In The 22nd California Mission project, students gain knowledge about the mission period of California history by engaging in a task that requires critical thinking and creativity.
Current Version: April 22, 2014
The “Mission Project” is almost a cliché in California elementary school classrooms — and there are projects like it in every state.
For generations, fourth grade teachers have been assigning virtually the same project: students either choose or are assigned to research one of the 21 missions built by Spain in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The children then search for information according to an outline or prescribed list of questions. They write a report, make a poster, build a model, or turn in some combination of these products and perhaps present their research in class.
But in The 22nd California Mission project, students gain knowledge about the mission period of California history by engaging in a task that requires critical thinking and creativity. They also build Common Core aligned skills in informational reading, constructing an argument, and making presentations. The project begins when students are placed in a scenario in 1818 with a letter from the Archbishop of Mexico, asking them to recommend a location for a new mission. Working in teams, students choose a site, create a design for the layout and buildings, make maps, and then present their proposals to an audience. A written proposal may also be added. The 22nd California Mission project is multi-curricular, including social studies, language arts, art, and even some mathematics. As such, project activities can fit into many different time slots of the school day.