Environment of the Southwest
A. Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas are the four states of the Southwest
B. The Southwest is known for colorful canyons, deserts, and gushers of oil.
II. Land and Water
A. Flat lowland covers the Coastal Plain in Texas.
B. The Rio Grande River forms part of the border between the United States and
III. Plateaus, Canyons, Mesas
A. The Colorado Plateau is the major plateau in the Southwest.
1. Most of it is one mile above sea level.
2. The area is famous for its canyons or deep, narrow valleys with
3. The deepest is the Grand Canyon.
B. A mesa is another landform. (hill with a flat top)
1. The region has buttes which are like mesas but smaller.
C. The Grand Canyon is more than a mile deep and at one point 18 miles from edge to
1. The Colorado River is at the bottom of the canyon and flows
southwest out of the Rocky Mountains.
2. The river carved the walls of the canyon through erosion or slow
wearing away of the land by water, wind or ice.
3. The Grand Canyon is a national park and millions of people visit
D. The Roaring Rapids
1, A rapid is where a river flows swiftly as elevation drops.
2. The Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon and it falls more than
1,000 feet in elevation.
Environment of the Southwest
I. Dry Southwest
A. The Coastal Plain in Texas is warm and rain and as a result, the area has thick
1. Farmers in Eastern Texas and Oklahoma grow cotton and peanuts.
2. High in the Rocky Mountain, the climate is different and temperatures can
drop below freezing.
B. Deserts, or dry lands where little rain falls, cover parts of the Southwest.
1. A desert gets less than 10 inches of precipitation.
2. The Southwest is closer to the equator than other parts of the county.
3. The heat and dry air affect the region’s land.
4. The Sonoran Desert covers over 120,000 square miles and is about the size of
C. The south west has many natural resources, including minerals and rich oil.
D. Life in a dry climate
1. People found ways to adapt to change in the Southwest environment.
2. Plants and animals have adapted over many years, allowing them to survive
in the environment.
3. The saguaro, a giant cactus tree, lives in the Sonoran Desert and after a
vanilla, it stores water in its trunk to survive during a long, dry season.
4. Many desert animals, such as rabbits are light colored (Light colors reflect the
sun, and as a result do not get as hot and helps animals stay cooler.)
E. Dust Bowl
1. Until the 1930s, the Great Plains area was fertile wheat growing country, but
in 1932, there was little rainfall and a drought happened.
2. A drought is a period of little or no rain.
3. At the same time, enormous dust storms blew across the region because the
farmers didn’t realize that they needed to plant wild grasses to hold the soil in
4. As a result of the Dust Bowl, thousands of families lost their homes and
F. Black Gold
1. The Southwest has little rainfall, but is rich in natural resources.
2. Fields produce large amounts of cotton wheat and sorghum.
3. The Gulf of Mexico offers a large supply of shrimp and other fish.
4. Grasses provided food for cattle.
5. Minerals such as cooper, silver, and uranium are mined from below ground
6. People also drill to find oil, a resource that is so valuable that it has been
nicknamed “black gold”.
i. Oil is a common name for petroleum which can be difficult to find
because it is underground.
ii. Scientists study rocks in an area to determine if oil is present and
workers use an enormous steel bit to drill.
iii. If they strike oil, special pipes are lowered into the ground to bring oil
to the surface.
iv. Texas and Oklahoma are two of our country's largest producers of
oil, a fuel.
Working with Latitude and Longitude
I.. Every place on Earth has an absolute or exact location.
A. Latitude is a measure of how far north or south a place is from the equator.
1. Lines of latitude are also called parallels because they are parallel lines.
2. Parallel lines always remain the same distance apart and never cross each other.
3. Each line of latitude has a number.
4. The equator is labeled 0 degrees. Degrees are used to measure the distance on
B. Longitude lines are imaginary lines on a map or globes and measure distance east or
west of the prime meridian.
1. The prime meridian is the starting place for measuring lines of longitude.
2. The prime meridian is marked 0 degrees on the map.
C. Lines of latitude and longitude cross to from a grid which is a set of crisscrossing
Environment of the Southwest
Lesson 3-- Wells for Water and Oil
I. Wells for Water and Oil
A. Much of the water people of the Southwest use comes form aquifers or
underground layers of rock or sand that trap rainwater and sometimes form rivers.
B. In the Southwest, these layers are made of limestone which is a softer rock that
absorbs rain like a sponge.
C. A way to get water from an aquifer is to find a natural spring, which is a place
when underground water comes to the surface, or to dig a well.
D. People can get water by building a dam across a river which acts as a well to hold
back part of the river to form a lake.
1. A canal or pipe called an aqueduct carries the water to cities and farms.
2. Farmers rely on water from aqueducts to help grow their crops or use dry
farming that uses a small amount of rainwater.
3. Some farmer’s plant crops every other year to store up moisture in the soil.
E. Gusher at the Spindletop
1. In 1901, a crew was drilling for oil on a hill called Spindletop near Beaumont,
2. A gusher of oil shot up at the rate of 75,000 barrels a day.
3. The oil boom changed many businesses and a new product, gasoline, made
4. The petroleum that bubbles up from the ground is called crude oil and is not
useful. It must be taken to a factory called a refinery where it is separated into
parts (gasoline and heating oil).
5. Before Spindletop, there was not much of a demand for oil in the United States.
a. Demand is the willingness of people to buy something and the ability to
pay for it.
b. Supply is the willingness and ability to sell something in the market.
History and Economy of the Southwest
I. The Hopi
A. The Southwest has the largest populating of Native Americans of all the regions and
is home to groups, including he Navajo, apache and Hopi Indians.
B The Pueblo Native Americans have lived in the Southwest for more than a thousand
years. Pueblo is the Spanish word for town or village.
C. The Hopi People
1. Many Hopi are farmers and grow beans, squash, melons, and corn.
2. Their ancestors learned how to grow crops in the difficult southwestern climate.
3. Today, Hopi farmers plant in canyons and valleys that become naturally
flooded with rainwater each year.
4. They plant seeds twelve inches deep to use moisture trapped in the soil.
5. Rain is an important resource for farmers and in the culture, they pray to
machines or spirits for rain.
6. About a thousand year ago, they began to build villages made of adobe or clay
and straw that has been baked in the sun and used as building material.
a. The adobe keeps the houses cool in summer and warm in winter.
b. To get inside, ladders were used to climb to the second level and if there
was danger, the ladders were pulled up, keeping the people inside safe.
7. The United States created reservations for land set aside by the government for
a. The Hopi Reservation was created in 1882,forcing them onto a smaller
piece of land and they were urged to drop their traditions.
b. Many Hopi fought to keep their old customs and culture.
8. The Navajo and Hopi people have different ways of life and disagreements on
how to use the land.
a. The Navajo were sheep herders and since they needed wide, grassy
areas to feed the flocks, they often moved from area to area, even on Hopi
b. In 1974, Congress divided the Hopi Reservation between the two
groups and was called the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act.
They both claimed the land in the “four Corners” area, which is the place
where the borders of Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico meet.
Chapter 2-- Lesson 2
Herders of the Gobi Desert
I. Herders of the Gobi Desert
A. Mongolia is a country in Northern Asia.
B. The Gobi Desert coves the southern third of the land.
C. The climate is dry and dust storms blow across the desert.
D. People of Mongolia have adapted to their environment in order to survive.
E. Gobi Desert
1. The central and northern parts of Mongolia are located on the
2. A steppe is dry flat grassland.
3. Mongolia’s climate is harsh and temperatures are at the extremes.
4. The people have adapted to the harsh climate by leaning a nomadic
way of life. Nomadic means moving from place to place.
5. Most Mongolians are herders and families move with the seasons
to find food for their animals.
6. One third of the world’s cashmere (wood form goat) comes from
F. Most Mongolians live in homes called gerts (yurts) which are large circular tents
made of felt, in which the door of the gert is always facing south. It is designed to
be warm n winter and cool in summer but can be taken apart easily.
G. The most popular instrument in Mongolia is the morin-khuur which is a stringed
instrument played only by men. It is curved in the shaped of a horse’s head.
H. Each July, Mongolians hold the Naadam Festival that hosts sporting events that
represent wisdom, courage, and strength.
I. The other main festival is Tsagaan Saar, or White Month, which celebrates the
J. The capital of Mongolia is Ulaanbaatar, the largest city in the country.
Chapter 2-- Lesson 3
Arrival of the Spanish
I. Search for gold
A. A. In the 1500s, the Spanish explored Mexico, Central America, and South America
and found huge supplies of gold and silver.
B. They wondered if the Southwest contained similar riches.
C. In 1540, Francisco Coronado (a conquistador or conqueror) organized an army to
march into the area.
D. They hoped to find great wealth but returned to Mexico empty handed.
II. Missions and ranchos
A. Coronado claimed southwestern lands for Spain and Spanish settlers soon
followed him into the regions.
B. Spain wanted the Native Americans to become Christians and sent priests to set
up missions, made of a church houses, workshops and farms.
C. Priests such as Eusebio Francisco Kino taught the Native Americans about the
Roman Catholic religion.
D. Some Pueblo became Christians and others practice their own religion.
A. The Spanish introduced horses and ranching to North America.
B. Spanish “longhorns” or cattle adapted to their new environment on farms called
ranchos. (Ranch is Spanish for ranch)
C. By the 1500s, raising cattle was a way of life in the Southwest.
IV. Eusebio Francisco Kino
A. He was an explorer of the Southwest and an Italian priest who worked as a
missionary from 1681-1211.
B. He founded over 20 missions.
C. He brought horses, cattle, goats, and sheep to the area.
D. He opened the Southwest to new settles and created ties with the Native
V. Conflicts in the Southwest
A. After living under Spanish rue for more than 100 years, the Pueblo Native
Americans staged a revolt and in 1680 attacked Spain’s post in Santa Fe, New
B. The Spanish were driven out but twelve years later they returned and seized the
C. By the 1700s, Spain claimed a large are of North America and soon Spanish
settlers began to dislike being ruled by a European country.
D. They won independence in 1821.
E. The Southwest became a part of the new country, Mexico.
F. In 1830s, Texas was part of Mexico, but newcomers began to move there from the
1. Many saw themselves as Texans first and didn’t want to be ruled
2. in 1835, the settlers rebelled and a major battle was fought at The
Alamo, a mission in San Antonio.
3. The Mexican army, led by Davy Crockett and others, refused to
give in and they were defeated.
4. Although they lost the battle, they later won the war.
5. Texas joined the United Sates in 1845 as a state.
The Rise of Ranching
I. There was a lot of work to do on a ranch and Native American workers known as vaqueros
or cowboys rode on horseback to herd the cattle.
A. Later herding was done by Spanish speaking colonists.
B. Vaqueros were experts with horses and could guide a herd from one gazing spot to
II. on the Range
A. When the Southwest became part of the United Sates, many people moved there.
B. Some settlers hoped to grow crops and others wanted to work on ranches.
C. One fourth of the cowboys were African Americans from the Southwest.
D. Nat Love became one of the best known cowboys.
E. By the 1830s, millions of cattle roamed the range because there were no fences
dividing the land and cowboys called “line riders” patrolled the boundaries of the ranch.
IV. Cattle drives
A. By the middle 1860s there was a great demand for beef in the Northwest but not
enough cattle there to feed the cities.
B. To get cattle to northern cities, a cattle drive in which cowboys herd cattle on trails
happened. Then the cattle were carried east by train.
V. The Chisholm Trail
A. Many ranchers drove their herds up the Chisholm Trail that was from San Antonio,
Texas, to Abilene, Kansas.
B. A cattle drive was hard and dangerous work. The herders faced droughts and
thunderstorms as well as outlaws.
VI. Ranching Today
A. during the late 1800s, changes began to occur in ranching.
B. Barbed wire was invented by Joseph Glidden in 1874 and farmers could fence off
huge areas of land using little wood.
C. Fences were a problem for cowboys and it was hard for herds to reach grass and water.
D. By 1890, railroad lines went into Texas and Oklahoma and there was no longer a need
for cattle drives.
E. Ranching is a big business still.
Chapter 2—Lesson 5
The Southwest Today
I. The Southwest oil industry races into new areas and workers can be found on land and
II. The oil industry today.
A. During the 1900s the petroleum industry brought many newcomers to the region.
B. An industry is all the businesses that make one kind of good or prove one kind of
C. Many workers were needed to drill oil, refine it, and ship it.
D. Many people flocked to the area for jobs.
E. In the 1940s the United States were fighting in World War II and during the war there
was a need for new products.
F. Southwest factories built airplanes, tanks and bridges and still do.
III. High Technology and Trade
A. In recent year, two industries have become strong in the area—trade and high
B. High technology is the use of new scientific ideas and special tools to meet people’s
C. Aircraft production is one high technology industry.
IV. Science in the Southwest
A. Astronomers are scientists who study planets and stars.
B. Because there is little precipitation, the dry air makes it a good place for telescopes.
A. In 1993, the United States, Canada and Mexico entered into a trade agreement called
B. NAFTA is the North America Free Trade Agreement.
C. Their goal is to strengthen trading ties among North American countries.
VI. The Sun Belt
A. The population of Houston, Dallas, and Oklahoma City are growing fast
B.. These cities are in the Sun Belt which is a part of the country that has a warm, sunny
climate all year.
C. People move there to escape crowding and also jobs n the region.
D. Sudden population growth can put as strain on the environment of a place especially
where resources as water are in short supply.
E. It is important to conserve our resources and protect the environment.