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Whose Business?

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Subject: Social Studies

Grade: 4th

Author: Laine Liebick, revised by Jason Terry (2023)

Time Duration: Two 45-minute class periods

Objective: To compare the businesses in the town of Fort Griffin (The Flat) to those in the students' community. To investigate the factors that influence the development of specific types of businesses in a community.

TEKS: Social Studies, Grade 4

  • (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
  • (7A), explain the geographic factors such as landforms and climate that influence patterns of settlement and the distribution of population in Texas, past and present
  • (7B), identify and explain patterns of settlement such as the location of towns and cities in Texas at different time period
  • (9B), explain the economic activities early settlers to Texas used to meet their needs and wants
  • (11A), identify how people in different regions of Texas earn their living, past and present
  • (11C), identify the effects of exploration, immigration, migration, and limited resources on the economic development and growth of Texas
  • (11D), explain how developments in transportation and communication have influenced economic activities in Texas
  • (20B), interpret geographic data, population distribution, and natural resources into a variety of formats such as graphs and maps


Activities and Procedures:

Step 1: With the entire class, brainstorm a list of the businesses and organizations that can be found in the school community. (Guide students to also include non-commercial sites such as churches, hospitals and schools.) Write the list on chart paper and post it where it can be seen easily.

Step 2: Working with a partner or in small groups, students will examine the map of Fort Griffin on the web site or a print-out of the map and create a list of the businesses and buildings mentioned there.

Step 3: With the entire class, create a composite list of the responses students noted in Step 2. Compare the lists and mark the responses common to both locations. Discuss the following questions: (Display the map of the Fort Griffin area to help students identify some of the reasons for the presence of certain businesses in the town.)

  • What businesses and buildings do both communities have in common?
  • Which businesses or buildings in the Fort Griffin community are not found in the community around the school? Why?
  • Which businesses or buildings in the school community are not found in Fort Griffin? Why?
  • What general factors determine which businesses or buildings will be in a community?

Student Product: Class lists of businesses in both communities.

Closure: If you were moving to the Fort Griffin community during the 1800's, what business would you try to establish? What businesses are absent from this community that you feel would be a benefit to Fort Griffin? Why?

Assessment/ Extension Activities:

1. Choose one business that Fort Griffin and your community have in common and one business that was found in only one community and explain why your choices would be needed in their communities. Write a sentence or two about each business.

2. Explore the Fort Griffin exhibit on Texas Beyond History: to learn more about the history of the community. On this webpage, the town of Fort Griffin is known as The Flat. Look up your own community's web site to find out what it was like during the 1800's. Draw a map of the community around your school showing all of the businesses and organizations in the area.