House Creek students study tourism as Texas reopens for business

 In Central Texas, Copperas Cove

Texas welcomed more than 72 million out-of-state visitors in 2019, prior to the pandemic, generating more than $80 billion in direct travel spending and an economic impact of $164 billion. With the state now fully open for business again, the Lone Star State is planning for National Travel and Tourism Week, May 2-8.

House Creek Elementary fifth grade students in teachers Amanda Rolfe’s and Fabiola Florexil’s classes researched where they would like to visit and created replicas that draw tourists to cities, states, and countries. They also created marketing brochures and presented their final slideshow projects to convince their classmates and teachers where they should vacation this summer and spend their tourism dollars.  

Student Emilia Chirico chose the state of New York, creating the Statue of Liberty, that is considered not just a state landmark but a U.S. landmark, drawing millions of visitors each year.

“I really enjoyed this whole project, and I’m very proud of my statue,” Chirico said.  

While not as well known to foreigners as New York’s Statue of Liberty, one landmark in Washington was the focal point of student Grace Cook’s presentation.

House Creek Elementary student Emilia Chirico highlights popular tourist sites in New York City, including Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty as reasons to visit The Big Apple. New York ranks number five for the most out-of-state tourists in the U.S. annually, right behind Texas that ranks number four.

“Washington State is so beautiful, and I love it,” said Cook. “Making the Space Needle was my favorite thing.”   

Through Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, fifth graders worked on research skills, including analyzing reliable sources, utilizing technology, paraphrasing, compiling information, and citing references. Students were given the opportunity to practice presentation skills about their states with their peers. Additionally, students practiced persuasive writing through travel brochures.

“Students were challenged to utilize approved resources to find information for various components including the history of the state, state symbols and facts, maps, famous landmarks, and famous people from their assigned states,” Rolfe said. “Students were given expectations and rubrics along the way to guide the process, but they independently completed the research projects, culminating in the final presentations, travel brochures, and monument/landmark models.” 

Fifth grade students in the gifted education program expanded their learning as they explored different countries and cultures around the world in addition to their state projects.

“My favorite part was learning Guam’s history,” student Isa King said. “My family is from there and I loved being able to learn about Guam.”

Students were challenged to independently apply their learning from class in a self-directed project. There was a significant amount of research and writing incorporated, with intentional focus on non-fiction and persuasive writing, paraphrasing, oral presentation of ideas, and citing references in multiple typed essays and projects. Students also strengthened cross-curricular skills with Social Studies, interpreting and integrating information such as state flags, maps, state history, landmarks, and influential historical figures. Students managed their deadlines, ensure their research was sufficient, and creatively share their information. 

According to the World Atlas, Texas ranks number four in the country for having the most out-of-state visitors annually behind California, Florida, and Nevada.