September 15th marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. This annual event is an opportunity celebrate the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made to our country while also educating ourselves on the diversity of Hispanic cultures. And trust me, there’s a lot to learn. For instance, did you know that the reason Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated between September 15th and October 15th is because most Hispanic countries celebrate their independence between these dates? Did you know that Brazil technically isn’t part of Hispanic Heritage Month because Brazilians speak Portuguese?

These fun facts are just the beginning. Underneath the celebration is a wellspring of history, culture, and inspiring individuals who helped change our world for the better. Hispanic Heritage Month is a wonderful opportunity for educators to teach their students about our world while also building up their understanding of STEM. Best of all, it can teach them about their classmates and neighbors, and reveal just how extraordinary this human family of ours truly is. So, if you find yourself needing a little help getting the celebration started, here are a few ways your classroom can recognize Hispanic Heritage Month:

  • Daily Calendar Activities: Use this handy calendar to learn more about the extraordinary people behind Hispanic Heritage Month. Every day, you can check in with this calendar to find a new resource to teach your students a little bit about Hispanic Heritage. With a wide variety of information about the fascinating cultures, histories, and customs of the Spanish-speaking world, this resource will help your students develop an appreciation for people and countries around the world.
  • Perform a Read-Aloud: Representation is important, and books are a great way to introduce students to Hispanic cultures while also strengthening their reading and comprehension skills. Teach your class about Hispanic Americans who have made a difference with Portraits of Hispanic Heroes. Have a little dance party while learning about Tito Puente, the Mambo King, or simply use a nice story about a young girl and her Abuela to teach students a little Spanish language.
  • Get Some EXTRA History: Simón Bolívar is considered a national hero in many South American countries, but few in the United States even know his name. Take this opportunity to dive into the history of this celebrated (yet complicated) Hispanic hero. The YouTube Channel Extra Credits has an excellent series of videos about his life. Watch these videos to learn about the many exploits of Simón Bolívar. Then, have students break into small groups and reflect on the significance of his actions with their classmates. (Note: It might be helpful to watch the videos first to ensure they’re suitable for your grade level).
  • Scrambled STEMstory Quest: Hone your students’ thinking skills while teaching them about incredible Hispanic STEM pioneers with this multisensory Scrambled STEMstory Quest! Share the Adventure Launcher with your students and allow them to click on the door that interests them most. Each student or group of students will be prompted to create a copy of a captivating audio story that’s all scrambled up (must be logged into a Google account to create the copy). Students can listen to each piece of the story, then rearrange the slides so that the story makes sense. When they’re done, you can have them complete the Reflection Form, then show them the Unscrambled STEMstories to see if they got their orders correct.

If you found these resources helpful, be sure to check out the latest Blue Apple Timely Topic: Hispanic Heritage Month. This Timely Topic is free to download and comes with four 15-minute activities designed to spark student curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. No matter who you are or where you teach, studying Hispanic Heritage can help spark curiosity and expand your learners’ horizons. So, let’s not miss this chance to foster student growth and appreciate the amazing impact Hispanic Americans have made on our nation.

For more free educational resources, check out out these teacher-tested strategies from Blue Apple!