Rancho San Pedro

 Life on a Rancho


Spanish Period I

Spanish Period II

Mexican Period

Gold Rush

Post Gold Rush
Photo credit: Dominguez Adobe
The adobe of Rancho San Pedro as can be seen today.


Spanish Period 1- Activity 1

Using the scale provided on the map in Spanish Period 1, figure out the distance in both leagues and varas between Rancho San Pedro and Pueblo Los Angeles. Start at the "o" in San Pedro and stop the the "s" in Los.

Spanish Period 1A- Activity 2

Use the map in Spanish Period 1 for this activity. Since Jose Juan Dominguez spent so much time at Mission San Gabriel, figure out the distance in both leagues and varas between Rancho San Pedro and Mission San Gabriel. Start at the "o" in San Pedro and stop the the "1" at the end of 1771.

Spanish Period 1B- Activity 3

Based on the government census report in 1795 (found in Spanish Period 1A), how much larger was the herd of cattle by 1810 (found in Spanish Period 1B)? Write a complete mathematical sentence to express your answer.

Spanish Period 2- Activity 4

Reading Comprehension

What role did Cristobal Dominguez have in the running of Rancho San Pedro?

Why didn't Manuel Gutierrez and Jose Dolores Sepulveda leave the Rancho?

Mexican Period - New Adobe - Activity 4

Using a map in the back of your social studies text book, calculate the number of miles Manuel Dominguez and his family traveled between San Diego and Rancho San Pedro. Using the scale provided on the map, starting at Mission San Diego and ending at "L" in Los Angeles (Oh, California see page 328).

Mexican Period 2 Mexican Law - Activity 5a - Human Tic Tac Toe

Group students into two teams, X and O. Make a grid of 9 square with masking tape on the floor or chalk outside. Teams form lines facing the grid. The entire team tells whether the sentence is true or false.

If answered correctly, the first student chooses a spot to stand making and X by crossing arms or an O by joining hands over their head. The game continues until a team wins and repeat if time permits.


1. The Law of Colonization was a way to get free land in unpopulated areas. (T)

2. In the Law of Colonization the size of the land grant was unlimited. (F)

3. The Law of 1828 created a process to be followed to obtain a land grant. (T)

4. A diseno was a hand-drawn map. (T)

5. A diseno was not required to get a land grant. (T)

6. Once a person was granted title to the land, they had up to five years to build a house and live in it. (F)

7. The Act of Juridical Possession required an official survey of the land where boundaries were agreed upon by the neighbors. (T)

8. The measurement of the official survey was completed by two men on horseback carrying poles with a cord of rope between them. (T)

9. The magistrate was the official who oversaw the survey. (T)

10. In celebration of ownership a new ranchero might chop down trees in the four cardinal directions. (F)

Mexican Period 2 Mexican Law - Activity 5b - Outside Measuring Activity

Using two pointers or yard sticks, attach string or yarn between sticks (10 varas, varas is approximately 33 inches) mark the string at each vara in red or with masking tape. Make several sets. Place students into teams of 4 or 5. Measure the baseball diamond, the kickball area, a four square, the blacktop area, and/or the grassy field. Two team members act as cordeleros while the other members record and direct cordeleros. Then switch until every team member has had an opportunity to be a cordelero.

Mexican Period 3 Rancho Life - Activity 6 - Economic Activity

If you were a Ranchero in 1845, how much could you earn if you chose to slaughter 1,500 head of cattle for hides, tallow, and carne seca? How much could you earn if you slaughtered 2,500 head of cattle? Write your answers in complete mathematical sentences.

Mexican Period 4 Family Life - Activity 7a

Using the map in Spanish Period 1, determine the number of miles between Pueblo Los Angeles to Rancho San Pedro,staring at the "s" in Los and ending at the "o" in Pedro. How many overnight stops would have to be made if you were traveling by carreta?

Mexican Period 4 Family Life - Activity 7b - Art Activity

Study the picture of a carreta in Mexican Period 4 Family Life, gather small twigs to represent tree branches, use jute or raffia as rawhide, make a model of a carreta. Cut out circles of cardboard for the wheels, glue three together for each wheel.

Mexican Period 5 Rodeos- Activity 8 - Create a brand

Using A Cowboy's Guide to Brands, make a chart or draw on the board the different symbols and their meanings. Using the symbols, sketch on paper the design of your brand, then explain the symbols you chose and why in a paragraph. Using a pipe cleaner create your brand. Remember to keep it simple, look at Manuel Dominguez's lemon shaped brand as a guide.

Mexican Period 6 Sepulveda Grant - Activity 9 - Critical Thinking

Using the diseno in Mexican Period 6 Sepulveda Grant, determine the number of varas from Las Casas de Los Sepulvedas to the point at the center of La Puerta de San Pedro. Start at the "D" in De and end at the tip of the small point below the "A" in Puerta. Then compute into miles. (Hint: 5,000 varas is equal to 2.6 miles)

Mexican Period 7 Mexican/American War- Activity 10- Critical Thinking

Study the map of battlefields in Mexican Period 7 Mexican/American War, find the two swords that are crossed like an "X". Determine the number of miles from the harbor, where reinforcements were picked up, to the place on the Rancho where the battle took place. If they were traveling on horseback and on foot, how long do you think it took to go from the harbor to the Rancho?

Gold Rush 1 Cattle Boom - Activity 11 - Economic Activity

Refer back to Activity 6, you will need your calculation for 2,500 head of cattle. It is now 1854, the price of cattle is now at $55.00 a head, 2,500 head survived the drive North. Calculate your profit, then determine how much more you would have made if the price of cattle in 1845 was also $55.00 instead of $12.00 a head. Calculate your profit for 2,500 head of cattle in 1860. What is the difference in profit between 1854 and 1860 for 2,500 head of cattle.

Gold Rush 2 Constitution- Activity 12 - Vocabulary Match Game

Make several copies of words and definitions attach to 3" x 5" cards.

Put students in teams of two to review vocabulary. Directions: Mix up cards, place face down on table. On each turn, turn two cards face up so everyone can read them, if they matchpick them up if they don't , place face down again in same place. Continue until all cards are matched with definitions. The person with the most matches wins.

adobe vaqueros tallow


"California pueblo mayordomo

Bank Note"


fierro diseno concedo


orejanos cordeleros ballada


reata rodeo fiesta


presidio carne seca caballada


pueblo recogida carreta


calavaras tallow ranchero



a fort located cattle fat, "place of skulls"

on the coast, used to make slaughter-corral,

built to protect soap and where cattle and

missions and candles sheep were butchered

pueblos by Indian butchers


owner of the roughly round-up

Rancho made ox-cart of horses


village or town band of beef jerky;

usually located carefully beef sliced

near a mission trained horses thinly, cured,

---------and dried

festival or party round-up to sort, official order

held after a rodeo, brand cattle, and to prepare title

wedding, or determine number papers for land

holiday of cattle to be ownership


and skinned




a length of rope fat collected from men on

usually made of cattle which was horseback that

braided leather sold or used to measure a

make soap or tract of land

candles using poles

with a cord



deep, moat-like hand-made cattle hide

ditch map




unmarked or range brand village or

unbranded cattle placed on the town


Post Gold Rush Cattle Bust- Activity 13 - Economic Activity

It is 1863, now you have 2,500 head of cattle that must be slaughtered because you don't have the food or water for them to survive. Calculate your profit. Determine your loss compared to 1860.

Post Gold Rush Rancho Expansion- Activity 14

When Manuel Dominguez died in 1882, he had six surviving daughters. Determine the number of acres of Rancho land each girl received, then round to the nearest hundred.

Round the number of arces Manuel Dominguez received in 1855 by the court, not including Rancho Los Palos Verdes, to the nearest thousand then subtract what he left his six daughters. Write a mathematical sentence for your answer. Manuel left a majority of Rancho San Pedro for his heirs.

Post Gold Rush Early 20th Century- Activity 15

Using a detailed map of the South Bay areas (Automobile Club of Southern California), see how many times you can find the names of the Dominguez family heirs. Place students into teams of four or five armed with maps and create a competition, all sites must be written down with a reference.