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Activities and Lesson Plans

Living off the Land mag coverLiving Off the Land

Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, November 2008

Living Off the Land opens the door to many studies. To start off, you may print Living Off the Land 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 what you think at:

Suggested Topics: similarities and differences, patterns of settlement, adapting to and environment, human impacts, art, math, introducing archeology, botany, oral history.

Related 4th Grade TEKS:

History. Similarities and differences of Native American groups in Texas 4.1 A, B; Geography. Use geographic tools 4.6 A, B; Geography. Understand regions 4.7 A; Geography. How people adapt to and modify their environment 4.9 A; Economics. Basic economic patterns of Native American groups in Texas 4.10 A; Government. How Native American Groups governed themselves 4.15 A; Science: Predict and draw conclusions about what happens when part of a system is removed 5 B; Art. Expresses ideas through original artworks 4.2 A, B; Math: Adds and subtracts to solve meaningful problems involving whole numbers and decimals 4.3 A, B; Estimate and use measurement tools 4.11 A.

Discussion Questions

  • Look closely at the picture on the first page. What did early Native Americans eat? How did they get their food?
  • Where do we get our food, clothes and other needs? Can you trace where those items come from?
  • How were the lives of some tribes the same? Different? How is your life the same as other Texas children in other parts of Texas? How is it different?
  • What role did bison play in the lives of plains Indians?
  • What is a pictograph?
  • Name several uses for plants (food, baskets, medicines, etc.)


Ideas from our Naturalists: Shane Mooneyham from McKinney Falls State Park brings two great activity ideas for us this month: Pot Drop and You Want Me To Eat What?

More about Bison

Bison Activities (TPWD lesson plans such as What does a bison eat? Bison math, timeline, bison seasons and more)

Native American Indians, Cultural Focus

Learn About Texas Indians Activity Book 
Develop a Culture activity
Texas Beyond History lesson plans from University of Texas

Rock Art and Archeology

Draw Rock Art activity
Pictographs on Parade is a fun web site by University of Texas called Texas Beyond History
Create Your Own Pictographs is another great how-to activity from Texas Beyond History
Indian Rock Art in Texas

Analyze a Picture
Calendar of Events at Texas archeological sites
An Archeology Dig described for kids

History and Legends

Have students create oral histories related to living off the land. Here are some resources on how to do oral histories.

Oral History: Smithsonian Interviewing Guide
Oral History: Story Corps

Native Plants

Plants provide food, medicine and wonder. Have fun looking at the plant side of living off the land!

  • Can your students identify plant sources of their food? Have students pick out examples from the pages of Keep Texas Wild magazine section.
  • Make a Plant Press
  • Have your students find a plant or flower in the school grounds, park, yard or other "green" area near them. Instead of looking up an identification for the plant, have students draw or write about the plant, making up a name and story about the plant based on their observations.

Project WILD

Project WILD offers opportunities to discuss hunting and animal use in an objective manner.

Project WILD Workshops

TEKS and TAKS correlations