Lesson Plan

Riot, Rebellion, or Revolt?

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
6-8.RH.1, 6-8.RH.2, 6-8.RH.3, 6-8.RH.4, 6-8.RH.5, 6-8.RH.6, 6-8.RH.8, 6-8.WHST.2, 6-8.WHST.4, 6-8.WHST.6, 6-8.WHST.9
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations.


How does word choice influence us, our perspective, and the way we attempt to communicate with others? How do the reports and letters of the Pima Uprising of 1751 use connotative and denotative meanings to portray the events?


In the region of what is now southern Arizona and northern Sonora Mexico, Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino (a Jesuit missionary from Italy) set up a system of missions and smaller communities. In these communities he encouraged Native Americans to accept a Spanish way of life. This meant to learn a trade, become baptized, worship in the church, learn Spanish and give up native tradition. The relationship between the Native Americans of the Pimería Alta and the Spanish, Christianized natives, and mestizos was a relatively peaceful one. However, discontent among some of the native people led to a well-organized revolt in 1751. The revolt led to the deaths of two priests and more than 100 others perceived as Spanish sympathizers. There are many accounts of this incident as revealed through letters. Some writings label the O'odham rebels as hechiceros (witch doctors), “wicked children” and “malcontents.” Other writings sympathize with the way the native peoples were treated and abused. 


Print copies of Resources A-C.

Read, print copies of pertinent passages of November 1751, Pedro Chihuahua and Sad Tales articles.


Download Connotative vs Denotative

Download Loaded Language

Download Resource A: Kessel's assessment

Download Resource B: Polzer's assessment

Download Resource C: Primary Source

Lesson Hook/Preview

Write names of various sports teams on the board. You may want to do some research on these names first so you can discuss with students. For example, Minnesota Vikings, New York Yankees, Redskins etc. Choose names that have an obvious connection to a group of people or a place. Controversial names are good choices (ex. Redskins) as are names of local mascots (we have Apaches). This will generate student interest.

Sample Introduction: "What's in a Name?”  Why does the high school have Apaches as their mascot? How do you describe an Apache? What feelings does that mascot evoke? Discuss a few examples. You might take this opportunity to address the controversy surrounding use of racist terms as mascots.



If you have not yet covered the concepts, use the Connotative vs Denotative Meanings lesson to introduce these vocabulary terms.

If you have not yet covered the concepts, use the Loaded Language lesson to extend the meaning of "connotative vs denotative" to apply to current events, politics, and social well-being.

Step 1: Introduce Tumacácori backstory using resources such as the Timeline, park film, and Tumacácori in Summary. Talk about Father Kino and mission system. It is important to discuss the protection and year round food supply the O'odham received as part of the mission community. They also gained protection from violence, theft, and toilsome work in mines. Each person had a job and all worked to sustain the mission. All were required to attend Mass and children had to go to school. In exchange, natives had to accept Catholicism, and a Spanish way of life. They also risked their lives to be a part of the mission community as old world diseases would occasionally wreak havoc because the native populations didn’t have immunity against them. 

Step 2: Distribute copies of Resources A-C. Print and distribute passages from November 1751, Pedro Chihuahua, and Sad Tales from Mission 2000This may take about 2 lessons so give a few days for the study and discussion of the rebellion.

Step 3: Create hashtag…..What would have been trending during the events of 1751? Share hashtags.


Create the News Report:

Students will be assigned a point of view - O'odham rebels, O'odham mission residents, priests, or Spanish leadership back in Europe. They will write a script reporting on the rebellion from the point-of-view that they are assigned. They will need to write the script, report and record the report on a phone, tablet or camera. Depending on student experience with this you may have to teach how to script and storyboard.

Step 1: Divide students into groups of no more than 4.

Step 2: Have students choose a role and write their names down. Writer, Reporter, Camera Person, Task Manager etc.

Step 3: Have students write script.

Step 4: Students create storyboard and plan the shots for their report video.

Step 5: Students travel to Tumacacori NHP (if possible) and record their videos on location. Video reports should be 3-5 minutes long.



Pima: The Spanish term for the people living in the Santa Cruz Valley and beyond. Known in their native language as the O'odham.

Pimería Alta: Spanish term meaning "land of the upper Pima" which refers to the geographic area stretching from the Gila River through modern-day Sonora, Mexico.



Rubric/Answer Key

Multimedia Assessment Rubric

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Last updated: September 3, 2016