Lighthouse Initiative for Texas Classrooms

Grade 7 Lessons

  • Grade 7 Lessons (pdf)
    • Lessons and Skills Correlation
    • Mirabeau B. Lamar’s Idea of Nationalism and the Republic of Texas
    • Immigration to Texas
    • Revolution: Take a Stand!

Teacher Voice: Grade 7 Pre-AP* Texas History—Becky Elbert, Pre-AP Texas History, Waller Junior High School, Waller, TX

Stepping into a grade 7 Pre-AP* classroom will provide the observer with an opportunity to see young scholars on task in a rich learning environment. On any given day, students will be engaged in a myriad of activities utilizing a variety of materials including, maps, secondary and primary source documents, fiction and nonfiction literature, poems, songs, art, photographs, video clips, letters, artifacts and other related materials, as well as the textbook. Exposure to these resources and opportunities to work in the manner of real historians are critical elements to the success of the grade 7 Pre-AP program.

Lessons in which students compare and contrast viewpoints and different personal accounts, relate past events to current situations, and practice high level critical thinking skills will also be apparent in these classrooms. Daily lessons will incorporate cooperative grouping as well as independent research.

The following descriptions illustrate a sample of grade 7 Pre-AP classroom activities. In a unit entitled "Settlement of West Texas," students are required to observe photographs of early pioneer families and record their observations on a photographic archives form acquired from a museum. Students must then research census data and construct graphs to indicate population growth, average age, occupations, and areas from which the people came. On another day, lyrics of songs will be played on a Victrola and guitar and analyzed for the historical references. Primary and secondary documents are read, summarized, and presented to the class. Maps of the most famous trail drives are drawn and a table of the mileage, obstacles, and positive attributes of each is created. Based on that information, students are asked to evaluate, make judgments, select a particular trail to travel with a herd, and develop a journal of their "cattle drive," including a page of expenses and final profit. The culminating activity asks students to assume a character who would be present on a cattle drive (cook, trail boss, drag men, flankers, point men, longhorns, wrangler, remuda) and perform the duties of each role on a small scale, simulated cattle drive outside.

To assess their learning, students are required to write an essay detailing the factors that contributed to the settlement of West Texas. Details should include the ways in which windmills, fencing, movement of the Indians to reservations, and railroads effected settlement.

Grade 7 students are definitely in transition. In their metamorphic travels through the seventh grade, they represent practically every stage of physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development. Lessons in the Pre-AP classroom will be as varied as the students for whom they are designed.