University of Texas at Austin wordmarkUniversity of Texas at AustinCollege of Liberal Arts wordmarkCollege of Liberal Arts

Texas Beyond History

TBH Home

Moving West with the Forts: Using an Interactive Map

Download lesson plan and included materials

Subject: Texas history

Grade: 7th

Author: Mary S. Black (2003), revised by Jason Terry (2023)

Time Duration: One 45-minute class period

Objective: Students will read a map of Texas forts and analyze westward movement from Statehood to the Civil War.

TEKS: Social Studies, Grade 7

  • (6A), identify significant individuals, events, and issues, including the factors leading to the expansion of the Texas frontier, the effects of westward expansion on American Indians, the buffalo soldiers, and Quanah Parker
  • (6D), explain the political, economic, and social impact of the agricultural industry and the development of West Texas resulting from the close of the frontier
  • (9A), identify ways in which Texans have adapted to and modified the environment and explain the positive and negative consequences of the modifications
  • (10B), describe how immigration and migration to Texas have influenced Texas
  • (20C), organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps


Activities and Procedures:May be done individually, in pairs, as a whole class activity, or as a learning center activity.

Step 1: See the section U.S. Army on the Texas Frontier at Scroll down to the interactive map, "U.S. Forts in Texas, 1849-1860."

Step 2: Click on 1849, 1854, and 1860 to see which forts were active in those years.

Step 3: Students answer the questions on the handout, individually or in pairs.

Extension Activities:

1. In some cases, small communities grew around the forts. In other cases, forts were located near towns founded long before 1849 in order to protect them. Find the following cities on a Texas map and identify the fort that helped them grow.

  • Fort Worth
  • Brownsville
  • Fort Stockton
  • Burnet
  • El Paso
  • Uvalde
  • Gatesville
  • San Angelo
  • Brackettville
  • Laredo
  • Mason
  • Eagle Pass
  • Rio Grande
  • City Fort Davis

2. Allow students to further explore and analyze the U.S. Army on the Texas Frontier page of Texas Beyond History. Continue to observe how the location of forts changed throughout the years, and study other contributions the forts made to Texas history.

Assessment: Completed handout, class discussion.