Stanford University’s creative learning resource, Expressions of Central America, is a fantastic and organized way for k-12 teachers of all ages and disciplines to find a way of delving into the topic of Central American culture, history and society via art and interactive multimedia. By choosing a country’s link at the top of the home page, you can enter into a collection of teacher’s resources and student activities that specialize in the topics of that country. Here today, we will look at the Expressions of Nicaragua page.
Nicaragua is an important nation geopolitically, not only because of its robust collection of natural resources, but also its containing coastline on both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Along with Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Guatemala, Nicaragua has been the subject of intended plans to construct a canal since long before the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914 (the Central American Map Puzzle is a wonderful student activity to display this important geographical and commercial feature of the Central American Isthmus). However, because of the giant Lake Nicaragua, the canal route through this nation is particularly enticing, and just recently has reappeared in national news as a Chinese company begins planning a new canal project, which I wrote about in on the Latin American Data Base’s (LADB) blog last month
Entering into the Teacher’s Corner you will see the student activity entitled Mural-Venture. Here, you will find a well-organized teaching resource including lesson plans, group activities, and historical overview. Once reviewed, you can lead your students to the actual activity through the Student Inter-Activities under the link for The Mural-Venture Student Activity. Here, students can take an interactive, multimedia tour. Students will not only learn about important aspects of what it means to grow up in Nicaragua, but they will also be able to see how their artistic styles of murals and graffiti art compare to those we see in our own American cities and towns. They will see the political and social nature of these murals and gain an understanding of how connected Nicaraguan culture, politics and history is to our own, and its connection to the global network of trade that impacts us all.
I hope you and your students enjoy this vibrant and well-organized website. It is an amazing resource full of information catered to learning culture through art. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!
p.s. If you check out the LADB blog and are interested in learning more about this type of information, know that all K-12 teachers can register to receive free access to the full LADB digest and archive!)
– Jake Sandler
Image: “Sandanista Mural” by Wikimedia Commons user Jack Child