Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies | College of Liberal Arts
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Through Hemispheres and individually, LLILAS Benson provides a wide range of curriculum materials to support the inclusion of quality content on Latin America and Latinos/as in K-12 classrooms. Many of these materials have been supported through the U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grant.

Hemispheres Global Curriculum Units

Hemispheres curriculum units allow for comparative study of global trends and issues across regions in middle and high school social studies classrooms. Units are modular and include background information, primary source readings, maps, worksheets, and activities. For a full list and description of our curriculum units, please visit the Hemispheres website.

Curriculum for Dual-Language Classrooms

Since 2015, LLILAS Benson has selected educators to create bilingual Latin American studies curriculum units through an annual competitive application process supported by the Department of Education’s Title VI National Resource Center grant. Materials are ready to use in Spanish/English dual-language classrooms, and in English classrooms.

Interested in piloting one of these units in your classroom? Please contact Caroline Garriott to learn about funding opportunities and requirements for piloting curriculum.

México y las bellas artes: Books by Duncan Tonatiuh

3rd through 5rd Grade Social Studies and Language Arts
Author/illustrator: Duncan Tonatiuh, books on Diego Rivera, Posada, Frida Kahlo, and Amalia Hernández and the Ballet Folklórico de México

In this unit, elementary students will examine the works of four Mexican artists through picture books over the course of 2 to 4 weeks. Students will understand the characteristics common in biographies, the contributions of Mexican artists, and how artists highlight Mexican culture and traditions in their art.  While this unit is designed for 3rd through 5th graders, 1st and 2nd graders could certainly access this material with some modifications.

Una América Oculta / A Hidden America: Scientific and Technological Contributions of South American Pre-Hispanic Societies to Modern Life  (2015)

6th Grade Social Studies and English Language Arts
Authors: Andrew Hurie and Carolina Zúñiga-Solarte

In this unit, students explore the scientific and technological knowledge developed by pre-Hispanic cultures in South America, focusing on agricultural, botanical, and engineering knowledge created by the Incas and indigenous groups from the Amazon. The unit has been aligned to the TEKS and Common Core standards at the sixth grade level and is broken up into three one-week modules. However, we encourage teachers to adapt the content according to their specific grade level and classroom context.

Literary Curriculum Guide: Margarito’s Forest/El Bosque de Don Margarito, by Andy Carter

 3rd Grade English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Math
Guide author: Mohit Mehta

This dual-language curriculum unit is based on Andy Carter’s book Margarito’s Forest, which tells the story of Esteban, a young Maya boy in the village of Saq’ja, who learns from his village elders the importance of planting and reforestation according to ancestral knowledge in the face of commercial pressures to cut down trees. The unit includes five lessons corresponding to third grade TEKS for English Language Arts and extension activities for Math, Social Studies, and Art. Through understanding the story told in Margarito’s Forest and examining its images, students learn about the Mayan people, Guatemala and its civil war, and the role each of us can play in protecting the environment. Students delve deeper into understanding the rates and effects of deforestation through math problems, recreate scenes from the book using collage, and even learn some K’iche’, the Mayan language spoken in the Saq’ja.

Literary Curriculum Guide: Migrant/Migrante, by José Manuel Mateo

4th Grade English Language Arts and Social Studies
Guide author: Andrew Schleisman

This curriculum guide is designed to accompany the book Migrant by José Manuel Mateo and illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro. Migrant, laid out in one long illustration resembling a codex, tells the story of a boy’s journey to the United States with his family and the dangers and hardships they face crossing the border. The unit looks at the United States as a nation of immigrants, connects modern-day immigration stories with ones in the past, and examines why so many people choose to migrate despite the many hardships it entails. Students learn about symbols and art representations, participate in gallery walks and group work, and create storyboards and codices of their own families’ journeys.

Exploring the Zapatista Movement and Social Justice

6th Grade Social Studies and English Language Arts
Author: Stacey Saatoff

In this two-week unit, students examine issues of social justice and Indigenous rights and how the Zapatista Movement in Chiapas, Mexico, has positively transformed communities. The unit allows students to explore the Zapatista Movement and make connections to the larger world. The unit uses digital media, art, and children’s books, written by Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos, to provide context and explore Zapatista ideology, culture, and thought.

Children’s Literature Workshop Series Curriculum

As part of our Children’s Literature Workshop Series, teachers share curriculum materials from their own classes or create curriculum as part of the workshop. Please visit the Past Workshops section of our Children’s Literature Workshop Series page.

Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad and Group Projects Abroad Programs

From 2004 to 2012, LLILAS worked with the Fulbright-Hays educator programs in the U.S. Department of Education to bring teachers abroad for short-term summer study programs. As part of these programs, teachers created country-specific curriculum units that are complete and ready to use in K-16 classrooms. In addition to the two curriculum units highlighted below, post-seminar curriculum projects from seminars and/or group projects associated with LLILAS are available for download on the Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC).

Brazil Our Cousin
K-5 Social Studies

This unit explores our cousin, Brazil. Although we have different parents (England and Portugal) that shaped our development for good or bad, our grandparent, Europe, continues to influence the lives of its grandchildren. From Columbus to coffee, students will learn about Brazilian history, culture, and communities.

Complicating Conquest
High School World History

Traditionally, the conquest of the Americas has been presented to students from a Eurocentric point of view. The Europeans arrive, demolish indigenous civilizations, and triumphantly (re)build the new world. This unit seeks to challenge this portrayal of conquest and present students with a new narrative. Through analysis of written and visual primary sources, students will reconstruct their understanding of the interactions between the colonizing Spanish and the indigenous Aztec, Maya, and Inca. Students will emerge from this unit with an understanding of the indigenous cultural legacy in the foundations of the New World.

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High School Social Studies

These curriculum units have been prepared for use in high school social studies classrooms. Click on a link to view and download the curriculum unit.

Indigenous History of the Americas (Mesoamerica and the Caribbean)
Grades 9–12 Social Studies

In this lesson, students will understand Indigenous history of the Americas from the experiences and perspectives of Indigenous people during and after the Columbian Exchange. There is a heavy focus on the Caribbean and Mesoamerica to exemplify different aspects of the Indigenous experience.

Mexico '68
Grades 9–12 Social Studies

The year 1986 was marked by social and political upheaval, including assassinations, riots, military actions, and the mobilization of students in many countries, including Mexico. This lesson explores the student protests in Mexico that culminated with an event at la Plaza de las Tres Culturas known as the Tlatelolco Massacre, just a few short weeks before the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

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Additional Resources

15 Minute History — A podcast series devoted to short, accessible discussions of important topics in world history and U.S. history drawn directly from the TEKS, and featuring supplemental resources and primary documents for each episode. The discussions are conducted by the award-winning faculty and graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin as part of a collaboration between Hemispheres and Not Even Past, a website produced by the UT Department of History that contains articles on a wide variety of historical issues. 

Facing History and Ourselves — A non-profit teacher professional development organization that “examin[es] racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.” The website provides excellent curriculum on resistance in Chile during Pinochet’s dictatorship as well as educator resources on immigration and Latino/a history.

Vamos a Leer — This blog, created and managed by the University of New Mexico’s Latin American and Iberian Institute, provides resources to educators, including lesson plans, author and book recommendations, and related materials about Latina/o and Latin American children and young adult literature.

Consortium of Latin American Stuides Programs (CLASP) — Curriculum and other resources created by Latin American Studies programs across the country.

Cuauhtli Academy — Saturday academy for local Austin fourth graders to engage in cultural learning.

COERLL — Center for Open Education Resources and Language Learning

Curriculo Nacional Base Guatemela — A resource for several digital copies of short stories in Spanish, K'iche', and Mam.

LLILAS Benson Curriculum — Latin American, US Latinx, and African Diaspora teaching and learning resources.

Texas Language Center — Workshops and resources that support and enhance the teaching of languages.

68 VOCES / 68 HEARTS — Discover animated stories narrated in 68 Indigenous languages of Mexico.