El Paso and the Oldest Mission in Texas
Subject: Texas History
Grade level: 7th grade
Rationale: The purpose of this lesson is to have students understand the reasons for Spanish settlement of the El Paso valley in Texas, events that transpired there, and what life was like for Indians and Spanish settlers.
Lesson Duration: 1 day, (90 minutes), or 2 days (45 minutes each).
Objectives: Students will work in cooperative groups to view examples of rock art, research the culture that produced it, and write a short, guided essay describing the rock art’s origins.
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS):7th Grade
Step 1: Show students a transparency of the map of Spanish Texas with missions, settlements, and presidios. Ask students to point out the El Paso area, home of the oldest mission in Texas. Advise students that they will use a website to discover the facts of the settlement of this area and what life was like for the Indians and Spanish settlers. Point out the Rio Grande River flowing from New Mexico and dividing Texas from Mexico.
Step 2: Distribute the El Paso Mission Questions. Have students answer the questions using information from the Texas Beyond History website section entitled “Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers and Settlers: History of the El Paso Valley” http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/paso/history.html
Closure: Ask students if they know why some of the El Paso missions are different from others in Texas? The answer is that only two of the missions there were established for Indians living in the area. The other El Paso missions were established for Indians who had traveled to the El Paso area with the Spanish and had already lived in missions in New Mexico. These were the Tigua, Piro, Tano, Tompiro, and Jemez.
Student Product: Answers to El Paso Mission Study Questions
Extension Activity: Have students explore the other sections about the El Paso valley missions on the Texas Beyond History website and learn about archeological excavations at Mission Socorro.
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