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

Texas Beyond History

TBH Home

Timeline for the Western Texas Frontier

Download lesson plan and included materials

Subject: Social Studies

Grade: 4th and 7th

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

Time Duration: Two to three 45-minute class periods

Objective: By constructing a timeline of events on the western Texas frontier, students will understand the rapid changes in population, settlement, migration, transportation, and political control of Texas as it expanded westward.

TEKS: Social Studies, 4th Grade

  • (1C), describe the cultural regions in which American Indians lived such as Gulf, Plains, Puebloan, and Southeastern
  • (3D), describe the successes, problems, and organizations of the Republic of Texas such as the establishment of a constitution, economic struggles, relations with American Indians, and the Texas Rangers; and
  • (4D), explain the effects on American Indian life brought about by the Red River War, building of U.S. forts and railroads, and loss of buffalo
  • (19B), analyze information by applying absolute and relative chronology through sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions
  • (19C), organize and interpret information in outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps

Social Studies, 7th Grade

  • (1A), identify the major eras in Texas history, describe their defining characteristics, Revolution and Republic; Early Statehood; Texas in the Civil War and Reconstruction; Cotton, Cattle, and Railroads
  • (1B), explain the significance of the following dates: 1845, annexation; 1861, Civil War begins
  • (4A), identify individuals, events, and issues during the administrations of Republic of Texas Presidents Houston, Lamar, the Council House Fight
  • (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
  • (20C), organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps


Activities and Procedures:

Step 1: Students can work in pairs or individually at the computer to access:

Step 2: Students construct an illustrated timeline with the following dates: 1836, 1845, 1848, 1854, 1861, 1866, 1872, 1879, 1882. Students choose one event for each year and illustrate it on the timeline.

Step 3/Closure: Students share their timelines with the class, explaining why they selected certain events.

Extension Activities, Alternate Closure, or Assessment

1. Card Sort. Divide students into groups of 3-4. Create enough sets of cards so that each group has one set. Give each group the entire set of cards, or only specific cards from the stack at teacher discretion. Let them know that some dates may have more than one event card that corresponds to it.

2. Have group members work together or individually to match the date cards to the event cards and put them in order. If students choose to work one at a time, have one group member act as timer, one as 'checker', and allow other students in the group to be a "lifeline" to offer advice if the student arranging the cards gets stuck. If students in the group choose to work together, the teacher or another appointed student will need to check the accuracy of the cards.

3. Compete to see which student or groups can match the date cards to the event cards the quickest.

4. To increase difficulty and engagement, the teacher may walk around the room and add additional cards to the group's set.

5. Cards may also be used to play "memory", or event cards may be arranged in the proper historical order without matching to the date cards. Cards may be added or removed to match what has been learned in class or to increase or decrease difficulty.

6. Have students learn more about the Red River War at: