Lesson Title: The Value of Education For California and César E. Chávez Grade Level

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Lesson Title:

The Value of Education For California and César E. Chávez

Grade Level:

Grade Four Lesson 4

History-Social Science Standard:

4.4 Students explain how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing the transformation of California economy and its political and cultural development since the 1850s.

4.4.6 Describe the development and locations of new industries since the turn of the century, such as the aerospace industry, electronics industry, large-scale commercial agriculture and irrigation projects, the oil and automobile industries, communications and defense industries and the important trade links with the Pacific Basin.
Correlation to the K-8 California Adopted Textbooks:

Harcourt Brace: California. Unit 4: A Changing State. Chapters 7 and 8. Unit 5: Modern California. Chapter 9.

McGraw-Hill: California. Unit 4: California, The U.S. and the World. Chapters 9 and 10
Setting the Context:

Education and the Growth and Development of California

Since WWII, California has become the leading economic producer in the U.S., and has grown and prospered because it has a strong public education system. Educated citizens have contributed to advancements in agricultural research, economic development, industry, and business.
César E. Chávez valued education and encouraged all children to acquire an education. César led a movement and a labor union that worked to better the lives of farm workers, so their children would have the opportunity to become educated citizens of California.

The California Education System

Today, California is an economic giant because it has many schools that have educated the citizens of California. Educated citizens are responsible for inventions and advancements. In 1852, California passed a tax law that would pay for the building of schools. Today there are over 8,000 public schools that provide a free education for all children. California has more universities than any other state; it has over thirty universities and many private learning institutes. There are also many community colleges in California. Educated children are the future of California. The State will provide help for students that do well in school, and who cannot afford to attend a university. California values education because education is important to the growth and development of California.

Advancements in Agricultural Research

The California agricultural industry is the largest and richest in the U.S., and scientists have found ways to improve agriculture through research. Scientists have used computers to develop new kinds of plants and new ways of farming. They have used computers to help find cures for plant diseases and developed better farm machines. Now farmers use modern machines to harvest larger crops on less land with fewer workers. California produces more farm products than any other state and exports the most food. Agriculture creates jobs for many people who process food. In processing factories the food is cooked, canned, frozen or dried, then other business take the food to market and sell it. Because of advancements in agriculture, California now has over 80,000 farms and grows 200 different types of crops. The most valuable crops are grapes, almonds, strawberries, oranges, and walnuts.

Water for California

Most of the people in California live near San Francisco, in the Central Valley, along the coast or in southern California. Water is very scarce in these areas, although there is plenty of water in northern California, the Colorado River, and in the mountains. Engineers and scientist have built dams, reservoirs, water pipes and aqueducts that bring water to people and farms. In 1913, an aqueduct about 215 miles long was built to bring water to Los Angeles from the Owens River across the Mojave Desert and San Gabriel Mountains. In 1931, San Francisco completed an aqueduct that brought in water from the Hetchy Valley. In 1936, the Hoover Dam was built and it brought power and water to southern California. In the 1940s, aqueducts and dams were built to bring Colorado River water to Los Angeles, the Imperial Valley and the Coachella Valley. The Central Valley Project (also known as he Feather River project) began in 1930 and brought water to the San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield and the Central Valley. Water from the Central Valley Project is used for irrigation in the Central Valley. In 1960, the voters of California authorized the California Water Project that brought water from northern California to cities as far south as San Diego. Engineers have made it possible to bring water to people and farms, and California has prospered because it has water for cities, industry and agriculture.

Economic Development

An economy is the way in which the people of a state use the available resources to meet their needs. Natural resources are the things found in nature that people can use. Early economic growth in California was because of agriculture, oil, natural gas and new industries. After WWI, in 1917, shipyards, rubber plants and other factories were established. During WWII, California produced airplanes, ships, and weapons and became the nation’s aircraft center. In the 1980s, California became a world leader in high-tech equipment and the aerospace industry. California’s economy is one of the most diverse in the world; and it has more that 120 different industries and leads the U.S. in food products, aerospace production, machinery, electronic equipment, and computer production. Economic development has depended on California’s citizens and the advancements made by scientists in industry and technology.

Aviation Industry

In the early 1900s, California became an important center for making and flying airplanes. Between 1909 and 1920, Glen Martin, Donald Douglas, the Lockheed Brothers, and Northrop all started airplane factories in California. During WWII, scientists came to California to help build better airplanes for the war. After the war, in 1947, theses scientists built airplanes that could fly at supersonic speed. In the 1950s, factories began to build jets. Many students in California’s universities became scientists and invented better airplanes with more powerful engines. Today the aircraft factories in Long Beach and San Diego, California are the largest in the U.S., because of the advancements made by scientists in the aviation industry.

The High-Tech Industry Depends on Education

In 1959, scientist in California invented the silicon chip. It was a small chip that could store millions of bits of computer information. One computer used to be the size of a large building, but the silicon chip helped make computers smaller. Between 1970 and 1976, many computer companies were established in the San Jose and Palo Alto area. Scientists found ways to make the silicon chip even smaller. In 1976, a computer company in Los Angeles built the first small personal computer (PC). Now California’s computer industry is one of the biggest in the world.
Most of the goods made in California are products of modern science and engineering that include airplanes, computers, electronic components, missiles, and scientific instruments. Many companies have research laboratories located near universities in order to get new ideas from biologists, chemists, engineers, and physicists.

The Aerospace Industry

In the 1960s, scientists helped create the aerospace industry that builds and tests equipment for space travel. Computers are very important to the Aerospace industry and have helped it grow. Factories in California built the rockets that sent astronauts into space, and many Californians have become astronauts.


Many universities train students to succeed in business. Business is the buying or selling of goods. Wholesale buyers buy goods from producers and sell the goods to retail businesses. Retail businesses sell goods to consumers. A state cannot make everything that it needs so it trades with other countries or states. California has the biggest international trade in the U.S. Most of the trade is done with countries that are on the Pacific Rim. California also leads the country in exports. It exports computers, machinery, scientific tools, and food products. California imports goods from other countries. California has the seventh largest economy in the world.

César E. Chávez Valued Education

César E. Chávez and his family were migrant farm workers and as a child he attended over 36 schools. He had to quit school after eighth grade in order to help support his family by working in the fields. He once said that many children are denied an education because they are farm workers and much human potential was wasted. Although César never had the opportunity to complete his education, he was a life-long learner. He read books on many subjects and he loved to learn.
César E. Chávez was the leader of a labor movement that fought with nonviolence to better the lives and working conditions of farm workers. The farm worker movement worked to better lives of workers and improve the poverty that they were forced to live in. Many migrant farm workers and their children had a difficult time succeeding in school, because they traveled so much in search of work, and many were forced to quit school in order to help their parents work in the fields. César knew that education was a pathway out of poverty and despair. He wanted all children to have the opportunity to become educated and share in the wealth of California. César encouraged children to get an education. He also thought it was very important that once a person was educated, that their goal in life should be to help others in some way. He said,

It is not enough to teach our young people to be successful…so they can realize their ambitions, so they can earn good livings, so they can accumulate the material things that this society bestows. Those are worthwhile goals. But it is not enough to progress as individuals while our friends and neighbors are left behind. The end of all education should surly be service to others. The end of all knowledge should surly be service to others. The end of all knowledge must be the building up of character.”

The university of Arizona gave him an honorary doctorate degree because of his life long commitment to helping farm workers and his accomplishments as a leader. He was invited to teach a class at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Today many schools, institutes, and centers all over the United States are named after César E. Chávez in honor of his leadership and his life-long commitment to nonviolence, service to others, justice and education.
Letter from César E. Chávez to a Student Concerning Education.
Focus Questions:

What are the components of the California’s educational system?

What advancements were made in agricultural research, irrigation, economic development, industry, and business because of the contributions of educated people?
Why does California value education?
Why do future advancements in California depend on a strong education for all citizens?
Why was the education of children very important to César E. Chávez?
Expected Learning Outcomes:

The students will identify how a strong public education has contributed to the development of California.

The students will conclude they can acquire an education and they are important to the advancement of California.
The students will select one or two possible areas that they may pursue in higher education.
The students will evaluate the life of César E. Chávez and analyze his comments and philosophy on education.

The students will create a group poster or mural that determines and illustrates the advancements made in the various industries by educated individuals.

The students will conclude that César E. Chávez advocated education by critiquing the information provided about him and his letter.
The students will choose an area of study they may be interested in pursuing in higher education, and determine why as individuals they are important to the future of California, and how they could help others once they have attained an education. The students will create a web and write a paragraph with the following topic sentences:
I think it would be great to become a __________________.
I am important to the future of California because ____________________.
Once I am a ________________ I can help others.
Key Concepts:





Human Environmental Interactions


industry: All the business that makes one kind of product or provides one kind of service

Economics: The study of how people use resources to meet their needs

high-tech: (High Technology) having to do with computers and other electronic equipment

aqueduct: A large pipe or canal that carries water from one place to another

canal: An artificial waterway

dam: A barrier constructed across a waterway or river to control the flow or raise the level of the water.

business: The buying or selling of goods

aerospace: Having to do with building and testing equipment for air and space travel

research: Scientific investigation

export: To send or transport abroad for trade or sale

economy: The way in which people use their resources to meet their needs

manufacture: To make or process a product

product: Something that people make or grow

Pacific Rim: A world region that includes the states and countries that border the Pacific Ocean

trade: The business of buying or selling products

International Trade: Buying or selling of products with other countries

university: An institution of higher learning with teaching and research facilities

Primary Sources:

Letter written to a child by César E. Chávez (1st set, 2nd set)

Quotes from César E. Chávez

Time line of Advancements in California



Ask the students to imagine what would happen to them if they were not allowed to attend school.

Lead them to conclude that we would eventually have a society in which no one could read.
Have them predict how their city, homes and businesses would be after a time.
Ask the students to imagine the possible future without an educated public.
Have them predict what their lives would be like without an education.
Get them to understand that without an educated public our society may be very different.
Making Connections:

Have the students select a favorite personal item such a computer, game, home, skates, car, television, book, or bike. Have students put the name of the item on a small piece of paper.

Put the pieces of papers in a pile, and choose one, and write the name of the item on the board. Draw lines that radiate from the item.
Ask the students to predict what was needed in the production of the item and write their conclusions on the lines, for example: factories, designers, engineers, programmers, inventors, shipping, and raw materials.
Ask them if education played a part in any of the facets needed in the production of the item and guide them to realize that at some point education was important to the production of this item.
Vocabulary Activities:

Review the vocabulary words and their meanings with the students.

Have the students break into teams and write a given vocabulary word on one card and the definition on another card.
Have the students stand with their partners and read the word and its meaning.
Collect and shuffle the cards.
Next redistribute the cards and have the students walk around and match the words and definitions.
Once the students have united the words and the definitions have them read the word and the definition.
Play this vocabulary game, as many times as you feel is necessary.
Guided Instruction:

Present the motivation activity.

Present the making connections activity.
Review vocabulary words and involve the students in the vocabulary activity.
Read the information provided in setting the context with the students and write on the board these possible important points regarding advancements made because of educated people.

Education and the Development of California

Education has been important to the growth and economic development of California
California’s Education System

Educated citizens are responsible for many advancements

8,000 public schools

More than 30 universities

Many community colleges

The state helps students who do well in school with money

Agricultural Research

Agriculture has improved because of research

New plants

New ways to farm

New Machines

Cures for plant disease


Availability of water was a problem

Engineers built aqueducts, dams and canals

Water was available for people and agriculture

California was able to grow and prosper

Economic Development


Airplanes, ships

High-tech Industry

Aerospace Industry

Over 120 different industries today


1900s many airplane factories

1945 many airplanes for war

1947 supersonic speed

1950 jet factories

Today California is a leader in aircraft building

High-tech Industry

1959 Silicon chip invented

1970s silicon chips became smaller

1970-1976 Computer companies grew

1976 the first PC was made in Los Angeles

Today California is one of the largest producers of computers

Aerospace Industry

1960 the Aerospace industry began

Computers were very important to the industry

Factories built rockets


Students who study business help California

Pacific Rim trade

César E. Chávez Valued Education.

César was a migrant farm worker and lived in poverty.

César did not have the opportunity to finish school.

César became a union leader and helped others.

César wanted all children to be able to get an education.

César wanted educated people to help others.

Put the students in groups and have each group make a poster illustrating and explaining the advancements made in an area that was presented.
Have the students share their posters with the class and tell about the advancements that were made.
Have the students write a summary that explains the following:

César E. Chávez’ educational experience

Why he valued education
What he thought educated people should do
Have the students read their summaries to a partner and then have volunteers read summaries to the class.
The students will use the writing process to complete a written prediction of what would like to peruse in higher education. The students will choose an area of study they may be interested in perusing in, and determine why as individuals they are important to the future of California, and how they may help others once they have attained their education. The students will web and write paragraphs with the following topic sentences:
I think it would be great to become a __________________.
I will be important to the future of California because ____________________.
Once I am a ________________, I can help others.
Integrating Language:

The students will utilize listening, reading, summarizing, writing, and speaking skills in this lesson.


The students may investigate their chosen area of study on the Internet or in the library.

The students may investigate the farm workers movement in César E. Chávez and the farm workers movement.
Students may investigate one of the areas of economic growth in California in more detail and present a report on the subject.
The class can graph the various educational goals of the class.
Service Learning:
Identify the Problem:

Many students do not realize what opportunities may exist in education or careers. They may not realize the importance of learning to read, write, and succeed in school in order to build a strong educational foundation for high school, and college.

Possible Solution:

Students can survey participating classes and ask what educational goals students want to pursue in college. Students may invite guest speakers from local colleges or people from different careers.

Taking Action:

Survey the school and find out which classes want to participate in a career day. Survey the students in these classrooms and ask what educational goals they want to pursue in college, and what career they are interested in. Invite a variety of college professors and a college counselor to speak on the various areas of study offered by community colleges and universities. Also, invite some career people and have them speak on their careers and how they help others in their community.


Resurvey the students that had the opportunity to listen to the guest speakers. Compare the first survey to the second in order to determine if the speakers influenced any students in their choice of educational goals.

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