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Barbed Wire Changes Life on the Texas Frontier History Alive! Strategy: Problem Solving Groups Overview: In this Problem Solving Groupwork activity, students break into groups of 4 to study different aspects of barbed wire on the Texas frontier. Each group of students is assigned to study and then portray one of the following characters: sheriff, barbed wire salesman, cowboy, farmer, cattleman, and railroad man, in a setting of a town hall meeting. Objectives Students will: Assume the role of a character and develop and orally present their character’s opinion on the use of barbed wire on the frontier. Materials Required: Real-life sample of barbed wire and/or a picture of barbed wire, construction paper (for props),one place card per group, informationtask card sheet, transparency of Group Work Checklist, Matrix Chart for Town Meeting. Procedural Steps: 1. Read pages in your social studies textbook about how barbed wire changed the Texas frontier. 2. Place the students into heterogeneous groups of 4. Assign each group of 4 one of the above-mentioned characters (you should have 6 groups). May have to assign same character more than once if the class is large. 3. Hand out Groupwork Checklist and assign one of the following jobs to each person in each group: director-coordinates the group work-makes props as the group is working; screenwriterwrites the script, makes sure each group member has a copy, and with group help, fills out the Who Are You? sheet; researcher-makes sure the group incorporates facts from the information sheet as well as the task card; and the stage manager -acts as liaison to the teacher and makes sure the


group has resources. (A more detailed description of each job is on the Groupwork Checklist Sheet). 4. Project overhead transparency of Groupwork Checklist for town hall meeting to show procedures and roles. Tell the students that they will be participating in a town hall meeting about the effects of barbed wire on the Texas frontier. Go over Groupwork Checklist with the class. Make sure everyone understands their job. Encourage students to be as creative as possible in planning their part for the town hall meeting. Urge them to find realistic props and costumes. Set high expectations for the presentation. 5. Pass out and go over the Question Sheet and the Information/Task Card. 6. Students begin working while teacher monitors. After students have written their script, they will choose one spokesperson and helper, and the others will represent townspeople in the audience of the town hall meeting. The speaker will speak the opinions of the group and the helper will assist the speaker if the speaker gets stuck. The townspeople listen to everyone’s opinion and write one question to ask any member of the town meeting about their viewpoint. The questions will be asked at the end of the town hall meeting.

7. After town hall meeting is finished, teacher and students fill out Matrix Chart for Town Meeting. The chart will be your line in your Interactive Notebook.


Question Sheet Write the answers to the following questions to help you prepare for your presentation.

1. Which character is your group portraying?

2. What is your role at the town meeting in Rangerland?

3. What is your character’s opinion on the use of barbed wire?


Groupwork Checklist 1.

Make sure everyone in your group understands the Question Sheet and the Information/Task Card Sheet.

2.

Make sure each group member knows his or her job: Director-facilitates the group process to make sure everyone is on task from start to finish. Leads the group discussion. Makes props. Screenwriter-writes the script of the opinion of the character for the town hall meeting. Makes sure everyone gets a copy. Listens to the suggestions of the group and helps members work through their ideas. Continually reminds group members to bear in mind the question “Will students be able to clearly understand our opinion on the barbed wire issue?� Researcher-Examines the Information/Task Card Sheet and makes sure the group uses the information on the topic accurately. Stage Manager-Acts as a liaison to the teacher, makes sure everyone has resources and helps director on props.

3.

Rehearse your part of the town meeting. Use props in your rehearsal.

4.

Perform your part. Remember to be courteous while others perform their parts.


Information/Task Card Sheet-Sheriff Role Before the 1870s, wood or rocks were used to build fences. These materials were hard to find on the plains. In 1874 Joseph Glidden invented barbed wire, or twisted wire with sharp points called barbs. By stringing barbed wire between posts, farmers and ranchers could more easily fence their land. Barbed wire fences blocked the way of the cattle drives. To keep the trails open, cowhands sometimes cut barbed wire fences. Often, this led to fights. In 1884, Texas passed a state law making it a felony to cut another person’s fence. Barbed wire fences made the cattle drives difficult. When the railroads came to Texas, the cattle drives ended forever. Trains were a faster and easier way to send cattle to market. By the 1800s Texans used the railroads both for moving goods and for travel. The Cowboy and the Farmer The following is a role playing activity. The setting is Rangerland, a town in West Texas. A cowboy was recently shot there while trying to cut barbed wire. A town meeting has been called with representatives from the different groups in an attempt to prevent a range war. A. Wild Bill You are the sheriff of Ranger land, a town in West Texas. A cowboy was recently shot there while trying to cut barbed wire. You must maintain law and order and keep this from happening again. How can this be done when the cowboys and the farmers disagree over the open range? You are in charge of this meeting. Representatives of various groups are here to attempt to reach a solution. You must maintain order at the meeting.


Information/Task Card Sheet-Barbed Wire Salesman Role Before the 1870s, wood or rocks were used to build fences. These materials were hard to find on the plains. In 1874 Joseph Glidden invented barbed wire, or twisted wire with sharp points called barbs. By stringing barbed wire between posts, farmers and ranchers could more easily fence their land. Barbed wire fences blocked the way of the cattle drives. To keep the trails open, cowhands sometimes cut barbed wire fences. Often, this led to fights. In 1884, Texas passed a state law making it a felony to cut another person’s fence. Barbed wire fences made the cattle drives difficult. When the railroads came to Texas, the cattle drives ended forever. Trains were a faster and easier way to send cattle to market. By the 1800s Texans used the railroads both for moving goods and for travel. The Cowboy and the Farmer The following is a role playing activity. The setting is Rangerland, a town in West Texas. A cowboy was recently shot there while trying to cut barbed wire. A town meeting has been called with representatives from the different groups in an attempt to prevent a range war. B. Mr. Bob Wire You are a barbed wire salesman. You must establish that there is a need for barbed wire in West Texas. Recently a man was shot while attempting to cut barbed wire. In this meeting you must stay on good terms with the farmers so that you can sell them barbed wire.


Information/Task Card Sheet-Cowboy Before the 1870s, wood or rocks were used to build fences. These materials were hard to find on the plains. In 1874 Joseph Glidden invented barbed wire, or twisted wire with sharp points called barbs. By stringing barbed wire between posts, farmers and ranchers could more easily fence their land. Barbed wire fences blocked the way of the cattle drives. To keep the trails open, cowhands sometimes cut barbed wire fences. Often, this led to fights. In 1884, Texas passed a state law making it a felony to cut another person’s fence. Barbed wire fences made the cattle drives difficult. When the railroads came to Texas, the cattle drives ended forever. Trains were a faster and easier way to send cattle to market. By the 1800s Texans used the railroads both for moving goods and for travel. The Cowboy and the Farmer The following is a role playing activity. The setting is Rangerland, a town in West Texas. A cowboy was recently shot there while trying to cut barbed wire. A town meeting has been called with representatives from the different groups in an attempt to prevent a range war. C. Mr. Wrangler You are a cowboy. A good friend of yours was recently shot while attempting to cut barbed wire. This violence must stop, but the cattle drives must continue. Your whole life centers around cattle drives.


Information/Task Card Sheet-Farmer Before the 1870s, wood or rocks were used to build fences. These materials were hard to find on the plains. In 1874 Joseph Glidden invented barbed wire, or twisted wire with sharp points called barbs. By stringing barbed wire between posts, farmers and ranchers could more easily fence their land. Barbed wire fences blocked the way of the cattle drives. To keep the trails open, cowhands sometimes cut barbed wire fences. Often, this led to fights. In 1884, Texas passed a state law making it a felony to cut another person’s fence. Barbed wire fences made the cattle drives difficult. When the railroads came to Texas, the cattle drives ended forever. Trains were a faster and easier way to send cattle to market. By the 1800s Texans used the railroads both for moving goods and for travel. The Cowboy and the Farmer The following is a role playing activity. The setting is Rangerland, a town in West Texas. A cowboy was recently shot there while trying to cut barbed wire. A town meeting has been called with representatives from the different groups in an attempt to prevent a range war. D. Mr. Corn You are a farmer. You are constantly bothered by cowboys trying to cut your fences to get their herds to market. You have had enough of cowmen who do not obey the law. It was one of the men who shot the wire cutter. All you want is to be left alone to grow crops and not have them destroyed.


Information/Task Card Sheet-Cattleman Before the 1870s, wood or rocks were used to build fences. These materials were hard to find on the plains. In 1874 Joseph Glidden invented barbed wire, or twisted wire with sharp points called barbs. By stringing barbed wire between posts, farmers and ranchers could more easily fence their land. Barbed wire fences blocked the way of the cattle drives. To keep the trails open, cowhands sometimes cut barbed wire fences. Often, this led to fights. In 1884, Texas passed a state law making it a felony to cut another person’s fence. Barbed wire fences made the cattle drives difficult. When the railroads came to Texas, the cattle drives ended forever. Trains were a faster and easier way to send cattle to market. By the 1800s Texans used the railroads both for moving goods and for travel. The Cowboy and the Farmer The following is a role playing activity. The setting is Rangerland, a town in West Texas. A cowboy was recently shot there while trying to cut barbed wire. A town meeting has been called with representatives from the different groups in an attempt to prevent a range war. E. Mr. Steer You are a cattleman. You have driven herds to market for the last ten years, and you have seen many changes in that time. You would like to return to the good old days before the farmers came. You do not believe fences belong in the West. If God had wanted fences in Texas, he would have built them. The Indians did not have fences. You do not want cattle drives to end for any reason.


Information/Task Card Sheet-Railroad Man Before the 1870s, wood or rocks were used to build fences. These materials were hard to find on the plains. In 1874 Joseph Glidden invented barbed wire, or twisted wire with sharp points called barbs. By stringing barbed wire between posts, farmers and ranchers could more easily fence their land. Barbed wire fences blocked the way of the cattle drives. To keep the trails open, cowhands sometimes cut barbed wire fences. Often, this led to fights. In 1884, Texas passed a state law making it a felony to cut another person’s fence. Barbed wire fences made the cattle drives difficult. When the railroads came to Texas, the cattle drives ended forever. Trains were a faster and easier way to send cattle to market. By the 1800s Texans used the railroads both for moving goods and for travel. The Cowboy and the Farmer The following is a role playing activity. The setting is Rangerland, a town in West Texas. A cowboy was recently shot there while trying to cut barbed wire. A town meeting has been called with representatives from the different groups in an attempt to prevent a range war.

F. Mr. RR You are the railroad man, and you see railroads as a way to end the strife. You want to build railroads in Texas to move cattle east. When you arrive, no one will be expecting you, and you must sell the railroad to all present at the meeting.


Character

Character’s Opinion

Test  

Barbed Wire

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