Third-grade students experience life on the historic Spanish ranchos that used to exist in California. History comes alive as students have to figure out how to get what they need to thrive on remote ranch land. They quickly learn the value of bartering and purchasing items from other ranchos. The classroom becomes a lively place as the young rancheros negotiate deals and learn the benefits of working with others to create win-win situations.
At a Fiesta culmination, third graders cook, make cascarones, dance, break piñatas (each rancho makes a piñata), and eat a delicious Mexican meal to celebrate the study of the rancho period.