Cowboys & Cowgirls
5th Grade Oral Language Resources
Students will:• Learn about the concept of cowboys and cowgirls.
• Access prior knowledge and build background about the settling of the Western American frontier.
• Explore and apply the concept of life as a cowboy and cowgirl and the importance of cattle during this era.
Students will:• Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of cowboys and cowgirls.
• Orally use words that describe the Western American frontier and the role of cattle in it.
• Extend oral vocabulary by speaking about what cowboys and cowgirls needed to survive.
• Use key concept words [herd, cowhand, lariat, canteen, vaqueros, horsemen, frontier, desolate, era].
Explain• Use the slideshow to review the key concept words.
• Explain that students are going to learn about cowboys and cowgirls:
• The conditions cowboys and cowgirls faced on the American frontier.
• What cows were used for and how they were herded.
• Characteristics of cowboys and cowgirls.
• Tools that helped them control their herds.
Model• After the host introduces the slideshow, point to the photo on screen. Ask students: Where do you think this picture was taken? (The western United States). What can you see in this picture that might tell you where it was taken? (A desert, canyons, sand, rocks, etc.)
• Ask students: Do you think it would be easy or difficult to live in this area, and why? (It would be difficult because it is very desolate, there is no water, vegetation, shade, etc.)
• Say: In the 1800s, Americans began moving west, through areas such as this. What do you think the frontier they came across looked like to them? (Similar to how it looks now, uninhabitable, etc.)
Guided Practice• Guide students through the next two slides, showing them that cowgirls and cowboys settled the western frontier and learned how to live in it. Always have the students describe what they did and used to make life easier in the west.
Apply• Play the games that follow. Have them discuss with their partner the different topics that appear during the Talk About It feature.
• After the first game, ask students to talk about what cowboys and cowgirls needed to survive. After the second game, have them discuss what type of person would make a good cowhand.
Close• Ask students: Why did cowhands and vaqueros become popular symbols of life in the West? Explain how they came to stand for a new way of life in the frontier.
• Summarize for students that The Western Frontier is an important part of American history. There are still cowboys and cowgirls today. Encourage them to think about whether they would like to be a cowboy or cowgirl.