You can work for the Survey Office!

Lauren SiegelField Trips, Museum1 Comment

Do you have a carriage and a handkerchief? if so … YOU can work for the survey office.
Got a mule?  Smoke?  Yes??  if so YOU can work for the survey office.

At the 2019 TEKS Con Elizabeth Lay and Lauren Siegel of MathHappens had the opportunity to share some ideas for cross curricular programming in math and Texas history with educators, program leaders and colleagues from all over Texas.  We shared an engagement that will give students an introduction to the problems and creative solutions encountered by the Texas General Land office and the surveyors charged with mapping our state.

Click here for the complete set of Interactive Scenario Cards.  The cards include some suggestions for extended discussion.  Print the cards and let the job applicant pick one–the applicant reads first to describe qualifications and then a partner reads the survey office responses.  They are really fun : )

Associated Math Activity:
Make a survey wheel — A circle with diameter 3.82″ will work – or radius 1.91″

Depending on your print settings you may be able to print this sheet of blank Survey Wheels.  Check dimensions!

Survey Challenge

Calibrate your survey wheel by rotating it along a ruler and marking off the inches.

Next Find the area of this irregular plot of land.


Print this on a sheet of 8.5 x 11 or larger.
Students can be challenged to subdivide this region into triangles to try to find the total area.

What if we needed the area in pulgada, the Spanish version of the inch?  How would we do this?

Creuzbaur Essay

MathHappens has obtained via Ebay Mexico a document that appears to be a genuine handwritten essay by renowned Texas Surveyor Robert Creuzbaur who worked on the De Cordova Maps.  We are in the process of conservation and authentication but intend to share this freely with Texas teachers.

Creuzbaur Essay on the relative merits of the Chain and Vara measurement systems in Texas.

We are also in the process of researching and organizing related materials for both math, social studies, and writing lessons.  Please see our draft document for sources, citations and with additional teaching ideas here.  

We are very interested in hearing ideas and gathering information from other educators and welcome your feedback and suggestions.


One Comment on “You can work for the Survey Office!”

  1. Pingback: MathHappens @ Austin Museum Day - Pioneer Farms - Math Happens

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