“Come and take it.”

It is a familiar battle cry in Texas and one that resonated with Copperas Cove Junior High School student Nestor Portalatin as he studied the Texas Revolution. So much so that he created a diorama of the famous battle for a class project.

The Texas Revolution was the conflict between the armies of Texas and Mexico in the 19th century. The settlers in Texas were unhappy living under Mexican rule and the government in Mexico City was very unstable. The revolution was a success for Texas because it won independence against Mexico, which allowed it to become the Republic of Texas in 1836.

Through Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, junior high teachers including Danelle Ecker educate students on the famous battles.

“The Texas Revolution is one of the few lessons that my students remember long after they leave my class. I like getting the students involved in their learning and this is the perfect way,” Ecker said. “These hands-on projects make them think about the who, what, where, when and why of the event they chose for that time period because it is graded on accuracy and effort.”

Student Parise Sasa chose to research William B. Travis.

“I learned that he was only 26 and a lieutenant colonel in the Army,” Sasa said. “He also died during the Battle of the Alamo.”

Ecker said students are required to research all aspects of the event they chose, including the cause and effects, so that they can fully understand their event.

“They use this research to also write a one page essay. This paper helps them prepare for their presentations in the library, assessments over the material, and the Writing STAAR,” Ecker said. “They present the final project to the sixth-graders brought in to see them, who usually do not know anything about Texas History or do not remember it from elementary school.

“I have assigned this project every year I have been here. This was my fourth year. I still get surprised by what some of these kids come up with. Their creativity is amazing and their effort proves that students do care about history.”

Student Caleb Jones said his project took him about a week to finish. “I chose to make a model of the Battle of the Alamo because I think it is interesting and also really cool,” he said.

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