How I Teach It: European Explorers in Texas

The next big idea that we hit for Texas History is European Explorers! I have a lot of fun with this unit, and know that the students do too.

First we start by exploring (how punny) different explorers using the European Explorers Introduction and Research Resources FREEBIE.  This document, like the Native American counterpart allows students to visit different websites about explorers using QR codes to quickly navigate. 

After that, we look at the differences in explorers, conquistadors, and empresarios. I have an easy fold-up to make taking notes a bit more interesting. The three tab Explorer, Empresario, Conquistador Fold-Up allows students to differentiate between the three types of adventurers. 


From there we begin taking notes on the different influential explorers of Texas. We start with Leif Ericson and then follow a basic timeline to talk about other explorers. I love fold-ups, so of course I have one for explorers. the European Explorers of Texas  fold up has a tab for each of the influential explorers of Texas in addition to an illustration and date.  This quick fold-up allows students a handy resource to refer back to. Also, as we learn about each explorer we list it on the Explorer, Empresario, Conquistador Fold-Up under the appropriate tab. 


Finally, we talk about explorers' motivations for coming to Texas, especially conquistadors' searching for the 3 Gs. Of course I have another fold-up for that one. The super quick and easy 3 Gs of Conquistadors Fold-Up allows students to understand why Europeans were coming to Texas. 


Each of these fold-ups also has 3 journaling questions to spark discussion after taking notes. I really like to have my students write in content areas, so these reflection questions serve as journaling prompts for my students. They lead to great discussion afterwards!

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