Lesson Plans

Extranjeros and Expansion

Grades 7–12

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Regions such as Texas, New Mexico and California had established Mexican and Indigenous communities already in place as the United States expanded westward in the mid-1800s. Students review the different ways that Mexican citizens came to terms with the expansion of the United States and the ways in which they became foreigners in their own lands within a very short time.

Stories of Arrival

Grades 4–12

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Latinos have come to be part of the United States through many different avenues: immigrants seeking a better life, refugees driven by war and those who did not move at all, but who found themselves on the other side of redefined borders as the United States expanded. Students will document details of historical characters from the program and plot their movements on a map. In this activity, students will trace firsthand, the varied stories of becoming Latino in the United States — and dispel common generalizations. In addition, they will compare and contrast these stories with the arrival experiences of their own families.

Identity, Immigration and Economics: The Involuntary Deportations of the 1930s

Grades 7–12

Lesson Plan pdf

This particular lesson examines the involuntary deportations of Mexican immigrants and U.S. citizens of Mexican heritage during the 1930s. This displacement is only one of many legally sanctioned, forced relocations in our nation's history. It also is an example of how a certain population may be scapegoated during times of economic downturn — and how there is an ongoing tie between immigration policies on the one hand, and economic trends on the other. Students analyze primary accounts and images from the 1930s, develop new vocabulary related to relocation, and demonstrate their understanding through creative writing. (Elements of this lesson were adapted from www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4042.)

Latinos at the Ballot Box

Grades 7–12

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This lesson examines the evolution of Latino electoral participation with specific reference to the growth of voter participation in South Texas and New York in the 1950s–70s, as well as the impact of Latino voters in major elections of the early 2000s. Students will explore early efforts to mobilize disenfranchised voters, examine watershed campaigns and elections and consider major issues – including the politics of immigration. They will reflect on the major paradigm shifts that have occurred within the past 60 years. Teachers can complete the entire sequence of activities or choose just one of the activities as a stand-alone lesson.

Stereotypes and Statistics

Grades 9–12

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There are many preconceptions and stereotypes about Latinos and how they have come to the United States. In this activity, students will examine some of the myths and compare these to actual demographic data. After completing reflective writing on the experience of being stereotyped, students will review current studies and graphs from the Pew Research Center and Latino Decisions to contrast assumptions with realities.