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California Mission Project



Dear Parents and Students,


As you know, the fourth grade Social Studies focus is California History. Throughout the next few months, we will be studying the first settlements started in early California and the building of Spanish missions all along the West Coast. Twenty-one missions have been built in California.


Attached please find the directions and guidelines for your child’s California Mission Project. I would like this to be a learning experience for your child. Make it fun, meaningful and low stress. These projects are meant to reinforce learning. The final project should be a reflection of your child’s effort and understanding of the mission he/she studied.

Report and Project Guidelines for Students:

  • Choose a California mission to research and books or other resources which includes information about your mission’s people, structure, tradition, location, agriculture, job routines, religion, historical facts, location, etc. Although the Internet has a wealth of information, it can be difficult reading. Many resources are available at public libraries and bookstores (such as CM School Supply, Mrs. Nelsons, and Border’s Books). Be sure to choose a mission that you have interest in. There are several locations that would make great family day trips. San Juan Capistrano, San Gabriel, and San Fernando Missions are all in our area. Plan a trip over a weekend. Your mission should be chosen by Friday, December 18th.  


  • Begin reading, taking notes as you find out new information. Record your notes on the attached papers. Some class time will be used to work on this project, so it is important to bring your folder to class on those days. Notes do not need to be written in complete sentences; they are just words or short phrases used to help you remember the facts that you have learned in your reading. Remember that the better your notes are, the easier it will be to write your report. Notes will be checked on Monday, January 11th and Tuesday, January 19th (if necessary).


  • Use your notes to write a report about your mission. Each note-taking category (section) should be a separate paragraph. Be sure to use your own words. When the rough draft of your report is written, have an adult help you edit for correct paragraph use, spelling and punctuation. All reports must be neat and written in “student language”. Reports may be handwritten or typed. Make sure to indent all paragraphs and include the necessary details of each section of your notes.


Your report should include: 

  • A cover page with the title of the mission, your name, the date, and your teacher’s name
  • The six written sections of your report
  • Illustrations of:
      • a map of California: with your mission labeled and towns, cities and presidios near your mission labeled
      • A diagram of your mission’s floor plan. Label each part.
      • One illustration of something significant related to your mission
  • a bibliography showing which resources were used (see attached format)

Reports will be graded for neatness, content and effort. Your final report is due Friday, January 29th .  

No reports will be accepted beyond the due date. Students have seven weeks to complete this assignment. Some class time will be given to work on this project, so notes must be brought to school regularly. Parents are encouraged to assist students, but this should be limited to organization, time management, trips to the library and encouragement.


Good luck with this report. Parents, make it fun for your child to learn about this important part of our California history. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about this report.


What is a Bibliography?


A bibliography is an alphabetical list of all the books, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, Internet sites or people that you used in researching your topic and writing your report.


Here are some examples to follow:


Books: Author’s last name, first name. (copyright date). Title of book. City of publication: Publisher.

Example: Flower, John. (1986). How to Grow Petunias. Boston: Webster Printing Company.


Internet Resources: Website. Date found from website address.

Example: Los Angeles Times. September 11, 2001 from


People Interviewed: Last name, first name. Occupation. Address: Date contacted.

Example: Smith, Bob. Teacher. 2801 North 6th Street, St. Louis, MO 3001: November 2, 1999.


Magazines: Author’s last name, first name. (year published, month). Title of article. Title of magazine, page numbers.

             Example: Plant, Alice. (1986, July). How Fertilizers Help Plants. Botanical Journal, pp. 12-14.


California Missions Project Acknowledgement Form


I have read the letter above regarding the California Missions Project. I understand that I should start finding resources on my mission. I am aware of the important dates:


December 18th          Mission chosen

January 11th:            Completed notes are due

January 29th:            Completed report that includes:

  • a title page
  • 6 sections or paragraphs
  • 3 illustrations
  • a bibliography


The mission I have chosen to study is __________________

I understand that I need to now start working on my note taking. I also understand that my teacher will give me time in class to work on completing these notes; I will bring my resources to class each designated day.


Parent Signature: _______________________________

Student Signature: _____________________________


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