Latin American History
Unit / Lesson Plan
Focus: Pre-Revolutionary Period
What prompted the Latin American Revolution and Wars of Independence from Spain?
Guiding Lesson Questions:
Leading up to the revolutionary period, what was society like? How did the people adjust to the Peninsulars, or Iberians?
How did the various social groups rally together in their pursuit of independence?
Why did the Haitian slaves’ revolt and independence affect the rest of Latin America?
How would you compare Brazil under the throne of the Portuguese monarch, Prince Joao, with the remaining countries in Latin America?
What was happening in other parts of the world?
How did revolutionary leaders affect Latin American independence?
People, Places, Cultural Items, & Events
Society: Indigenous groups, African slaves, colonists, mestizos, mulattos, castas, creoles, women, and Iberians-Peninsulars, fringe communities, clergy, missionaries, Jesuits
Cultural Items: Transculturation of food, customs, language, and religion, slavery in the military, llaneros, encomiendas, Spanish royal tariffs and exploitation
Places of particular interest within Latin America: Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Haiti, and Brazil, rural fringe areas, urban centers
Events: The Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolution, the Spanish Royal Bourbones and their incorporation of the new Spanish viceroys, overthrow of the Spanish Crown, monarchies replaced by republics, era of Enlightenment
Pre-Revolutionary Period Unit Map Outline
Class One: Clash, Conformity, & Adaptation
Review the evolutionary stages of social clash, conformity, adaptation by transculturation, and eventual unrest and desire for independence.
What happened in Haiti and Brazil during this period?
Class Three: Events & Society
Examine international events which prompted the revolution for independence.
Class Four & Five: Revolutionary Politics
Explore the politics of the times, what the people wanted, and why they were discontent under Spanish rule.
Class Six: Revolutionary Leaders: Tupac Amaru, Father Hidalgo, Jose de San Martín, Simón de Bolívar
Learn who these leaders were, what they stood for, and what they achieved as revolutionaries.
The above outline map should be covered in approximately 5-6 classes. Each class or lesson will consist of 1.5 hours with a couple of activities in each lesson. Students will need approximately 20-30 minutes to complete in-class activities, depending on the activity. Also, at the end of each lesson, students will be engaged in responding to that lesson’s question as a practice learning assessment.
Each class will vary activities, but the 90 minute class will be divided as follows: introduction of topic, or “hook”, class objective presented, short review of preceding lesson which lead to current topic, in class activities, or research, and closure. Classes will end with a final reflection (group or individual) and teacher will end class by mentioning the topic to follow.
During this unit, students will be assessed by the completion of in-class activities, and formative essays. A summative assessment quiz will be given at the end of the unit. I believe this type of assessment is necessary to hold high school students accountable for information covered in class as well as to ensure long-term learning goals have been met. The format will be thematic essay questions in nature. Questions regarding the unit will enable deep learning as opposed to rote memorization.
Objective: Students will be able to identify some of Latin America’s most important revolutionary leaders by exploring a summary of their backgrounds and political platforms. Also, students will compare the revolutionaries’ similarities and differences, as well as understand their key roles in obtaining independence for Latin America.
Materials: U-tube video, 2 Parts By kincaidkenny
Bolívar & San Martin, p.1 (9.51 min.), p.2 (9.43 min.)
Brief biographies: Simón Bolívar, Jose de San Martín, Tupac Amaru, &
Father Miguel Hidalgo
Lesson Plan: Ask the following questions: What does the word, revolution mean to you? Who were some of the most famous revolutionary leaders in Latin America? What were their political roles and backgrounds? How did they affect Latin American independence?
Explain the purpose of the class and that students are expected to learn the answers to these questions in this class. Mention Simón Bolívar, Jose de San Martín, Tupac Amaru, & Father Miguel Hidalgo and inform each are very different and defended different regions within Latin America. Then, after this brief introduction of the class objective and subject, have the students view a two part video (approximately 10 minutes each in length). Ask them to take notes on the two leaders mentioned in the video. Their notes will later be used in a class activity. (25 minutes total time to give the introduction and show the video)
After viewing the video, ask for four volunteers and divide the class into four different groups. Within each group, have at least one student be from one of the following categories: colonist, indian, mestizo, African, and creole. Assign each volunteer and each group one of the following leaders Simón Bolívar, Jose de San Martín, Tupac Amaru, & Father Miguel Hidalgo. Each volunteer will read a brief bio describing who they are, their purpose, areas they defended, and their outcome. Meanwhile, each group will take notes on their designated leader. After the four volunteers read their biographic scripts, they will join the group designated to them. (10 minutes or less to divide the class into groups, select volunteers, and listen to the four biographic scripts)
Each group together with their leader will create a short campaign speech reflective of the leader along with a poster presentation drawing using markers. The drawing may reflect the views of their campaign, or their leader, or whatever they choose to represent the topic. (20 minutes)
Each group will present their poster and short campaign speech to the class. (15 minutes)
Closure: Teacher leads class discussion regarding the four leaders. Refer back to the introductory questions: Who were some of the most famous revolutionary leaders in Latin America? What were their political roles and backgrounds? How did they affect Latin American independence? Use a Venn diagram and place each leader in its own bubble, surrounding a large fifth bubble in the center of the promethean. Have students answer these questions, as well as analyze, compare and contrast similarities and differences amongst the four leaders. Place any similarities in the center bubble. (15 minutes)
Lastly, (5 minutes) end by having students write a memorable fact they learned in class about each of the four leaders and why they are remembered today after independence.
I chose this particular time period because it signifies a major turning point in Latin American history. It is important to know what preceded the revolution, during the span of 300 years after the Spanish conquest. It answers many questions regarding major social, political and economic transformations. It further addresses international events leading to the revolts and revolutions for independence. I am fascinated by how such a diverse group of people rallied together as one, fought for independence against super powers, and won. This sense of national pride and desire to separate from European dynasties is similar to U.S. history and gives me with a sense of connection.
I wanted to ask my students what a revolution means to them and engage them in the time surrounding this era. I myself wanted to know how their revolution took place. I would not want my students to take this course without teaching who these leaders were, whether you agree with their ideals, or not? Were they selfishly on the front lines to gain importance, or were they really fighting for their peoples’ best interest? Why were they forever remembered in the history of Latin American independence? Students should know the answers to these questions.
To avoid following into the “old way of teaching only the important people”, preceding lessons in this unit will help identify those groups in society who supported them, what their struggles were and how they decided to contribute to the fight for independence. This reciprocal agreement made independence possible. Nor the people, nor the leaders could stand alone. However, these leaders known as the founding fathers of Latin America played a vital role toward gaining independence. Without their leadership and unity with the people, Latin America would not exist as independent countries we know today.
Lastly, on a technical note, I discovered a two-part video which is perfect for this lesson. It addresses culminating events at home and abroad. It also brings to life the social diversity, geography, and more importantly why Latin America longed for independence. It also provides excellent details and facts regarding the lives of Bolívar and San Martín. I think the visuals really help students engage in the subject matter and leave a lasting impression.