CNN Student News Learning Activity and Resources: Hispanic Heritage Month

Story highlights

  • Students will investigate how Hispanic Americans have contributed to U.S. culture
  • Students will identify opportunities and challenges that exist for Hispanics in America
  • Students can use videos and maps to further their understanding of Hispanic heritage

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:

    Just Watched

    Hispanic Heritage - Independence Day Tour

Hispanic Heritage - Independence Day Tour 01:48
PLAY VIDEO

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?

    Just Watched

    Hispanic Heritage - Mexico celebrates independence

Hispanic Heritage - Mexico celebrates independence 00:32
PLAY VIDEO

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?

      Just Watched

      Hispanic Heritage Month - Puerto Rico

    Hispanic Heritage Month - Puerto Rico 02:23
    PLAY VIDEO

    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.

    Related Resources - Maps

    Hispanic Heritage - Independence Day: September 15
    Cuba
    Mexico
    Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico

    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).