California Missions Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

This lesson plan will help you teach students about the missions in California. A text lesson provides facts about California missions as students interact with content to deepen understanding. Finish with application and a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define wha a mission is
  • provide historical facts about California missions
  • explain the mission system
  • describe California missions today


1 - 1.5 hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Mission
  • Indigenous
  • Padre

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2

Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

Warm Up and Connect

  • Distribute copies of the lesson California Missions Lesson for Kids: Facts & System to students and read the first section 'Exploring the Missions' together.
  • After reading, give students ten minutes to record their mental images of missions in their notebooks. They may choose to write down thoughts or sketch pictures.
  • Now, break students into small groups and ask them to share their work. Afterwards, discuss as a whole class. Ask:
    • What words from the lesson gave you these mental images?
    • How did you imagine life in a mission? Why?

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