Unit Study: The Lone Star State
- Friday, November 09, 2012
“Is today the day, Dad?” Ten-year-old Bethany hopped from one foot to another, her blonde braids bouncing with each step.
“Not yet, sweetheart. Remember we have a few weeks to go before it starts.” Bethany’s father smiled at her.
“I can’t wait. Will the Ferris wheel be ready in time?”
“That’s what the newspaper says.”
“How big is it?” Bethany interrupted.
“The Dallas News said it will be the tallest Ferris wheel in all of North America.”
“It’s recorded to be 212.5 feet tall, like a twenty-story building. They have 44 gondolas, which will hold 264 riders.” He glanced at the paper.
“What’s a gondul?”
Her dad laughed. “Not gondul, honey, gondola. It’s like a big bucket.”
“Big, ’cause everything’s big in Texas, right, Dad?”
A chuckle escaped. “So they say. It’s reported that you’ll be able to see all the way to downtown Fort Worth.”
“But that’s forty miles away, isn’t it, Dad?”
“Good job, Bethany. I’m surprised you remember that.”
“I remember you telling me when it seemed to take forever to travel the forty miles to the airport to pick up Grammie and Grandpa. It’s about the same time it takes to watch my favorite movie, but it seemed a whole lot longer. So if I wave when I’m at the top, will people in Fort Worth be able to see me?”
“No, we can’t see small things from that far a distance.”
“Where did the Ferris wheel come from?”
“All the way from Italy,” Dad said. “It must have taken quite a while to ship all the pieces over so they could assemble it here.”
“I remember Mom teaching me about Italy last year. It’s all the way in Europe.”
“That’s right, honey.”
“I can’t wait to go.” Bethany gave her father a quick hug before going off to play.
Big Tex—the largest state fair in the nation—opened on September 28 in the Dallas area. Even if you don’t live in Texas, you can go on your own adventure as you learn about the Lone Star State and its fascinating history. Grab your hat, hang onto this magazine, and let’s get started.
Armadillo, bluebonnets, friendship, jalapeno, migration, Mexican free-tailed bat, monarch butterfly, pecans, prickly pear cactus, ranching.
- “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” Psalms 50:10
- “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
- Write a story about a monarch butterfly that migrates from Texas to Canada. What things happen to it on its journey?
- The Texas state motto is “Friendship.” Write a story about this.
- The worst natural disaster in American history is the Galveston, Texas, hurricane of 1900. Over eight thousand deaths occurred. Write a newspaper article about this tragedy.
- Davy Crockett fought at the Alamo. Find out what you can about this man and write a book report.
- Austin, Texas, has the largest urban bat colony in the nation—up to 1.5 million bats can be seen at the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge near sunset from mid-March through early November. These are Mexican free-tailed bats. Find out what you can about these creatures and report your findings to your family. More species of bats live in Texas than any other area of the United States.
- The monarch butterfly is Texas’s state insect. These beautiful creatures migrate far distances. Discover more information about them and write about it in your journal.
- The armadillo is the state small mammal. They are unique animals. Research and learn more about them.
- More wool comes from Texas than any other state. See what you can find out about sheep.
- According to Bat Conservation International, the Austin Mexican free-tailed bats consume as much as ten tons of insects—each night. If they eat twenty thousand pounds of bugs per night from March 15 through November 5, how many tons of insects will the bats eat?
- Find out what river is the longest in Texas. How many miles? Draw its path on a map of the state.
- Texas became a state on December 29, 1845. How many years have passed since then? Find out its order of entrance into the Union.
- West Texas rainfall averages eight inches or less, while East Texas is above fifty-six inches. What is the difference between these two numbers?
- The state cattle population is estimated to be sixteen million. Write out this number in numerals.
- Texas boasts the largest rose garden in the nation. The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden spans twenty-two acres with thirty-eight thousand bushes. How many bushes are there per acre?
- Most would think that Texas is the largest state, but it isn’t. Find out which state is larger.
- Texas is known as the Lone Star State. Research and discover how it received this name.
- Visit your local library and check out some books on Texas. Write down ten different things you have learned about this state.
- The King Ranch, first established in 1853, is bigger than the state of Rhode Island. Learn more about ranching.
- Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in all of Texas. Find out where it is located and identify it on your map.
- Our nation’s first suspension bridge was built in Waco, Texas, in 1870. What river does it cross?
- The Battle of the Alamo was a struggle against impossible odds. Research and learn about this story in history.
- The last major battle of the Civil War was fought on May 12–13, 1865, at Palmito Ranch in Texas. It was fought on the banks of the Rio Grande, about twelve miles east of Brownsville. Locate the area on your map.
- Dr. Pepper soda was created in Waco, Texas, in 1885 by Charles Alderton. Drink this refreshment together with your family.
- The prickly pear cactus—the Texas state plant—produces a fruit that is used in jams, jelly, candy, and drinks. Learn more about this prickly fruit.
- The state dish for Texas is chili. Find a recipe and make this meal. If you are brave, include the state pepper—the jalapeno.
- Eat some pecans, and you’ll be consuming part of the Texas state tree.
- Texas is the biggest producer of natural gas, oil, goats, sheep, beef, wool, rice, cotton, and watermelons in the US. Enjoy a watermelon with your family.
- The hamburger was created in Athens, Texas. Eat one when you’re consuming the watermelon.
- The U-2 spy plane was built and designed in Texas. Find photos of this aircraft and then draw your own rendition.
- One of the natural beauties in Texas occurs in spring when the state flower is in bloom. Bluebonnets are a flower unique to Texas. Discover how they look, and then make a card for someone and draw a picture of these plants.
- Find out which city in Texas is known as the live music capital of the world.
- Composer William J. Marsh created the state song, “Texas, Our Texas.” Look for a copy and listen to it.
- The state musical instrument is the guitar. Learn how to play one.
- The world’s first rodeo occurred on July 4, 1883, in Pecos. Find out more about rodeos and come up with your own version of this event. Rodeo is the official state sport.
Jodie Wolfe is married to her best friend, David. Her passions are writing, reading, knitting, and leading a Bible study for women. Jodie is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. After sixteen years of homeschooling her two sons, she is now moving on to a new era of writing Christian historical romances. Check out her musings at Digging for Pears and Encouraging Words for Christian Writers.
Publication date: November 9, 2012
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