World Cultures Unit 3 and Sustained Inquiry

In a previous post I wrote about the challenge of finding resources for planning instruction in the World Cultures course and I want to continue that discussion.  Again, it is joyous when a search for a lesson yields a perfectly aligned, age appropriate, engaging lesson yet this happens – RARELY! It doesn’t mean we have to stop looking for resources it just means that we have to hone our skills for adapting what we do find.

To support instructional planning for the unit on Latin America in the World Cultures course, I searched for resources for what I found as challenging TEKS in this unit – 6.16A,B,C.  Voila, I found a wonderful lesson from Natalie Arsenault who used to work at the Teresa Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT Austin. But I still needed to adapt the lesson. This time I wanted to model how to provide students with “sustained investigation” during a lesson.

What would that look like in terms of lesson design? The history labs process is a great model for designing a lesson that has students sustained in an investigation/inquiry for long enough to gain more depth of understanding.  Here is that lesson progression:

  • Initiate the Investigation – the engagement activity to start the lesson
  • Build Background Knowledge – provide or review just enough to get students started, be cautious not to reveal all the content that the investigation/ inquiry will expose
  • Conduct the Investigation/Inquiry – provide sources as the focus of the investigation/ inquiry along with a guiding activity
  • Report Conclusions – an opportunity to check for understanding of what students learned during the investigation/ inquiry
  • Debrief – an opportunity to extend the content with direct teaching
  • Assessment – TEKS Resource System districts, the Performance Assessment may suffice

Be sure to utilize a compelling question to drive the investigation/inquiry.

In this lesson it is:  How do various traditions and celebrations in Latin America reflect its history and diversity?

Take a look at this adaptation of Natalie’s lesson for a model of this process.

Cultural Expressions in Latin America

After working with the lesson, I realized that I needed to revise the Instructional Focus Document and the Learning Goals planning tool. Those should be updated in the TEKS Resource System. While I wanted a lesson that incorporated more about art and architecture in Latin America I found it challenging to find the resources I needed for that. With this lesson as a basis, in future years those types of images could be added to the lesson.

Happy planning for the Latin America unit in World Cultures and here are some other resources that may be useful in planning this unit.

World Cultures Resource Collection Unit 3 – A Legacy Of Colonialism: Latin America 

Photo by: Galyna Andrushko

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