The Republic of Texas is usually a really quick unit in our classroom that, if I'm being honest, I was usually trying to squeeze in before winter break. Texas was only it's own nation for just shy of ten years, but a lot happened during that time.
As we still do today, the Republic of Texas was decidedly for doing things their own way. They did model their constitution after the Constitution of the United States, and you can still see the similarities there which is where I usually start. I like to have my students read this article on the constitution, which is admittedly a tough read for fourth graders, but with some help they can do it. I think of it as a close read with historical context.
One thing that my students have found very interesting about the Republic of Texas is that in those ten years there were three different capitals. Living just south of Austin they all thought that Austin had always been the capital, and it blows their minds to find out that it just isn't so.
Another hot topic during this unit is the Texas Rangers, and no I'm not talking Dallas baseball here, but instead the law enforcement agency.
They have a long and storied past within the culture and security of Texas, along with a celebrity face that no one can forget. Yes, I am talking Chuck Norris.
Yes, even fourth graders know Chuck Norris, and I usually tell them that they have one minute to get out all their Chuck Norris jokes before we move onto the real information.
During the unit, especially since it is usually right before the break, we complete a couple of student projects like Designing Your Own Flag and Designing Your Own Money which get students into the spirit of starting a new country.
To assess the unit I use a couple of sorts. The first sort is between Presidents Lamar and Houston. The second, which is a great lead into the unit on annexation, is distinguishing the Successes and Challenges that faced the Republic.
I have not been able to find any literature that holds it's weight for this unit, but would love to hear from you in the comments if you have!