Hispanic Heritage: Elementary Social Studies Activities!

September 20, 2017

Ready-To-Use Elementary Social Studies Activities

For your National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations in your classrooms, we’ve put together activities for your Pre-K-12 students. In this blog, pair literature with social studies content, while exploring life in Mexico with your youngest elementary social studies students. Or have older elementary social studies students make a claim and support it with evidence to gain an understanding of the Mayan civilization and its achievements. We’ve got you covered with classroom strategies, activities, resources, and graphic organizers.

Looking for different level and subject-area activities?

SOCIAL STUDIES: Exploring Hispanic Heritage

Middle Level Social Studies: Latin American Travel Agent

High Level Social Studies: Biographies of Independence

SCIENCE: Making STEM Accessible

Elementary Level Science: 1, 2, 3…Erosion! (Grades PreK-2) AND Light, Bright (Grades 3-5)

Middle Level Science: Alternative Sources of Energy

High Level Science: Timeline of the Earth

In each activity, I share suggested resources from Britannica’s newest classroom tool, LaunchPacks: Social StudiesYou can get free 30-day access now by taking a Packs: Social Studies free trial, or you can use the activity, questions, and free, downloadable graphic organizer with your own classroom resources.

Grades PreK-2 Social Studies Activity: Life in Mexico

Overview: Students will compare and contrast content in this pack to the content in the picture book En Mi Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza to understand what life in Mexico is like.

Suggested Resources:

• LaunchPacks Social Studies: Mexico for Grades Pre-K-2

• Graphic Organizer: Compare and Contrast Venn Diagram

Picture Book: En Mi Familia 

Strategy: Compare and Contrast

Activity: Begin by asking students what they know about the country of Mexico. As a whole group, introduce the picture book En Mi Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza.   Ask students to predict what the book is about.  Read the book with the whole class, pausing to ask questions about what is happening in the story and what they think will happen next.  Then, introduce the content in the pack on an interactive whiteboard or projection screen.   Read the text, view images, and watch video. Using Graphic Organizer: Venn Diagram, help students identify details that are found in the pack vs. in both the pack AND the picture book vs. just in the picture book.

Suggested Questions:

• What details were in both the story and the content of the pack?

• What was new information you got from the pack?

• What new information did you learn from the story?

Possible Extension: Use Britannica School’s World Atlas or Google Maps to view Mexico’s landscape, cities, and street views.

Grades 3-5 Social Studies Activity: Defend Your Case

Overview: Students will make a claim and support it with evidence to gain an understanding of the Mayan civilization and its achievements.

Suggested Resources:

• LaunchPacks Social Studies: Maya for Grades 3-5

• Graphic Organizer: Claim-Reason-Evidence

Strategy: Claim-Reason-Evidence

Activity: 

Day 1: Read through the text, interpret images, and view the video within the pack.

Day 2: You are an editor at Britannica and you would like to write an article regarding the achievements of the Mayan civilization. Your boss does not think that the Mayan civilization you read about is worthy to warrant an article in the resources’ database. Defend your stance by making a claim and supporting it with evidence. Use Graphic Organizer: Claim-Reason-Evidence and be prepared to state your case orally and in writing.

Suggested Questions:

• What were some of the achievements of the Maya?

• Why were these achievements important?

• What evidence supports your claim? 

Possible Extension:  Students can work in pairs to create a written language of their own. Have them write a message in their new written language. They can then switch with another group to decode the message. Discuss the difficulties and benefits of having a written language.