SUGGESTED CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

These activities are merely suggestions. Please use them to generate your own ideas and teaching techniques. We encourage you to plan a field trip to the Governor's Mansion in the future. Admission is always free. Please ask for student materials when you arrive at the Governor's Mansion.

Vocabulary and Concepts:
Mansion • First Lady • Inauguration
Governor • First Family • Term of Office
State • Governor's Mansion • Election
State Capitol • Campaign • Civil War
Revolution • Republic of Texas • Union
Independence • Texas Statehood
Constitution • Annexation • Confederacy
Historic Building • Restoration
Renovation • Preservation

1. Get a large sheet of paper and brainstorm with your students to build an inventory of knowledge about:
The Capitol / The Governor / The Governor's Mansion
Make a list of the items to stimulate your students thoughts on the subjects and bring the list to your tour. Compare what you knew with what you learned by repeating the exercise on your return.

2. Have your students research the Office of the Governor. For instance, have them identify five governors of Texas. Who was the first governor of Texas? Who was the governor when they were born? Who is the governor today? What issues did the governors have to deal with? What are the duties of the Governor? Then brainstorm on the personal lives of the governors. Does the present governor live in the Governor's Mansion? Does his or her family live there, too? What would it be like to be the son or daughter of the governor? If you were governor, how would you spend your days?

3. Have the students ask an older person that they know (parent/grandparent/neighbor, etc.) if they have any interesting memories of the previous governors of Texas. Has anyone you know met a governor? Write these memories down and bring them to class.

4. Have your students pretend they are someone who has been invited to dinner at the Governor's Mansion. Have them choose a governor (past or present) and write about their dinner by answering the following questions.
Who are you? What is your Job?
In what year is your visit?
What kind of transportation did you use?
What did you eat?
How are you dressed
What topics of contemporary interest will you discuss over dinner?

5. Ask your students to compare house types from yesterday and today. Does the Governor's Mansion look like a suitable home for the governor? What other kind of buildings does it look like? If your students were to build a governor's mansion today, what would it look like? have your students draw a picture of their governor's mansion. (Or have the class collect shoeboxes and make their own governor's mansion.)

6. Why was it important to restore the Governor's Mansion? To understand the need for restoration, tape a piece of paper to the wall at the door of the classroom and have the students touch it every time they enter the room for two weeks. How worn and dirty will that piece of paper get?

view