Heritage, 2011, Volume 2 Page: 15
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standing the impact of the Texas
Revolution. The highlight of the web-
site is the game, "In Washington Town."
Students step into the town of
Washington in 1836-as either a boy or
girl-and interact with the citizens dur-
ing the convention. Besides imparting
valuable historical details, the game also
includes fun auxiliary challenges such as
a banjo playing game similar to the
now-popular "Guitar Hero."
The site's interactive
teaching format intro-
duces the men who
founded the new repub-
lic to today's younger
generation of tech-savvy
students and makes this
landmark gathering in
the town of Washington
accessible to every
classroom in Texas free
In addition, the website contains an
animated movie and several other inter-
active activities. The "Convention
Comicmaker" exercise allows students
to choose characters, backgrounds, and
speech bubbles, and then write their
own dialogue. When finished, the
comic can be printed or emailed. The
"Timeline of Independence" highlights
key cultural, military, and political
events in the state's evolution from
The early days of the Texas Republic
were often charged with emotion as the
settlers struggled to follow their dreams.
Many did not get what they bargained
for in choosing to establish a new home
for themselves and their families. The
Texas Independence website explores the
sources of Texan discontent and the rea-
sons for drafting a declaration of inde-
pendence in the "Behind the Grievances"
section. Students are presented with a
direct quote from a primary source and
are asked to identify the associated griev-
ance found in the Declaration of
Independence. Upon answering correct-
ly, students earn a jigsaw puzzle piece,
and at the end of the activity, they
assemble the pieces to create a printable
copy of the historic document.
The "Delegate Connection" section
provides an in-depth look at the 59 del-
egates who signed the Texas Declaration
of Independence. These men put their
lives on the line at Washington-on-the-
Brazos, but most have been forgotten
since that frenzied time. Students can
search by a delegate's name, municipal-
ity, face, birthplace, namesake, arrival
date, or if applicable, namesake county
(25 counties in the state were named
after a signer).
The material culture of the Texas
Republic is reflected throughout the
website, most prominently in the
"Primary Sources" section, which con-
tains a database of selected artifacts from
the Star of the Republic Museum's col-
lection. Students are able to browse by
type, subject, or theme and create a vir-
Above, left to right: Texas Declaration of
Independence signers James Collinsworth, James
Power, Samuel Augustus Maverick, and William
Crawford are featured on the Texas Independence
educational website. Images above are from that
site. Opposite page: Screen snapshot of the home
page of the Texas Independence website; courtesy
of Star of the Republic Museum.
tual collection of their favorite objects.
Once they have created their own "collec-
tion," students can use these objects in a
variety of ways. For example, if they
selected household accessories-like a but-
ter churn, a candle snuffer, sugar nippers,
and a chamber pot-they could write a
story that incorporates those items. Or
they could create a virtual exhibit or
PowerPoint presentation, based on their
selected artifacts, to describe everyday life
in the 19th century. Supplemental teacher
resources, including TEKS-aligned lesson
plans, are also offered.
The Texas Independence website is a
one-stop resource for teaching about the
birth of the Republic of Texas. Although
targeted at fourth and seventh graders,
the site contains elements that are appro-
priate and fun for students of all ages.
Teacher response has been overwhelm-
ingly positive. One enthusiastic educator
wrote: "Great website! You don't know
how long I have looked for something
fun and relevant for my fourth graders to
do that deals with Texas history. Thank
you!" Visit the site at www.txindepen-
Anne McGaugh is the curator of education
at the Star of the Republic Museum at
Volume 2 2011 I TEXASHERITAGE 15
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 2, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254221/m1/17/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.