Piecing Together History at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Summary

Students will research the history of the San Antonio missions and early colonization of the United States and understand the role that the Spanish missions played in the development of Texas and the San Antonio region.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will learn about the San Antonio missions and understand the role that Spanish missions played in the development of Texas and the San Antonio region.
  • Students will conduct research from multimedia and online resources to examine the various components of the San Antonio missions and share their research with a group to develop a classroom project or presentation.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts

Grades

  • 3rd
  • 4th
  • 5th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Three
  • Session Length: 30-45 minutes
  • Total Length: 91-120 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students will have a basic knowledge of the following: 

  • San Antonio
  • Spanish missions
  • Texas
  • Native Americans
  • Research
  • Writing
  • Presentation
  • Farming
  • Agriculture
  • Community 

Terms and Concepts

  • Aqueduct
  • Irrigation 
  • Acequias
  • Missions
  • Presidios
  • Apprentice

Materials

Preparations

  • Bookmark the links above in advance.
  • Make copies of the following worksheets about San Antonio Missions National Historical Park: 
    • Puzzle Piece Worksheet
    • Puzzle Piece Key Worksheet
    • Graphic Organizer Worksheet
  • Cut the Puzzle Piece Worksheet along the dotted lines to create four puzzle pieces of the coin, ensuring that, at minimum, there is one puzzle piece for each student in the class.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson Steps

Session One

  1. Display a picture of the Alamo and ask students to identify what historic landmark is in the picture. Explain that the Alamo was originally founded as a Spanish mission known as the Misión San Antonio de Valero. The Alamo is one of many missions along the San Antonio River that was established between 1718 and 1731. The missions were built to spread the Catholic faith of the Spanish as well as support the colonial expansion efforts of the Spanish Empire. Other missions, including Concepción, San José, San Juan, and Espada, make up the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Explain that students will learn about the San Antonio missions and their purpose, explore daily life in the missions, and understand the Spanish missions' influence on Texas and the San Antonio region.
  2. Ask students why they think the Spanish built missions in Texas. What was the purpose of the missions? Write their answers on graph paper or ask them record their responses in a journal or on a piece of paper.
  3. Show students the NPS video, "East Texas Beginnings" (www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=009F22EA-155D-451F-67DC8E9CCDE1C850).
  4. After watching the video, ask students again why the Spanish built missions in Texas? Potential responses include: as a way to control the area from the French, claim their spot in new territory, convert natives to Catholicism, and establish military presence via presidios. Write their responses on the right side of the graph paper.
  5. Ask students why the Spanish missions were not successful in East Texas. Responses may include: East Texas Indians had little need for what the Spanish had to offer because their society was already well developed with advanced trade networks, political systems, and was agriculturally self-sufficient.
  6. Ask students why the Spanish missions in East Texas moved to the San Antonio region. Potential responses include: Too few native conversions, lack of French threat, and hunter-gatherer tribes known as the Coahuiltecans (kwa-weel-tekens) near the San Antonio River were more receptive to the Spanish because they were being threatened by other tribes (i.e., the Apaches).
  7. Summarize to students that the San Antonio missions were a major part of Spain's plan to establish and manage a colonial frontier in the American Southwest. The missions were directly involved in the military, religious, and cultural development of the Southwest. They influenced agriculture and commerce, including the development of the cattle industry, and influenced the growth of Texas and the city of San Antonio.
  8. Explain that each year, the United States Mint issues quarters that highlight a different national site in each state, territory, and the District of Columbia. The program, called America the Beautiful Quarters® Program is releasing a new quarter featuring the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
  9. Display an enlarged image of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park quarter reverse. Ask students to identify some of the images they see on the quarter and brainstorm what they mean.
    1. San Antonio Missions Quarter reverse image: www.usmint.gov/coins/coin-medal-programs/america-the-beautiful-quarters/san-antonio-missions-national-historical-park

Session Two

  1. Explain to students that their mission is to investigate what each of these symbols mean. Demonstrate how the students will select one piece of the Puzzle Piece Worksheet and investigate what that symbol means using multimedia and/or online resources. Explain that their job is to answer the following questions:
    1. What is the symbol on your coin piece?
    2. What does the symbol mean?
    3. Why was this symbol included on the quarter?
    4. Why is this symbol important to the San Antonio missions?
    5. What historical significance does this symbol have today?
    6. If you could change this symbol, what would you include?
  2. Either pass out or allow students to draw a coin piece at random out of a box or bag. Make sure each student has one piece of the quarter. Pass out the Graphic Organizer Worksheet to guide students in their research.
  3. Based on the symbol they chose, also provide the following list of resources for them to research the quarter and learn more about the San Antonio missions. Allow students to use computers and/or other resources to research their symbol and learn more about the missions. Have students write down what they learned either on the Graphic Organizer Worksheet or in a journal or notebook.
    1. General Resources
      1. U.S. Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change website: www.usmint.gov/learn/kids/coins-and-medals/america-the-beautiful-quarters/san-antonio-missions
      2. NPS San Antonio Missions National Historical Park website: www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm
    2. Piece One: Arches and bell (represents community)
      1. NPS video: A Child's Life: www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=278AF4D1-155D-451F-67AF3CA4D04F12ED
      2. NPS text: A Day in the Life of Mission Espada, 1778: www.nps.gov/saan/learn/education/upload/A-Day-in-the-Life-of-Mission-Espada.pdf
    3. Piece Two: Lion (represents Spanish cultural heritage)
      1. NPS video: New Skills, New Life: www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=FFC356F1-155D-451F-6768170E67032241
    4. Piece Three: Water (represents the San Antonio River and irrigation methods and life-sustaining resources)
      1. NPS video: Farming and Ranching: www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=28B17402-155D-451F-67E8672F90097230
    5. Piece Four: Wheat (represents farming) 
      1. NPS video: Farming and Ranching: www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=28B17402-155D-451F-67E8672F90097230

Session Three

  1. Once students have completed their research, have the students divide into groups of four, so that each group has one symbol represented, making a complete quarter between the four of them. Using the Puzzle Piece Key Worksheet, have the students either glue or tape the complete quarter together.
  2. Once the students are grouped, explain that they are going to share what they learned with their group about their respective symbol. Have students discuss their research and its overall significance to the San Antonio missions and the development of Texas.
  3. Once students have shared their research, explain that they are going to create a presentation and/or project based on what they learned. Ideas for a presentation or project include:
    1. Powerpoint presentation that includes photographs from the missions that help visually explain the significance to each symbol on the quarter.
    2. Skit or play that showcases a day in the life of someone who lived in a mission and explains the significance of each symbol on the quarter.
    3. Mini-documentary that explains the history of the San Antonio missions and how the four symbols contributed to the culture and/or architecture of Texas and San Antonio.
    4. Interactive photo album or slide show of pictures of present day San Antonio that reflects each of the four symbols and their historical significance.
    5. Short story or informational text that highlights the history of the San Antonio Missions that covers the four components included on the quarter.
    6. Series of letters or diary entries that reflects the perspectives of a child, man, or woman living in a mission, a missionary, or a representative of the Spanish Empire, as it relates to the San Antonio missions and incorporates the four components of the quarter.
    7. A poster that explains the historical significance of the San Antonio Missions and the various components included on the quarter that represent its historical significance, both then and now.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Group students together during the research phase.
  • Have students present their research and written response orally.
  • Allow students to use a scribe or computer to complete graphic organizer, project, and/or presentation.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have the students research an additional component of the quarter.
  • Have students research another national monument or historical park from the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program and complete a presentation or project about it.
  • Have students select a state that is of interest to them and research and explain why the national park or site was chosen to be featured on the America the Beautiful quarter.
  • Have students design a quarter that represents things that matter to them and explain why each component is included.

Assess

  • Evaluate the research, project/presentation, and students' participation to assess how well the students have met the lesson objectives.

Integrated Standards

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) Standards (Revised August 2018)

§110.14, 110.15, 110.16: English Language Arts and Reading

Grade 3: 

  • (12) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Culture and History: Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about the author's purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Students are expected to identify the topic and locate the author's stated purposes in writing the text.
  • (26) Research/Gathering Sources: Students determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources addressing a research question and systematically record the information they gather. Students are expected to: (A) follow the research plan to collect information from multiple sources of information, both oral and written, including: (i) student-initiated surveys, on-site inspections, and interviews; (ii) data from experts, reference texts, and online searches; and (iii) visual sources of information (e.g., maps, timelines, graphs) where appropriate; (B) use skimming and scanning techniques to identify data by looking at text features (e.g., bold print, captions, key words, italics); (C) take simple notes and sort evidence into provided categories or an organizer.
  • (31) Listening and Speaking/Teamwork: Students work productively with others in teams. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to participate in teacher- and student-led discussions by posing and answering questions with appropriate detail and by providing suggestions that build upon the ideas of others.

Grade 4: 

  • (10) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Culture and History: Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about the author's purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Students are expected to explain the difference between a stated and an implied purpose for an expository text.
  • (24) Research/Gathering Sources: Students determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources addressing a research question and systematically record the information they gather. Students are expected to: revised August 2018 8 (A) follow the research plan to collect information from multiple sources of information both oral and written, including: (i) student-initiated surveys, on-site inspections, and interviews; (ii) data from experts, reference texts, and online searches; and (iii) visual sources of information (e.g., maps, timelines, graphs) where appropriate; (B) use skimming and scanning techniques to identify data by looking at text features (e.g., bold print, italics); (C) take simple notes and sort evidence into provided categories or an organizer.
  • (29) Listening and Speaking/Teamwork: Students work productively with others in teams. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to participate in teacher- and student-led discussions by posing and answering questions with appropriate detail and by providing suggestions that build upon the ideas of others.

Grade 5:

  • (10) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Culture and History: Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about the author's purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Students are expected to draw conclusions from the information presented by an author and evaluate how well the author's purpose was achieved.
  • (24) Research/Gathering Sources: Students determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources addressing a research question and systematically record the information they gather. Students are expected to: (A) follow the research plan to collect data from a range of print and electronic resources (e.g., reference texts, periodicals, web pages, online sources) and data from experts; (B) differentiate between primary and secondary sources; revised August 2018 9 (C) record data, utilizing available technology (e.g., word processors) in order to see the relationships between ideas, and convert graphic/visual data (e.g., charts, diagrams, timelines) into written notes.
  • (29) Listening and Speaking/Teamwork: Students work productively with others in teams. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to participate in student-led discussions by eliciting and considering suggestions from other group members and by identifying points of agreement and disagreement.

§113.14, 113.15, 113.16: Social Studies

Grade 3: 

  • (2) History: The student understands common characteristics of communities, past and present. The student is expected to: (A) identify reasons people have formed communities, including a need for security, religious freedom, law, and material well-being; (B) identify ways in which people in the local community and other communities meet their needs for government, education, communication, transportation, and recreation; and (C) compare ways in which various other communities meet their needs.
  • (17) Social studies skills: The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) research information, including historical and current events, and geographic data, about the community and world, using a variety of valid print, oral, visual, and Internet resources.
  • (18) Social studies skills: The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) express ideas orally based on knowledge and experiences; (B) use technology to create written and visual material such as stories, poems, pictures, maps, and graphic organizers to express ideas; and (C) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation.

Grade 4: 

  • (2) History: The student understands the causes and effects of European exploration and colonization of Texas and North America. The student is expected to: (A) summarize motivations for European exploration and settlement of Texas, including economic opportunity, competition, and the desire for expansion; (C) explain when, where, and why the Spanish established settlements and Catholic missions in Texas as well as important individuals such as José de Escandón.
  • (21) Social studies skills: The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States and Texas.
  • (22) Social studies skills: The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) use social studies terminology correctly; (B) incorporate main and supporting ideas in verbal and written communication; (C) express ideas orally based on research and experiences; revised August 2018 26 (D) create written and visual material such as journal entries, reports, graphic organizers, outlines, and bibliographies; and (E) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation.

Grade 5: 

  • (1) History: The student understands the causes and effects of European colonization in the United States beginning in 1565, the founding of St. Augustine. The student is expected to: (A) explain when, where, and why groups of people explored, colonized, and settled in the United States, including the search for religious freedom and economic gain.
  • (24) Social studies skills: The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States; analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions; (C) organize and interpret information in outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps; (D) identify different points of view about an issue, topic, or current event; and (E) identify the historical context of an event.
  • (25) Social studies skills: The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) use social studies terminology correctly; (B) incorporate main and supporting ideas in verbal and written communication; (C) express ideas orally based on research and experiences; (D) create written and visual material such as journal entries, reports, graphic organizers, outlines, and bibliographies; and (E) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation.