Activities and Lesson Plans

Building the West: Buffalo Soldiers
Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, February 2010

You may print Building the West: Buffalo Soldiers children's pages from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine. We hope you'll consider a subscription to our magazine. Be sure to check out the Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine special offer for teachers. And please let us know your suggestions for future issues at:

Suggested Topics: regions of Texas, geography, settlement, history, plants and animals, diversity, adaptation, conservation

Related 4th Grade TEKS:

Language Arts
4.13 B, C, F: Reading, Inquiry, Research : Inquires and Conducts Research Using a Variety of Sources
4.15 B: Writing/purposes. Writes for a Variety of Audiences and Purposes
Social studies:
4.4 History: Social changes in Texas during the last half of the 19th century
4.7 B, C: Geography: Regions: human activity, landforms, climate, vegetation from physical characteristics
4.9 C: Geography: Humans Adapt to and Modify their Environment
4.20 C: Culture: summarize the contributions of people of various racial, ethnic, and religious groups in the development of Texas.
4.22 C: Social Studies Skills: organize and interpret information in outlines, reports, databases, and visuals including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps
4.22 D: Social Studies Skills: Identify different points of view about an issue or topic
4.22 E: Social Studies Skills: Identify the elements of frame of reference that influenced the participants in an event
4.23 D: Social Studies Skills: Communicates in written oral and visual forms
4.24 A: Social Studies Skills: Problem Solving and Decision Making
4.4 D: Number, operation, and quantitative reasoning. Multiplication and Division
4.11 A: Measurement. Length, capacity/volume and weight/mass.

Discussion Questions

  • Did you ever hear about Buffalo Soldiers?
  • How did Buffalo Soldiers get heir name?
  • What is unusual about the story of Cathay Williams?
  • What part of the daily life of a Buffalo Soldier would you enjoy?
  • What part of the daily life of a Buffalo Soldier would you not enjoy?
  • Describe how Buffalo Soldiers help built the west.


Note: The images of the Buffalo Soldiers in the magazine are that of re-enactors and living history experts.

Several activities are suggested on the Student Research Page.

Consider these topics: Mapping; Settlement of Texas; Civil War and Race Relations; Survival Skills

See a Buffalo Soldier presentation or Historical Site event.

Project WILD activity suggestion

  • Make a Coat! - Students make replicas of coats using different materials and representing varying historical periods. Upon completion students identify that some historical and present-day sources of clothing are plants and animals; collect and analyze data to infer the sources of most materials used in clothing today; and distinguish between some examples of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources. Requires butcher paper or large shopping bags; scissors; paint; crayons; yarn; wool scraps; heavy thread and needle.