Lesson Plan

Natural vs. Man-Made resources: The Arrival of the Spanish Settlers

Tinwork by: Jason Younis y Delgado, 5th Generation Tinsmith
Photo by: Jason Younis y Delgado


With the introduction of metal, the culture of New Mexico has taken a dramatic and important shift in our history.


Know: Students will gain perspective of cultural differences and their distinctions that change communities and lifestyles in New Mexico.

Understand: Students will understand how man- made resources can either affect negatively or positively (or both) relations, culture and lifestyles in New Mexico.

Be Able to Do: Students will be able to distinguish differences between natural and man-made resources with the introduction to metal in New Mexico


How can a material item change/alter the ways in which we live?


Metal changed the lives of all the Native Americans living in New Mexico, both past and present. The introduction of this man-made material caused much anger, frustration, power, neglect, acceptance, beauty, culture and traditional ways of lifestyles among the Ancestral Puebloans and the Spanish settlers. Metal changed the way these two cultures interacted with one another: both positively and negatively. These interactions are a crucial mark in our history, as they defined the beginning and perhaps the lasting relationships between the two groups. Though metal was foreign at first when first introduced into the New World, it became very much a part of a New Mexican ideology and is a continuous symbol of our past, present, and future cultures.


Natural vs. Man-Made Handout

Resource Information Sheet


Quick Overview of the Art of Tinsmithing   

**Information courtesy of: 5th Generation Tinsmith, owner: Jason Younis y Delgado: Tinsmithing began with the early invasion of the Moors, (peoples of Arab and Berber decent) of Spain around 700AD. These people, then, passed the techniques into Spain, where it remained for hundreds of years. With Onate's journey into New Mexico in the late 1500s, he and his troops began looking for silver around the area to continue the tradition. Tinwork later became used in family households for various items including candle holders, picture frames, bowls, cantinas and other useful items around the home. The techniques and traditions are still alive today in New Mexico.

Some vocabulary associated with tinsmithing include: Whitesmiths, scoring, stamping, anvil, and tin. 

Prior to Lesson: Have a ranger from Petroglyph National Monument present the Spanish Colonial trunk to the students before they begin examining the important influences of metal in the Native American and Spanish cultures. This will give students a good background for them to begin making a list of the different tools that were introduced by the Spanish. For more information on this trunk, call 505-899-0205 ext.332 and schedule a visit! Traveling Trunks: http://www.nps.gov/petr/forteachers/traveling-trunks-at-petroglyph-national-monument.htm

Step 1: Go over the differences between natural and man-made resources- Why are these both important for survival?

Step 2: After student have adequate background knowledge, have them brainstorm different ways in which tin work could be useful in homes built in the 1800's in New Mexico. What would these homes look like? Perhaps with older students, scale models would be appropriate

Step 3: Students will break up into two groups: NATURAL VS. MAN MADE. Have students fill out worksheet. For their resource, have them draw a separate example of how their resource would be beneficial according the appropriate time period in New Mexico. (I.E. How would people benefit from the use of their resource? ) When the Spanish arrived in New Mexico, they were very powerful due to horses, weapons and armor that they brought with them. Though there is great evidence that man made resources proved to be very effective, could it be argued that they were detrimental as well? How? Remember the natives were able to survive off of the natural resources and did so quite well. Go over their culture and see if it helps to answer the question.


Completed Natural vs. Man-Made handout and presentation meeting all required above objectives

Park Connections

Spanish history in New Mexico


EXTENTIONS: Have students research man made materials today. (I.e. cars, computers, I phones, etc.) Tell students to make a list of the positive and negative effects of these items on our society today. Do these items make it easier to live today or 400 years ago in the same place? What natural resources do we still use and how do we use them? These are good questions that will help students develop research skills to better understand the Spanish influence on the Native Americans in several ways. *A good field trip would be a visit to the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque Website for Hispanic Cultural Center: http://www.nhccnm.org/

Additional Resources

Sánchez, Joseph P. Don Fernando Duran Y Chaves’s Land and Legacy. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico. 1998.

Sánchez, Joseph P. Between Two Rivers: The Atrisco Land Grant in Albuquerque History, 1692-1968. Norman: University of Oklahoma, 2008.

Children Resources:

Anaya, Rudolfo. La Llorona: The Crying Woman. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 2010.

Anaya, Rudolfo. The First Tortilla. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 2007.

Luenn, Nancy, and Robert Chapman. A Gift for Abuelita: Celebrating the Day of the Dead. Flagstaff, AZ: Rising Moon, 1998.


Tinsmith: tinsmith, or tinner or tinker or tinplate worker, is a person who makes and repairs things made of light-colored metal, particularly tinware. By extension, it can also refer to the person who deals in tinware.

cultural resources
natural resources
man-made resources