Welcome, Teachers, to the phenomenal world of the Trans-Pecos. Here native peoples, Spanish explorers, and others left their mark for us to study and learn from. The lessons below focus on some of the fascinating traces left by prehistoric and later peoples, ranging from the region's mysterious prehistoric rock art and well-preserved artifacts, such as sandals made from desert plants, to missions and maps.
El Paso and the Oldest Mission in Texas
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. Suggested for grade level 7.
Rock Art Around the World! Students will learn that cultures in different parts of the world developed in different ways at different times and that we can learn a great deal about a culture by analyzing its rock art. Suggested for grade levels 9-12.
Slow Rot.or Not! In this science lesson, students will discover how different environments affect materials that easily decompose, such as ancient sandals made of plant fibers. They will formulate and investigate their own preservation theories by observing how grapes decompose in five different environmental settings. They will hypothesize how particular environments will affect their "artifact," record observations of the grapes' changing properties over a 10-day period and, finally, form conclusions based on their research. Suggested for grade level 5.
Rock Art Caves Students use the Internet to learn about rock art and the raw materials used to create them. Students work together in small groups to create caves for other students to explore in the classroom. Suggested
for grade level 4 (but easily adapted for 5th).