Maria J. Fierro-Treviño 

NATIONAL STANDARDS:  COMMUNICATION, CONNECTIONS, COMMUNITIES

One of the best ways to explore Hispanic Heritage Month is to learn about the past history of Hispanic peoples in order to obtain a better understanding of who Hispanics are today.  Our Hispanic roots can be traced back centuries with roots both in the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas.  It is important to study our roots from both perspectives in order to understand who Hispanics are today.

Activity:  Students work in small groups to research information and from that research develop a PowerPoint, a collage with illustrations and written descriptions on a display board, or a pamphlet on one of the topics listed below or a topic of their choice with teacher approval.

Teacher:  Teachers may want to coordinate this project with the social studies teachers, so that students may receive credit in both classes.  Provide specific guidelines for the project including a timeline for students to give updates with regards to their research, actual project development, and oral presentation.  A project like this may last 3-4 weeks. Develop an assessment/rubric to grade the different steps of the project.  Share the rubric with the students prior to beginning the project.  Assign point values to each section:  update, visual project, and oral presentation. Within each group, each student is assigned his/her specific contribution to the project. The difficulty of the project will vary depending on the level of Spanish of the student.  Upon completion, display students’ projects throughout the school in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.  Teachers may want to invite parents to an evening presentation to view student work.

Examples:

  • Information about each Spanish-speaking country (one country per student or pairs of students) — map of country, its location in the Americas, population, ethnicities within the country, etc. (This could be an introductory mini-project in order to provide an overview prior to the main research projects.)
  • Columbus’ travels to the new world and his accomplishments.
  • Who were “los Reyes Católicos” and what was their role in the discovery of the New World?
  • Conquerors and explorers: Hernando (Hernán) Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Ponce de León, etc.: Where did they come from? What did they do in the New World?
  • Native American groups in the Americas prior to the discovery of the New World: Aztecas, Olmecas, Chichimecas, Maya, Toltecas, Zapotecas, Incas, etc.  Who were they and what were their contributions to Hispanic traditions, clothing, food, etc.
  • The blending of two races: Spaniards and Native Americans from México, the Caribbean, Central American, and South America.
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