A few weeks ago we had a wonderful professional development workshop on the Mexican Revolution for which we created “Viva la Revolución: An Educator’s Guide to the Mexican Revolution.” This was such a fun and creative project, and I’m really excited about the materials that we put together. We’re still adding some things and making changes, but I wanted to share some of the activities here on the blog so you all can get an taste of what the completed guide will be like. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we have! You can also access our entire guide here, but it will be changing some over the next month or so, be sure to check back later for the final version.
Today, I wanted to share one of my favorite activities–The Scavenger Hunt. It got rave reviews from our teachers at the workshop and we absolutely loved creating it. It’s also a great activity to do at the beginning of a unit on the Mexican Revolution because it doesn’t require much background knowledge on the Revolution, and it introduces students to the important players in an interactive way. This activity is inspired by and adapted from Rethinking School’s “The U.S.-Mexico War Tea Party” found in The Line Between Us (Wisconsin: Rethinking Schools, 2006).
Spanning more than ten years, the Mexican Revolution is a complex historical event that involved numerous individuals. The scavenger hunt activity will introduce students to many of these individuals, and the various motivations of those individuals participating in or resisting the Revolution. Each student will take on the role of one individual involved in the Mexican Revolution. Then, using the provided questionnaire hand-out, students will move around the room interviewing classmates in order to appropriately answer all of the questions on the hand-out. Click here for a pdf the complete activity. I’ve shared images of some of the pages from the activity, which are included in the pdf.
- Scavenger hunt roles, cut up (one for each student in the class)
- Blank nametags (enough for every student in the class)
- Copies of “The Mexican Revolution Scavenger Hunt” hand-out for every student
- Explain to students that they are going to do an activity about the Mexican Revolution. Distribute one nametag and one scavenger hunt role to each student in the class. There are only 16, so depending upon the number of students in the class, some students will be assigned the same historical character.
- Have students fill out their nametags using the name of the individual they are assigned. Tell students that in this activity you would like each of them to attempt to become these people from history. Ask students to read their roles several times and to memorize as much of the information as possible. Encourage them to underline key points.
- Distribute a copy of “The Mexican Revolution Scavenger Hunt” hand-out to each student. Explain their assignment: Students should circulate through the classroom, meeting other individuals from the Mexican Revolution. They should use the questions on the sheet as a guide to talk with others about the war and complete the questions as fully as possible. They must use a different individual to answer each of the 11 questions. Tell them that it’s not a race; the aim is for students to spend time hearing each other’s stories, not just hurriedly scribbling down answers to the different questions. It may be helpful to ask for a student volunteer to demonstrate with the teacher an encounter between two of the individuals, so that the rest of the class can sense the kind of interaction that is expected
- Afterwards ask students to share some of their finding with the whole class. This needn’t be exhaustive, as students will learn a lot more about these issues throughout the rest of the unit.
Possible Questions for classroom reflection on the activity:
- What surprised you about this activity?
- Who found someone with an opinion very different from your character’s opinion?
- What were some of the different opinions you encountered on why individuals were fighting in the Revolution?
- What were the results of the Revolution?
- What questions does this activity leave you with?