El Paso and the Oldest Mission in TexasDownload lesson plan and included materials
Subject: Social Studies
Author: Carly Whelan (2008), revised by Jason Terry (2023)
Time Duration: One 90-minute block or two 45-minute class periods
Objective: 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.
TEKS: Social Studies, Grade 7
- (1A), identify the major eras in Texas history, describe their defining characteristics, and explain the purpose of dividing the past into eras, including Natural Texas and its People; Age of Contact; Spanish Colonial
- (2A), compare the cultures of American Indians in Texas prior to European colonization such as Gulf, Plains, Puebloan, and Southeastern
- (2C) identify important individuals, events, and issues related to European colonization of Texas, including the establishment of Catholic missions, towns, and ranches, and the contributions of individuals such as Fray Damián Massanet, Antonio Margil de Jesús, and Francisco Hidalgo
- (8A), locate and compare the Mountains and Basins, Great Plains, North Central Plains, and Coastal Plains regions
- (9A), identify ways in which Texans have adapted to and modified the environment and explain the positive and negative consequences of the modifications
- (20B), analyze information by applying absolute and relative chronology through sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions
- (20C), organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps
- El Paso Missions Study Questions and corresponding Answer Key (included)
- Spanish Texas Map (included)
Activities and Procedures:
Step 1: Show students 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 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.
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.
Assessment: Answers to El Paso Mission Study Questions.