History and Literary Arts

K-12 Educational Curriculum for
Mundos de Mestizaje

Voces students engaging with the “Mundos de Mestizaje” fresco

About the Curriculum

The History and Literary Arts Program at the National Hispanic Cultural Center has created a K-12 Social Studies and Language Arts educational curriculum centered on Mundos de Mestizaje, the monumental buon fresco inside the torreón on the NHCC campus.  

Mundos de Mestizaje, by New Mexico master-artist Frederico Vigil, is a buon fresco that depicts thousands of years of Hispanic identity, history, and culture in the broadest sense, from Europe to Mesoamerica to the American Southwest. At 4,000 square feet, it is the largest, concave fresco in North America.

By engaging with the fresco, children and young adults will explore history (including issues of identity, culture, and trans-cultural exchange), geography, civics, government, and economics through a wide range of looking, discussing, reading, and writing lesson plans and activities. 

Overall, the goal of this curriculum is to cultivate a deeper and more complex understanding of Hispanic/Chicanx/Latinx history and identity as well as other ethnic identities that are the result of thousands of years of cultural cross-pollination. At the NHCC we believe that such an understanding encourages courageous and compassionate civic dialogue and mutual respect.

Below you will find curricular goals and standards as well as links to related lesson plans and activities. This is an evolving resource for students, educators and parents, and will grow with time.  

We also refer educators and parents to The Human Body as Art, an educational resource that addresses nude figures in the fresco.

Also extremely important is the classroom atmosphere in which these lessons and activities take place. Because Mundos de Mestizaje often generates spirited discussion in the classroom, we encourage educators to undertake the assignments by creating:

  • a culture of listening
  • a culture of conversation
  • a culture of friendly disagreement

Educators interested in how to cultivate this kind of classroom are encouraged to read an excerpt from a report on visual thinking by Harvard Project Zero.

If you have questions or comments about this curriculum, please contact us at HLA.Admin@state.nm.us.

We would like to thank the following for over a year of dedicated work in creating this curriculum: Valerie Martínez, Cassandra Osterloh, Anna Uremovich (History and Literary Arts staff), Rosalie Esquivel, Vanessa Justice, Allison Johnson, Sutherland Jaramillo, Naomi Brandt (AmeriCorps Members), Angela Durham, Diana Aranda, Juliette Beck, Carolyn McSherry, Beatriz Valencia, Brent Thomas, and Nancy Pauly (Teachers Advisory Group). There are many others who have contributed to this effort, too many to name here; we are grateful for all. Thanks also to the NHCC Foundation, the Consulate of Mexico in Albuquerque, and Casa Madero for generating financial support for this project. Our deepest gratitude goes to Frederico Vigil for his continuous and generous guidance and encouragement. Thank you for creating a magnificent work of art that allows for lifelong learning, enrichment, and wonder.


CURRICULAR GOALS AND STANDARDS

Lesson Plans

ALL EDUCATIONAL LESSONS/ACTIVITIES SHOULD BEGIN WITH A VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE FRESCO. Lessons and activities depend on a student’s experience of the fresco as a whole, both at the beginning and periodically throughout their educational experience. Studying individual images is most effective as a complement.

Here is a virtual tour guide that enables you to introduce the fresco to students. Below is a comprehensive image guide to help you navigate teaching the fresco. To become acquainted with the guide, start by looking at the image list.

Of course, a visit to the fresco on the campus of the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) is the best way for educators and students to experience “Mundos de Mestizaje.” However, the COVID-19 pandemic and construction near the torreón (which houses the fresco) has forced the closure of the NHCC campus. The virtual tour provides access during this closure and also enables those who live anywhere to see and learn from this magnificent work of art.

We invite educators to provide feedback on the lesson plans in this curriculum after using them in the classroom. Use this form to tell us about your experience.


K-5: SOCIAL STUDIES AND LANGUAGE ARTS

TOPIC/STRAND: History

By looking at the fresco, students will identify important people and events in order to discuss and analyze relationships, themes, ideas, beliefs, and turning points in New Mexico, U.S. and world history in order to understand the complexity of the human experience.

Lesson/Activity H.1 (English): Modes of Transportation: Boats, Wagons, and Trains

TOPIC/STRAND: Geography

By looking at the fresco, students will identify cities, states, countries, and continents, and learn where people live, the way they live, and how societies interact with one another and their environments.

Lesson/Activity G.1 (English): Where did Foods Originate?
Lesson/Activity G.2 (English): Mapping “Place”
Plan de Lección G.2 (Español): Haciendo un mapa de “lugar”

TOPIC/STRAND: Civics and Government

By looking at the fresco, students will look for references to U.S, New Mexico and tribal documents and learn about how governments function at local, state, tribal, and national levels and the ideals, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship.

Lesson/Activity C.1 (English): Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez: First American-Born Hispanic U.S. Senator
Plan de Lección C.1 (Español): Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez: El primer senador hispano-americano

TOPIC/STRAND:  Economics

By looking at the fresco, students will look for references to basic economic principles and use economic reasoning skills to analyze the impact of economic systems.

Lesson/Activity E.1 (English): Animal Exchange
Plan de Lección E.1 (Español): El intercambio de los animales

TOPIC/STRAND: Reading

  1. By looking at the fresco, students will identify words and phrases and explore their technical, connotative, and figurative meanings and, if relevant, the texts they belong to.

Lesson/Activity R.1 (English): Language “profiles:” a timeline of language
Plan de Lección R.1 (Español): Los perfiles de idiomas: la línea de tiempo

  1. By looking at the fresco, students will discuss how images can be “read” like text and the ways in which images in art related to the written word.

Lesson plans coming soon!

TOPIC/STRAND: Writing

  1. Students will write arguments to support an analysis of substantive topics suggested by the fresco, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Lesson/Activity W.1 (English): Writing an Argument: What is Culture?
Plan de Lección W.1 (Español): Escribiendo un argumento: ¿qué es la cultura?

  1. Students will write informative/explanatory texts about the fresco to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Lesson plans coming soon!

  1. Students will gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources to support their arguments and informative/explanatory texts about the fresco, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

Lesson plans coming soon!

  1. Students will write narratives and/or poetry to develop real or imagined experiences or events inspired by the fresco using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

Lesson/Activity W.4 (English): Cultivating Curiosity: Exploring “Mundos de Mestizaje” Imagery
Plan de Lección W.4 (Español): Cultivando la curiosidad: explorando las imágenes de “Mundos de Mestizaje”
Lesson/Activity W.4 (English): Fresco Imagery and Haiku
Plan de Lección W.4 (Español): Las imágenes del fresco y Haiku

  1. Students will produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. Students will also develop and strengthen writing, as needed, by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Lesson/Activity W.5 (English): Mythology in Mundos de Mestizaje
Plan de Lección W.5 (Español): Los mitos en Mundos de Mestizaje
Lesson/Activity W.5a (English): Animals, Plants and Mythology
Plan de Lección W.5a (Español): Los animales, las plantas y los mitos

  1. Students will be encouraged to use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Lesson plans coming soon!

  1. Students will conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Lesson plans coming soon!

  1. Students will undertake fresco-related writing projects routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. 

Lesson plans coming soon!


6-12: SOCIAL STUDIES AND LANGUAGE ARTS

TOPIC/STRAND: History

By looking at the fresco, students will identify important people and events in order to discuss and analyze relationships, themes, ideas, beliefs, and turning points in New Mexico, U.S. and world history in order to understand the complexity of the human experience.

Lesson/Activity 2H.1 (English): Timeline: Developing a Chronology of New Mexico History
Plan de Lección 2H.1 (Español): Una línea de tiempo: desarrollar una cronología de la historia de Nuevo México
Lesson/Activity 2H.2 (English): Making Inferences and Developing Empathy: Impact of Camino Real, Pueblo Revolt, and the Missionaries on the People of New Mexico
Plan de Lección 2H.2 (Español): Hacer conclusiones y desarrollar la empatía: el impacto del Camino Real, la Rebelión de Popé y los misioneros en los nuevomexicanos
Lesson/Activity 2H.3 (English): Women of the Fresco: Writing Women’s Lives
Plan de Lección 2H.3 (Español): Las mujeres del fresco: Escribir las vidas de las mujeres

TOPIC/STRAND: Geography

By looking at the fresco, students will identify cities, states, countries, and continents, and learn where people live, the way they live, and how societies interact with one another and their environments.

Lesson/Activity 2G.2 (English): New Mexico’s Place in the World
Plan de Lección 2G.2 (Español): El lugar de Nuevo México en el mundo

TOPIC/STRAND: Civics and Government

By looking at the fresco, students will look for references to U.S, New Mexico and tribal documents and learn about how governments function at local, state, tribal, and national levels and the ideals, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship.

Lesson plans coming soon!

TOPIC/STRAND:  Economics

By looking at the fresco, students will look for references to basic economic principles and use economic reasoning skills to analyze the impact of economic systems.

Lesson plans coming soon!

TOPIC/STRAND: Reading

  1. Students will identify text in the fresco and read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it.

Lesson/Activity 2R.1 (English): Language “profiles:” a timeline of language
Plan de Lección 2R.1 (Español): Los perfiles de idiomas: la línea de tiempo

  1. Students will interpret words and phrases in the fresco, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyzing how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Lesson/Activity 2R.2 (English): Found Poetry: Exploring Words and Phrases in the Fresco
Plan de Lección 2R.2 (Español): La poesía encontrada: explorar las palabras y las frases en el fresco

  1. By looking at the fresco, students will discuss how images can be “read” like text and the ways in which images in art related to the written word.

Lesson plans coming soon!

  1. Students will compare and contrast texts in the fresco that address similar themes or topics in order to discuss complex relationships between ideas, concepts, beliefs and ideals. 

Lesson/Activity 2R.4 (English): Language in New Mexico: Loss and Preservation
Plan de Lección 2R.4 (Español): Idiomas en Nuevo México: pérdida y preservación

TOPIC/STRAND: Writing

  1. Students will write arguments inspired by the fresco to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Lesson plans coming soon!

  1. Students will write informative/explanatory texts inspired by the fresco to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Lesson plans coming soon!

  1. Students will draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research in their arguments or informative/explanatory texts. They will also gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

Lesson/Activity 2W.3 (English): La Malinche, traitor or heroine?
Plan de Lección 2W.3 (Español): La Malinche, ¿traidora o heroína?

  1. Students will write narratives inspired by the fresco to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. 

Lesson/Activity 2W.4: Identity Mapping
Lesson/Activity 2W.4a (English): Perspective (1) and Ekphrasis
Plan de Lección 2W.4a (Español): La perspectiva (1) y la écfrasis
Lesson/Activity 2W.4b (English): Perspective (2) and Dialogue
Plan de Lección 2W.4b (Español): La perspectiva (2) y el diálogo
Lesson/Activity 2W.4c (English): Women of the Fresco: Writing Women’s Lives
Plan de Lección 2W.4c (Español): Las mujeres del fresco: Escribir las vidas de las mujeres

  1. Students will produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. They will develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Lesson plans coming soon!

  1. Students will be encouraged to use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Lesson plans coming soon!

  1. Students will conduct short as well as more sustained research projects about the fresco based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Lesson/Activity 2W.7 (English): Values: Aspirations and Personifications
Plan de Lección 2W.7 (Español): Los valores: las aspiraciones y las personificaciones

  1. Students will undertake fresco-related writing projects routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Lesson/Activity 2W.8 (English): A Study of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Community and Creative Perspectives
Plan de Lección 2W.8s (Español): Un estudio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe: Perspectivas comunitarias y creativas