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

In the PBS series, AMERICAN FAMILY, a fictional Latino family goes about day-to-day life, providing insight into the Latino experience. In this lesson, students create their own working definition of what it means to be an American. They look at the achievements of Latinos and discuss how the contribution of these Americans have enriched and helped shape American culture. Students create an artistic piece representing Latino achievements and share this piece and their thoughts on what it means to be an American with classmates.

Grade Level:
Grades 3-5

Time Allotment:
6 class periods

Subject Matter:
History, Language Arts, Visual Arts

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Define what it means to be an American.
  • Research a Latino and describe how his/her contributions have enriched American culture.
  • Express research findings in a multimedia presentation or mural.
  • Organize and present research findings and artistic piece to classmates.
  • Work cooperatively.


United States History Standard and Benchmarks
Standard 31: Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States
Era 10 - Contemporary United States (1968 to the present) 5&StandardID=31
Understands contemporary issues concerning gender and ethnicity (e.g., the range of women's organizations, the changing goals of the women's movement, and the issues currently dividing women; issues involving justice and common welfare; how interest groups attempted to achieve their goals of equality and justice; how African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans have shaped American life and retained their cultural heritage).

Visual Arts Standard and Benchmarks
Standard 2: Knows how to use structures (e.g., sensory qualities, organizational principles, expressive features) and functions of art 13& StandardID=2
Uses visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas.

Language Arts Standard and Benchmarks
Writing Standard 4: Gathers and uses information for research purposes 7& StandardID=4
Uses electronic media to gather information (e.g., databases, Internet, CD-ROM, television shows, cassette recordings, videos, pull-down menus, word searches).

This lesson was prepared by Suzanne Furlong.