Star of the Republic Museum

"Hard Luck" La Salle

Instructional objectives (4th Grade)

1.The student will learn how La Salle impacted the settlement of Texas and the establishment of Catholic missions in Texas.

2. The student will write a letter from the perspective of an explorer.


SOCIAL STUDIES History (4.2.B, 4.2.C) The student understands the causes and effects of European exploration and settlement of Texas. The student is expected to identify the accomplishments of significant explorers such as Sieur de La Salle and explain their impact on the settlement of Texas. The students will learn how La Salle contributed to the establishment of Catholic missions in Texas by Spain.



Getting Ready for the Lesson

Background information:

Preparation of the Learning Environment

The teacher may have the students work individually at their desks or in groups with a picture of the artifacts from the La Belle. Individual work will require more copies of the picture from the museum.



Imagine that you are going to take a trip to a place you have never been before and you do not know what to expect. You know that the people living there might not be friendly. What would you take with you to make your trip easier and to encourage a friendship with the people you might meet?


Have students read the accounts of La Salle from their textbook and from the articles in The Handbook of Texas Online

Ask the students the following questions:

1. Why do you think the explorers brought the beads? (to trade with the Indians, to be used as decoration)

2. What does the Jesuit ring tell you about the explorers? (religious influence of the Catholic church)

3. What could the hawk bells be used for? (decoration, music)

4. What were the French explorers going to do with all of these items? (They wanted to trade them with the Native Americans for things that they needed like food and fur.)

Say to the students "Pretend you are a French explorer who has been with La Salle."

1. Write a letter to someone at home in France telling him what has happened since you arrived in Texas.

2. Tell him what you think the effect will be of losing all the items to trade with the Native Americans.

3. Tell him what you plan to do next.


Give the students time to write their letters. Remind them of the correct form for letters. Use astroparch paper if possible.


Rather than writing a letter telling what happened to your French exploration party, pretend you are a Spanish explorer and write a letter telling how La Salle's experiences affected your encounters in Texas.


Students could do additional research on how the explorer may have dressed or on what flag they would have carried. As the students read their letters to the class, they could wear something or carry something that would indicate their nationality.