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Lesson Plans and Guides

Visit Guides

Pre-Visit Essays, Lessons & Activities for Teachers (pdf)
Contents Include:

  • Essays: Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Guardians, The Acjachemen Nation, California’s Spanish Explorers, New Spain’s Franciscans
  • Activities: The Acjachemen Language, Create Your Own Acjachemen Name, Our Kin the Acjachemen Word Scramble, Food Chain Worksheet, Food Chain Nature Cards, Making a Compass (Physical Science), Can You Map It? (Geography), Daily Life on Board Explorer’s Ship (English/Creative Writing), Spanish Explorers: Impact of Ocean Currents & Wind Patterns (Earth Science), Math and Navigation (Mathematics), Recruiting Extreme Explorers (Visual Arts), Branding is Forever, Make Your Own Brand, How to Read Brands, and Read That Cattle Brand
  • Lessons: The Food Web, Navigating California’s Coast, and Branding is Forever

Post Visit Lessons and Activities (pdf)
Contents Include:

  • Activities: Don’t Be Clueless Crossword Puzzle, Vocabulary Game, Word Scramble, Trade Worksheet, and Saved by the Mission Bell Trivia Review Game
  • Essay: California’s Rancho Economy
  • Lessons: The Story of Trader Richard Henry Dana, and Trading in California

Teacher Guides

Mission Clubhouse Teachers Guide (pdf)
Contents Include:
Outline of hands-on activities and display information.

Mission Treasures Exhibit Interpretive Guide (pdf)
Contents Include:
Outline of the exhibit and exhibit items.

Padres Museum Teachers Guide (pdf)

Mission Passport Teachers Guide (pdf)
Contents Include:
Outline of the passport program and guide to use the booklet with students.

Audio Tour Field Trip Teachers Guide (pdf) Coming Soon!
Contents Include:
Outline and information on the field trip audio tour.


Exhibit Guides

Mission Treasures Exhibit Interpretive Guide
Contents Include:

  • California Fourth Grade History-Social Science Standards
  • Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • Exhibit Themes
  • Descriptions of Artifacts
  • Current Mission Preservation Efforts
  • Recent Archaeological Finds

Padres Museum Teachers Guide
Mission San Juan Capistrano’s new permanent exhibit in the Padres’ Quarters meets California State Curriculum Standards for 4th Grade Social Science. To enhance the student learning experience, the education and museum staff have incorporated interactive signs with illustrative drawings, props, and artifacts to better convey the themes and topics of each space.

This guide provides the topics covered in each room, to assist teachers coming on field trips to the Mission, or to provide information for extra curricular activities for students.

Please note that our Field Trip Activity Guide has been updated to include more of the museum rooms and themes listed in this guide.

Legacy of Saint Serra Exhibit
Contents Include:

  • Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • California State Standards
  • Panel Topics
  • List of Items on Display

Understanding the New Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) was adopted by the state of California in 2010. The CCSS is being implemented in California school districts during the 2013 and 2014 school years. Educators are updating and revising teaching units and lesson plans to align with the new standards.

Fourth Grade history units within the previous California State Standards are now being grouped differently within the CCSS. Instead of history having a separate grouping and individual standards, the CCSS is grouping English Language Arts, Literacy in History Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects in one section of standards.

Social Studies and history is now under the Reading Standards for Informational Texts (RI 4.1-10) in which social studies skills of “Chronological and Spatial Thinking” “Research, Evidence, and Point of View” and “Historical interpretation” are emphasized. Prior California State Standards adopted in 1998 for Fourth Grade History and Social Science have not been replaced; they have simply been reformatted for targeted learning goals. California History and Social Science is still a part of required learning objectives, but now with specific analysis skills also attached.

Studying the California Missions and the Common Core State Standards
Studying California Missions, or studying Mission San Juan Capistrano, aligns with curriculum and the Common Core State Standards for Fourth Grade. Critical thinking and analysis skills in social studies directly apply to studying this portion of California’s history.

Field trips to Mission San Juan Capistrano provide students with a unique experience with history. Students can observe and explore the Mission’s architecture, artifacts, and historical documents first hand, as well as achieve learning goals of the CCSS. Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Exhibits, Docent Guided Tours, Audio Tours, and Education Programs are geared to meet the Common Core State Standards. Each program is designed to help students understand historical chronology, cause and effect of historical events, and multiple perspectives.