Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Latino Contributions to American Culture
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for teachers is divided into three sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
Steps -- Conducting the lesson
Extensions -- Additional activities


Media Components

Computer Resources:
  • Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 8.1 or above and at least 32 MB of RAM.
    Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windows® 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM.
Specific Software Needed:
  • PowerPoint, HyperStudio, or iMovie (optional)


Students need the following supplies:

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Materials to create a mural such as a large piece of butcher block paper, paints, paintbrushes
  • Magazines with color pictures (will be cut up to create collages)
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Bookmarked sites:

Research sites:
For mural ideas and inspiration:
Software information:
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Introductory Activity:
(One 50-minute class period)

  • Ask students: What does it mean to be an American? Who are Americans? What are their expectations? What are they proud of? What problems do they face?

  • After students have generated a list of ideas, formulate a working definition of what it means to be an American. Hang this list and definition in your classroom so students can refer to them.

  • Set out magazines, paper, scissors, and glue for students. Ask each student to create a collage depicting what it means to be an American. Encourage students to include both words and images in their collages.

  • When students are finished with their collages, break them into groups of 4-5. Have students share their collages in their groups and explain why they chose the words and images they did.

    Learning Activities:

    Activity One:
    (Two 50-minute class periods)

  • Tell students that in this lesson, they will be researching the contributions of specific group of Americans: Latinos. They will chose a specific person of interest to them, fill out the ACTIVITY ONE- RESEARCH ORGANIZER, and later create a mural depicting the person's contribution. Break students into groups of 2-3 students.

  • Ask each group to visit the following sites, choose a Latino to research, and record the information using the ACTIVITY ONE- RESEARCH ORGANIZER.

    Research sites: Optional Activity/Homework Assignment—As an ongoing homework assignment, or in-class activity, have students watch a segment of AMERICAN FAMILY, and keep a running log of the contributions the family members are making to American society and culture. After viewing, break students into groups to discuss what they have written in their logs.

    Activity Two:
    (Two 50-minute class periods)

  • In this activity, students create a mural or multimedia presentation depicting what they’ve learned. They’ll first look at murals by Latino and Mexican artists, then they’ll plan their own project. Hand out the PROJECT ORGANIZER to help guide the students as they view the murals, and organize their mural or multimedia piece. (How-to software Web sites for students interested in the multimedia piece are listed after #3 of this activity.)

  • Tell students that their artistic work should communicate the following:
    • What the person did/does
    • How/what they’ve contributed to society
    • The American ideals and traits they personify

  • After planning, students should create their piece.

    Software information
    (for students who choose to create a PowerPoint presentation, HyperStudio presentation, iMovie, or Web page instead of a mural)

    Culminating Activity/Assessment:
    (One 50-minute class period)
    In this activity, students present their mural or multimedia project to their classmates.

  • Each group should be prepared to explain:
    • why they chose or created the images in their piece of art,
    • how the person’s achievements enriched American culture,
    • whether and how learning about this person expanded or changed their definition of what it means to be an American, or how this person embodies their definition of what it means to be an American.

  • After the presentations, revisit your class definition of what it means to be an American and ask students if they would like to add to or revise their definition.


    Cross-Curricular Extension:

    Invite a Latina or Latino from your community into your classroom to discuss what being an American means to him or her.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students