The state of Texas has an image problem. For some reason, Hollywood and the news media are telling one dominant story about Texas, and leaving out other stories about our state -- important ones! In this 7th grade humanities unit, students will brush up on social studies skills, and develop in such areas as: reading maps, making graphs, detecting bias, analyzing primary sources, and identifying different perspectives. In order to answer the question, "Who is Texas, really?" students will engage in research and use an expository organizational structure of their choice (compare & contrast, problem-solution, etc.) to communicate their findings. Each student is responsible for answering the question through a different social studies lens: a cultural lens, a geographical lens, an economic lens, a political lens, or a historical lens, using evidence in the form of maps, graphs, primary sources, and media. Finally, students will use their research papers as a springboard to develop a documentary to place on YouTube that tells the world what Texas is really like; to share the truth beyond stereotypes. In other words, we'll research as many stories about Texas as we can, and we'll do our best to celebrate stories from Texas that aren't usually told. While this unit explores Texas specifically, at it's heart, it's meant as a middle school introduction to social studies skills and expository writing. For this reason, it can be adapted easily to fit the narrative of any state.
Wilson, Zachary, "Who Is Texas? Exploring Dominant and Overlooked Stories about The Lone Star State" (2018). Understanding by Design: Complete Collection. 401.
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