graphic organizer
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (11A), make connections and raise questions in response to text
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (11D), connect ideas across text
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (13B), use text organizers
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (13C), use multiple sources to locate information
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (13G), draw conclusions from information
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (15B), write to persuade
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (15H), produce cohesive and coherent written texts
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (16 B), capitalize and punctuate correctly
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (17A), write in complete sentences
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (18A), generate plans for writing by using prewriting strategies
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (20E), present information in various forms
- English Language Arts and Reading 110.23 (24A), produce visuals to extend meanings
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Activity – Part I: The debate: Whose buffalo? - Gathering information and using prewriting strategies
- Step 1: Show the Great Plains map transparency. Explain that in the early 1800s there were 50-60 million buffalo roaming the Great Plains, but by 1890 the number had fallen to 750 and the animals were in danger of becoming extinct.
- Step 2: Show the Great Plains buffalo transparency and ask students if they’ve ever seen a real buffalo. Explain that in the 1870s two groups vied for the right to kill as many of these animals as they wished: the Plains Indians and white commercial buffalo hunters. In the 1870s, each side had supporters who hotly debated the “Whose buffalo?” issue. Advise students that they will gather information about both sides, then choose one side or the other to support.
- Step 3: Distribute the “Whose Buffalo” graphic organizer to students. Show the transparency of the graphic organizer on the overhead projector. Explain to students that before deciding which side (the Indians or commercial hunters) they choose to support, they will gather at least 5 facts supporting each side, using a fact sheet and online exhibits at the Texas Beyond History website.
- Step 4: Distribute the “Whose Buffalo?” fact sheet. Let students work with a partner to read the fact sheet and list arguments on each side of the graphic organizer.
- Step 5: Advise students that after they have read and gathered facts from the fact sheet they may search for further arguments on the following websites:
How many ways can you use a buffalo?
Interview with a buffalo hunter
Red River War
Activity – Part II: Creating a Broadside
Step 1: Remind students that in Part I of this lesson, they identified arguments for the rights of both the Plains Indians and the commercial buffalo hunters. In Part II of the lesson, students will take a stand supporting the rights of either the Indians or the commercial hunters.
Step 2: Introduce broadsides by asking students to discuss what forms of media they use to get their news. List their responses. Point out that in the 1870s there were no televisions, radios, or Internet reports, and while newspapers were available in some towns and cities, it was the posting of broadsides that allowed people to express their political or social ideas in public. Explain that the broadside was an inexpensively produced early form of mass media that was usually printed on one sheet of paper, and often contained illustrations and short songs or poems that could help get the author’s message across to the public. They were generally posted in stores windows or other public places.
Step 3: Advise students that in this part of the lesson they will work in a group to produce a broadside defending their chosen side of the “Whose buffalo?” debate. Distribute copies of the “Whose buffalo?” grading criteria to students and place a transparency of the grading criteria on the overhead. Go over it with students.
Step 4: Have students get into groups of 3 or 4, letting them choose group mates who share the argument they want to put forth in their broadside. Advise students they will need to consult the “Whose Buffalo?” grading criteria and divide up the work of creating their broadside among their group members.
Step 5: Distribute supplies necessary for creation of the
broadsides and allow the rest of the class period for students to produce
Highlight pertinent information in the fact sheet for transfer to the graphic organizer.
- Graphic organizer notes
- Illustrated broadside
Have students list ways they might express their opinions today that didn’t exist in the 1870s. Possible answers include bumper stickers, blogs, group emails, television or radio ads, etc.
Remind students that in the 1870s, killing of the Great Plains buffalo was a hotly debated issue. Ask students to identify issues dealing with animals that are controversial today. Possible answers include protection of all endangered animal species, using animals for laboratory testing, raising animals only for their fur, animal attacks on humans (e.g., pit bulls) and animal attacks on livestock (e.g., wolves, coyotes), etc.
- Have students share their broadsides in class and post them in the classroom or hallway.
- Have students create bumper stickers for a controversial issue they want to support or protest.
Texas Archeological Research Laboratory
University of Texas at Austin
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