The Commercial Melting Pot - 20th Century Texas Business
Social Studies, Grades 4–8
Students will demonstrate understanding of the impact of the free enterprise system on Texas commerce and the economy. Through creation of a brochure to entice business to Texas, students will analyze the development of major Texas industries, the desirability of Texas as a commercial location, and the benefits of attracting new commercial ventures to the state.
Students should have a basic understanding of the commercial and economic culture in Texas, including companies that reside in the state.
Students should understand the concept of the free enterprise system and its resultant features.
Write the following questions on the board:
- What is the free-enterprise system?
- How does it work?
- Why does it benefit Texas and the U.S.?
- Be prepared to give specific examples to support your points.
- What products/goods does the U.S. produce and/or sell?
- What products/goods does Texas produce and/or sell?
- What is the free-enterprise system?
- What is supply and demand?
- What is profit?
- How can situations around the world have an impact on the Texas and U.S. economy?
Be prepared to give specific examples to support your points.
Have students work with a partner for about 5 minutes to discuss and record their answers to the above questions. Have groups share their answers and discuss.
As a group, have students brainstorm companies and/or industries that currently take advantage of the natural resources, economy, or location of Texas.
Once the list has been created, have the students discuss how these different companies/industries benefit Texas and what makes Texas attractive to these companies/industries.
Using TAMI’s collection of commercial advertisements and promotional films (see Videos), choose roughly 5-10 from the list to share with students.
NOTE: The list of Videos is by no means an exhaustive list of the TAMI collection. It was prepared to provide examples of the variety of films that do exist and the topics they address. If you are interested in different content, it is recommended that you search TAMI’s database by either the term “commercial,” a specific company name, or the name of an industry.
Instruct students to watch the films looking for the following:
- What industries are located in Texas?
- What are the companies advertising through their commercials?
- How are they attempting to convince the public to use their product?
- Why do you think the company chose to open a location in Texas?
- What impact do you think the company and their product has on Texas?
- How and why has the company spread to other regions of the world today?
Alternate through the films you selected by showing the film, having students answer the above questions, and discussing each film before you start the next one.
Using the class discussion over the archival footage, their textbooks, the Resource section, and the Internet, have students create a brochure or (depending on the technology you have available) a commercial advertising Texas to a specific business or field with the intent of enticing them to relocate to the state. The brochure should focus on the following concepts:
- Information about similar companies or industries currently located in Texas (or that the arrival of this industry/business would be a groundbreaking first)
- The benefits of relocation of the company to Texas – focusing on both benefits to Texas and the company (consider political, social, and economic benefits)
- The availability of workers, resources, and transportation for the company
- What region would be the best for the business they are trying to attract
- Why Texas is the best choice
When students have completed their commercial or brochure, have them present their ideas to the class as if the class was the business they were trying to attract. At the completion of the presentation, have the students vote to determine which presentation was the most effective in convincing them to move their business to Texas.
Have students watch the film Dallas Market – Center of World Trade (see Videos), taking notes that focus on the role of the Dallas market in world trade. Students should then write a persuasive essay to an East coast business convincing them to relocate their corporation to Dallas, providing specific details to explain why Dallas is an ideal setting for world trade and would be a benefit to their company.
Have students watch the film Dallas Market – Center of World Trade (see Videos), to provide an example to them of the changes in the Texas commercial environment since the 1940s. Specifically, encourage them to look at the changing role of Texas in the global economy over the last 70 years. Students should then write an expository essay discussing the changes in the Texas commercial economy over the last 70 years, focusing on the growth of Texas business that resulted from World War II, the movement of successful Texas companies into other regions, and the role Texas currently plays in the national and global economy.
Web sites related to the above films