Activities and Lesson Plans

Cover-Honor Roll

TPW Magazine, March 2010
If you don't have a copy of the TPW magazine, you may print a copy of Honor Roll: Texas Symbols (pdf).

Honor Roll: Texas Symbols
Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine,
March 2010

You may print Keep Texas Wild's Honor Roll 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: Texas history, geography, symbols, art, interpretation

Related 4th Grade TEKS

English/Language Arts

4.1 A,C: Listening/speaking/purposes: The student listens actively and purposefully in a variety of settings.

4.4 A,B,C: Listening/speaking/culture: The student listens and speaks both to gain and share knowledge of his/her own culture, the culture of others, and the common elements of cultures.

4.5 F: Listening/speaking/audiences: The student speaks clearly and appropriately to different audiences for different purposes and occasions.

4.9 A,E: Reading/vocabulary development: The student acquires an extensive vocabulary through reading and systematic word study.

4.13 C,F,G: Reading/inquiry/research: Conduct research using a variety of sources.

Social studies

4.17 A: Citizenship: The student understands important customs, symbols, and celebrations of Texas.

4.18 A,D:  Citizenship: The student understands the importance of voluntary individual participation in the democratic process.


4.3 A,D: Scientific Processes: Uses Critical Thinking and Scientific Problem Solving to Make Informed Decisions  

4.5 A,B: Science Concepts: Parts Removed from Complex Systems  

4.8 A, B: Science Concepts: Adaptations Increase Survival 

Discussion Questions

What is a symbol?

Do you have a symbol for your school? (Sometimes these are mascots.)

What symbols do people use to communicate about themselves? (clothing, jewelry, tattoos, stickers, bumper stickers, company logos)

Pick a symbol in the Keep Texas Wild article. What story does it tell? How does it make you feel?


Look for symbols in magazines, on cars or take a trip through the halls of the school.

Visit a museum or create a mini-museum. How do the artifacts become symbols? What story does it tell? What is its historic message? How should it be described?

Here are some suggestions from by Jan Johnson of Karnes City High School and Ken Task of ESC Region III in Victoria, Texas for cross-curricular activities and extensions:

Music: Learn the song "Texas, Our Texas." Look for other cowboy songs or folk tunes that mention Texas symbols. ("Yellow Rose of Texas," "Listen to the Mockingbird") Research the musical instruments, such as flutes and drums, used by Native Americans. Did any of the respondents to the survey mention music? Learn how to sing or play their anthem or song!

Art: Create a mural or collage featuring all the symbols collected.

Geology: Visit a museum to view Texas petrified palm (the state fossil) and other fossils, or take a field trip to a rock quarry or other rock collecting site.

Biology: Grow bluebonnets in window boxes.

Homemaking: Shell pecans, and bake pecan tarts; bake and decorate cookies in the shapes of the symbols, and invite parents to an open house to learn about the project!

Arts & Crafts:Embroider the symbol that "won" in a patch; paint it on a t-shirt or muslin bandana.

Field trips: Visit one of the Texas state parks that have Longhorns; visit the state capitol; visit your local museum; visit a retirement home and talk with people about their earliest memories of Texas.

Speech: Deliver persuasive speeches to convince an audience that one particular symbol is the "best" to represent Texas

Literature: Find short stories, poems, or novels that contain symbols of Texas, and write about their meaning in that context.

Higher-order thinking: Have students write each symbol (their own, and all those contributed) on separate note cards. Then, let students classify these, dividing them into definable categories. (For example: animals, buildings, humans, geometric shapes.)

Creative Writing: Discuss the word "totem." Have students write about the symbol that best represents their own personality, skills and interests. What qualities do they share with this symbol?

Drama: Discuss the stereotype of the Texas cowboy and cowgirl. View clips from John Wayne movies, Giant, or spaghetti westerns. Analyze the walk, mannerisms, speech patterns, and colloquialisms used by the actors and actresses. Then, have students work in groups to rewrite and present short scenes from plays or stories they have read (as far removed from the Western genre as possible) as if cowboys and cowgirls were playing the parts.

Project WILD

Additional Teacher Resources

  • Printable worksheets
  • Online coloring
  • Word search
  • Worksheets