Coronado Historic Site

School Resources

Planning Your School Group Visit (2019/20 Year)

Thank you for your interest in touring our site with your school group! This guide will assist you in planning your upcoming visit to Coronado Historic Site (CHS) and the ancient village of Kuaua.

Group Visit Experiences:

  • Guided walk through the Ancient Village of Kuaua
  • Climb into the Painted Kiva
  • Explore ancient artifacts in the Visitor Center
  • Hike along the Río Grande and in the bosque

Key Themes Covered:

  • Indigenous cultures of the Middle Río Grande
  • European contact and colonization
  • Conflict and contested space
  • Archaeology
  • Water and other natural resources


  • School groups must submit a request at least two weeks prior to the date of their visit
  • A minimum of one attentive chaperone to every eight students is needed for a successful visit
  • No cellphone use while on the tour (for cultural sensitivity)
  • There is a two-class maximum for any given time slot
  • Staff and docents are not disciplinarians. Teachers and chaperones are responsible for children’s behavior.

State Benchmarks and Standards:

School group visits to CHS are designed to complement the New Mexico Department of Education’s benchmarks and standards. The visits are customized to three grade groups: K-4, 5-8, 9-12. See the end of this guide for a complete list of the standards and supporting activities.

Admission Fee Waiver

The admission fee will be waived for all public, private, and home schools that schedule in advance and complete steps 1-2.


STEP #1 Schedule Your Visit

Request a Date and Time

Follow the link below to request a date and time for your school group visit. Adrienne Boggs, our Instructional Coordinator, will contact you after you submit the form to confirm your spot.

Notes on Tour Dates and Times

  • School group tours are only offered at CHS on Thursdays
  • Tours are conducted from 10 am - 12 pm or from 1 pm – 3 pm.
  • Up to two classes can be scheduled in each time slot
  • For the 10 am – 12 pm timeslot, we will automatically reserve a picnic area for your group, so you can enjoy a sack lunch when the tour is over (lunch is not provided).


STEP #2 Prepare Your Group

Required Preparation Activity (60 Minutes – In Class)

Follow the link below to download the pre-visit in class activity to prepare your students for their field trip to CHS.

Print a two-page handout for each student. Students will also need writing utensils, scissors, and tape or paste. There is a one-page alternative that only requires writing utensils.

Provide students time to become familiar with the handout, then play the video and allow the students to fill in the blanks and arrange the topics on the timeline.

A teacher key is included.


STEP #3 Visit Coronado Historic Site

What Students Should Bring

  • Sack Lunch
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Closed-toed shoes (no sandals due to a ladder climb)
  • Hat

Safety Considerations

  • Have groups stay with chaperones during their visit
  • Take note of the seasonal weather and prepare accordingly
  • Do not climb on trees, buildings, rocks, cliffs, or historic structures
  • Do not disturb wildlife
  • Immediately report injuries to a staff member


Coronado Historic Site is located on the west bank of the Rio Grande in Bernalillo, just off Highway US 550. From I-25, Exit 242 take US Highway 550 1.7 miles west to Kuaua Road.

Arriving at CHS

A staff member or docent will meet your bus in the parking lot and guide your group into the site. Please call the front desk at 505-867-5351 if your group is running early or late.

Site Stewardship

While visiting Coronado Historic Site there are two rules that are paramount:

  • Visitors should stay on the trails
  • Visitors should not pick anything up from the ground

By following these rules visitors will comply with State and Federal laws protecting archaeological sites.

ADA Compliance

Our main trail loop, museum building, and restrooms are all ADA compliant. We also offer one courtesy wheelchair.


Each class will be led on a two-hour tour through the museum, ancient village, and nature trail. If two classes are booked, they will rotate through stations around the site. A restroom break is included halfway through the tour. When weather is extremely hot or cold, more time will be spent in the Visitor Center and other climate-controlled areas of the site.

The Painted Kiva

30 minutes of the tour involves a climb into a subterranean structure. There is a seven-foot ladder and a fifteen-foot ladder to enter the kiva, and the same to exit. There is a virtual experience that is available for students that are not physically able to climb the ladders.


At noon, classes will be led to our group picnic area overlooking the Rio Grandé. There are both covered and uncovered tables to choose from. Staff, when available, will join the students at the tables for continued conversations and questions. After lunch, groups are expected to clean up after themselves and throw away all trash and food remnants.

Departing CHS

We suggest that groups remain in the picnic areas until the bus has arrived and is ready for students to board. If a bus is delayed or departure is after 1pm, please alert the staff.


STEP #4 Solidify Your Visit

After visiting CHS we offer many services that allow your class to dive deeper into various aspects of the history of the site.

Classroom Visit (K-12)

We also offer two in-classroom experience led by staff and docents on Tuesdays during the school year.

  • If You Lived in a Pueblo – allows students to explore life in the Ancient Village of Kuaua almost 800 years ago. This is a 60-minute experience that features authentic artifacts, hands-on activities, and a slide presentation.
  • If You Lived in a Hacienda – allows students to explore life in the historic Montoya Hacienda which was in use from around 1598 to 1680. This 60-minute experience also features authentic artifacts, hands-on activities, and a slide presentation.

Follow the link below to schedule your post-visit in-classroom experience.

Optional Lesson Plans (K-12)

Click on each link below to download a free lesson plan exploring the history of Coronado Historic Site and the Ancient Village of Kuaua.

Life in Ancient Kuaua

What was life like in the ancient pueblo of Kuaua? After a presentation of basic information about pueblo life, in this lesson, your elementary students will have fun acting out the picture above, complete notetaking and writing activities, and reassemble the sherds of an ancient Kuaua Polychrome pot. Cilck HERE to download. 

Pueblo Life Through Spanish Eyes

Using primary and secondary sources, students will examine life at the ancient pueblo village of Kuaua, one of the cluster of Rio Grande pueblos called Tiguex which was visited by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado during his entrada in 1540. Click HERE to download. 

Who was Coronado?

In 1540, a young Spanish nobleman led an self-financed expedition of Spaniards, Indian allies, and slaves north into what would become New Spain, seeking the wealth of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola and the financial rewards due to Spaniards who increased the lands of the Spanish crown. Your students will investigate web resources to discover facts and complete a timeline of Coronado’s life in this printer-ready, standards-based lesson. Click HERE to download.

Columbian Exchange

After completing this lesson, the learner will be able to dentify the origin of plants and animals in the Columbian Exchange, they will also be able to complete a dinner menu which reflects New or Old World foods before and after the Columbian Exchange. Finally, they will write a paragraph about the impact of the Columbian Exchange on both the New World and the Old. This lesson is intended for students in upper elementary  through middle school.  The Powerpoint presentation is geared more for lower grades, but could easily be used with additional resource materials cited at the end of the lesson for seventh or eighth grade students.Click HERE to download. 

Poetry Analysis

Your students will write an historic poem about the ancient pueblo village of Kuaua by completing a prewriting exercise, watching a video, completing the tour of the site if you are able to come to visit us, reading a primary source article by a former caretaker of Coronado, a poem written about the site, and finally, writing a poem of their own.  The focus will be on the perspective of the writer and the difference point of view can make. Click HERE to download.

A Change of Attitude

Both of these documents were laws signed by the King of Spain, written thirty years apart and for different reasons, as Spain moved into the New World and began settlement and conquest in North and South America.  Investigate the reasons behind each document and how they were similar, or different, by looking at primary source quotes from each document as well as some of the artwork created in that time. Click HERE to download. 

Turkeys in Ancient Pueblos

Your students will answer this question after doing vocabulary study and going through ten different stations which will include both primary and secondary source information about turkey husbandry in ancient Southwestern pueblos. The lesson plans are written to address both Common Core and New Mexico state history standards.  A Powerpoint presentation is included as well to make discussion easy and fun with a large group. Click HERE to download. 

Coronado Had Help: The Indios Amigos

History tells us that in 1540,  Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and three hundred Europeans conquered thousands of   pueblo farmers in the middle Rio Grande Valley.  These conquistadors were metal-clad Spanish warriors on horseback.  Franciscan monks came with them to bring Christianity into the region.  Sometimes stories even mention Mexican Indians who came with the expedition as servants, porters, or slaves.  This myth is simply untrue. Primary source documents from that time tell a very different story.  And the army that Coronado brought into the Rio Grande valley looked quite different as well – it was an army primarily made up of Mesoamerican Indians from the Valley of Mexico.  Roughly 3,000 strong, these indios amigos, or “friendly Indians ” as the Spanish called them, spoke  the Nahuatl, or Aztec, language.  And the majority of them weren’t servants, porters, or slaves. Click HERE to download. 

The Tiguex War

In 1540, the Coronado Expedition moved into the middle Rio Grande Valley, now Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Bernalillo.  They brought with them a sizable group of Mesoamerican warriors.  They encounter the Tiwa-speaking Pueblo people of the Rio Grande Valley, and what follows is the first war that takes place between European and Native American forces in the Southwest. Click HERE to download.

CSI: Kuaua Pueblo

After completing this lesson, the learner will be able to use multiple print and visual sources, primary and secondary, to make a decision about the function of a room in an ancient pueblo. They will present findings with a group and defend their decision with evidence from the archaeological record. And finally, write a field report which includes primary source and secondary source information, based on the archaeological record. Click HERE to download. 

Reading Resources for Teachers

This is a list that we have developed, using the suggestions from New Mexico educators and librarians from area elementary, middle, high schools, and colleges.  It is by no means complete, but it represents a start at an annotated bibliography of resources that are available which reflect the history and culture of New Mexico. Click HERE to download. 


New Mexico State Benchmarks Addressed in a Visit to Coronado Historic Site

I-History        II-Geography           III-Government      IV-Economics

Grades K-4:

I-A: Describe how contemporary and historical people and events have influenced New Mexico communities and regions.

I-D: Understand time passage and chronology.

II-A: Understand the concept of location by using and constructing maps, globes, and other geographic tools to identify and derive information about people, places, and environments.

II-B: Distinguish between natural and human characteristics of places and use this knowledge to define regions, their relationships with other regions, and patterns of change.

II-C: Be familiar with aspects of human behavior and man-made and natural environments in order to recognize their impact on the past and present.

II-E: Describe how economic, political, cultural, and social processes interact to shape patterns of human populations, and their interdependence, cooperation, and conflict.

II-F: Describe how natural and man-made changes affect the meaning, use, distribution, and value of resources.

III-B: Identify and describe the symbols, icons, songs, traditions, and leaders of local, state, tribal, and national levels that exemplify ideals and provide continuity and a sense of community across time.

Grades 5-8:

I-A: Explore and explain how people and events have influenced the development of New Mexico up to the present day.

I-B: Analyze and interpret major eras, events and individuals from the periods of exploration and colonization through the civil war and reconstruction in United States history.

I-C: Compare and contrast major historical eras, events and figures from ancient civilizations to the age of exploration.

I-D: Research historical events and people from a variety of perspectives:

II-A: Analyze and evaluate the characteristics and purposes of geographic tools, knowledge, skills and perspectives and apply them to explain the past, present and future in terms of patterns, events and issues.

II-B: Explain the physical and human characteristics of places and use this knowledge to define regions, their relationships with other regions, and their patterns of change.

II-C: understand how human behavior impacts man-made and natural environments, recognize past and present results and predict potential changes:

II-E: Explain how economic, political, cultural and social processes interact to shape patterns of human populations and their interdependence, cooperation and conflict.

II-F: Understand the effects of interactions between human and natural systems in terms of changes in meaning, use, distribution and relative importance of resources.

III-B: Explain the significance of symbols, icons, songs, traditions and leaders of New Mexico and the United States that exemplify ideals and provide continuity and a sense of unity.

IV-C: describe the patterns of trade and exchange in early societies and civilizations and explore the extent of their continuation in today’s world.

Grades 9-12

I-C: World: analyze and interpret the major eras and important turning points in world history from the age of enlightenment to the present, to develop an understanding of the complexity of the human experience.

I-D: Use critical thinking skills to understand and communicate perspectives of individuals, groups and societies from multiple contexts.

II-A: Analyze and evaluate the characteristics and purposes of geographic tools, knowledge, skills, and perspectives and apply them to explain the past, present and future in terms of patterns, events and issues.

II-B: Analyze natural and man-made characteristics of worldwide locales; describe regions, their interrelationships and patterns of change.

II-C: Analyze the impact of people, places and natural environments upon the past and present in terms of our ability to plan for the future.

II-E: Analyze and evaluate how economic, political, cultural and social processes interact to shape patterns of human populations and their interdependence, cooperation and conflict.

II-F: Analyze and evaluate the effects of human and natural interactions in terms of changes in the meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources in order to predict our global capacity to support human activity.

III-A: Compare and analyze the structure, power and purpose of government at the local, state, tribal and national levels as set forth in their respective constitutions or governance documents.

III-B: Analyze how the symbols, icons, songs, traditions and leaders of New Mexico and the United States exemplify ideals and provide continuity and a sense of unity.

IV-B: Analyze and evaluate how economic systems impact the way individuals, households, businesses, governments and societies make decisions about resources and the production and distribution of goods and services.