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CNN Student News Learning Activity: Hispanic Heritage Month

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  • Students will investigate how Hispanic Americans have contributed to U.S. culture
  • Students will identify opportunities and challenges that exist for Hispanics in America
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(CNN Student News) -- Students will investigate the contributions of Hispanic Americans to U.S. culture, and what it means to be an Hispanic in America today.

Procedure

Point out to students that Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, "September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively."

In observance of Hispanic Heritage Month, send student groups on a multimedia scavenger hunt to investigate how Hispanic Americans have contributed to U.S. culture, and the opportunities and challenges that exist for Hispanics in America today. Pose the following questions to guide students' research:

1. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, what is the estimated Hispanic population of the United States? What percent of the total U.S. population does this number represent?

2. What aspects of Hispanic culture can be found in the U.S?

3. Who are some Hispanic Americans who have had an impact in U.S. politics and government?

4. Who are some famous Hispanic-American musicians, artists, writers and actors? How have they impacted U.S. culture?

5. What Hispanic businesses exist in your community and other parts of the U.S.? How have these businesses contributed to the U.S. economy?

6. What issues have you seen or heard about in recent news that are of interest to the Hispanic community?

Have groups share and discuss their findings with the class.

Extension

Instruct each student to interview several Hispanic-American teens and adults to get their responses to the following question: What would you like other Americans to know about what it means to be Hispanic in America today? Have students summarize the interviewees' responses and share them with the class.

Correlated Standards

Social Studies

I. Culture

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity.

V. Individuals, Groups and Institutions

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.

The Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (http://www.socialstudies.org/standards/ are published by the National Council for Social Studies (http://www.socialstudies.org).

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