Lessons - Middle/High

Also see: ElementaryTeaching Stories, Central America Quiz


Introduction to Central America

Middle and High School

This lesson introduces students to key people in Central American history through a short interactive, introductory activity.  


Salvadoran History Through Poetry

Middle and high School

In this two-part lesson by Justin Sybenga, students explore the history and culture of El Salvador through Claribel Alegria’s poem “Little Cambray Tamales” and then write their own recipe poems.


Inside the Volcano: A Curriculum on Nicaragua

Middle and high school

This teaching guide by Bill Bigelow and Jeff Edmundson includes interactive lessons on land distribution in Nicaragua before the revolution, the Sandinistas, the role of the United States, the literacy campaign, Ben Linder, and the Honduran connection.


Harvest of Empire Teaching Guide

Middle and high school

This teaching guide by Julia Hainer-Violand, M.A. offers five lessons for using the documentary Harvest of Empire to challenge negative stereotypes of Latino immigrants, raise awareness about the true origins of the Latino presence in the U.S., focus attention on the contributions of Latino immigrants to our society., expose the harsh language being used to describe Latinos in the media, and develop a deeper understanding for the real life impact of U.S. foreign policy. 


Personal Creed

Middle School and High School

In this lesson by Justin Sybenga, students use the lens of Claribel Alegria’s poem “Personal Creed” to understand how the civil war in El Salvador (1980-1992) shaped the experience and perspective of this accomplished poet and an entire generation of Salvadorans.


Poetry Fires the Revolution

High School

In this series of three lessons, students will gain background knowledge on life in Central America during a volatile period of war and unrest in order to understand the risks writers, artists, and poets took.


Geography is History: Locate the Countries of Central America


This interactive map lesson provides students with clues based on the history and geography of Central America so that they can find and remember the location of each country.


Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale

Elementary AND Middle SCHOOL

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh is one of the best books we’ve seen for children on the experience families forced to migrate to the U.S. to survive. In a child-friendly format, the story addresses the push factors, the hardships caused by family separation, the dangerous journey through Mexico, and crossing the border. The Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP), on behalf of the Américas Award, produced an extensive teaching guide to accompany the book. Written by Katrina Dillon in 2015.


Rediscovering America

Elementary, Middle and High School

Rediscovering America/Redescubriendo América is a bilingual collection of short stories, essays, poetry, folktales, and songs from Latin America and the Caribbean for K-12 on conquest and resistance. 


When We Were Young There Was a War

Elementary, Middle and High School

This interactive website enlightens and engages students as they learn about the armed conflicts and their aftermaths in El Salvador and Guatemala through the poignant personal stories of Central American adults revisiting their wartime childhoods. It is not a lesson, however we include it here to draw your attention to this highly engaging and invaluable resource by Pat Goudvis.


Leaving Home: Socratic Dialogue with Art

elementary and middle school

Students are introduced to noted Guatemalan artist Paula Nicho Cumez and explore the emotions of leaving home through a Socratic dialogue about a painting. This short teaching activity by Lynda Tredway can be adapted to various ages.