NicaraguaQuest: Teacher's Guide


Photograph by Claudia von Vacano
Mexican Alfonso Villanueva, with Genaro Lugo, Orlando Sobalvarro ande Xavier Orozco
Figure with raised fist flanked by rifles
About 1980, 3x10m

Overview | Goals | Activities | Introduction | Background | Individual Roles | Group Process | Report Submission
Feedback | Conclusion | Resources | Glossary

Note:   Below is the Teacher's Guide to the Nicaragua Quest. Specific instructions for students are suggested throughout.
You may also want to consider using the set of instructions written for students.
Overview
back to top
  Nicaragua Quest is a project-based learning experience designed to engage students in the politics, history, and culture of Nicaragua through role-playing, and discussion.

The final product of the Quest is a group report reflecting the group answer to the question, "Form an opinion of the Nicaraguan Sandinista Revolution.
"

The activity is designed for high schools students of
  • Social Studies
  • Latin American History
  • U.S. History
  • Foreign Relations
  • Government
  • Political Science
  • World History
  • Spanish Language Arts
Learning Goals
back to top
 

By completing this WebQuest your students should achieve the following learning goals:

Skill-based goals:

  • develop an increased sensitivity and empathy towards others through taking on different viewpoints
  • understand connections between the history, politics, and culture of Nicaragua
  • gain a greater understanding of the history, politics, and culture of Nicaragua

Activity goals:

  • use the power of the Internet for advanced exploration of Nicaragua.
  • learn information about six aspects of Nicaraguan culture.
  • formulate and support an argument from one of the six perspectives.
  • work with your teammates to problem-solve a combined action plan.
  • question the nature of international relations in our more interdependent world.
Activities
back to top
  Activity Summary
Nicaragua Quest is a WebQuest
. Students form teams to answer the question:
Form an opinion of the Nicaraguan Sandinista Revolution.
After teams are formed, each member takes on one of the roles listed in the Quest(ion). Each member first uses the Internet to find more information that will help members understand their roles. Then, the teams will work together to create a group report for the community (including the classmates and the World Wide Web community). This report presents will present the team's combined answer to the Quest(ion).

|
What is a WebQuest?
A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the Internet. The learners use this information to answer a question or complete a task.

What is different about this WebQuest?
  • Because of the scarcity of information on Nicaragua available on the web, the designers of this WebQuest also wrote and published many of its accompanying resources.
  • Some of the roles in this WebQuest are based on real people and their experiences as told through their testimonies in interviews, letters, and diary excerpts.


    Resources
    About WebQuests by Bernie Dodge of San Diego State University
    WebQuests: A Strategy for Scaffolding Higher Level Learning
    Using WebQuests Strategies for your Classroom

    The WebQuest Page The major resource for using, creating, and learning about WebQuests and the research behind them

Background
back to top
 

The WebQuest is broken into steps

Step Description
1 Introduction The introduction provides an opportunity for students to get to know the art and culture of Nicaragua. It sets the stage for the activity and provides some background information by offering the team a glimpse of the country before getting deep into its history and politics.
2 Background This part helps the team get a better understanding of Nicaraguan history and current events (and each other). Students start here to learn more about Nicaraguan facts, history, and current events.
3 Role-playing Students take on different roles for their next level of research. Team members then open the dossiers prepared for their roles.
4 Group Process Students then compare their perspectives and attempt to agree upon an answer to the question by writing a group report answering the question-
Form an opinion of the Nicaraguan Sandinista Revolution
5 Report Submission Students may want to share their report with others, on-line or in print in a format of their choice.

Introduction
back to top
  Description
The introduction provides an opportunity for students to get to know the art and culture of Nicaragua. It sets the stage for the activity and provides some background information by offering the team a glimpse of the country before getting deep into its history and politics.

Rationale
This is a free exploration area encouraging students to follow their own interests and increase their motivation in learning about Nicaragua on many levels. By starting here, students can appreciate the beauty of the country and its culture (often overlooked in studies of Nicaragua) before jumping into its political problems.

Resources
Introduction Activity (instructions for students within the activity)

Landscape of Nicaragua
Esteli, Leon, and Ocatal.
Lake Managua.

Arts of Nicaragua
Outdoor public art
Guenguense theater

Nicaraguan music

Background
back to top
  Description
This part helps the team get a better understanding of Nicaraguan history and current events (and each other). Students start here to learn more about Nicaraguan facts, history, and current events.


Rationale
This area has two purposes. It prepares the learners for what is coming and it raises their interest in the subject. By having the whole class participate as a group, it provides a common starting point for each student to start his/her understanding and inquiry into the subject.

Resources
Background Activity (instructions for students within the activity)

Nicaraguan Facts:
Travel Information
Nicaragua Facts:
World Fact Book

Nicaraguan History:
Political History
Political History Dialogue
Brief History

Current News:
NicaNews
La Prensa
Nicaraguan News

Role-playing
back to top
  Description
Students take on different roles for their next level of research. Team members then open the dossiers prepared for their roles.

Rationale
Role-playing is a motivational technique for students to explore different perspectives to answering questions. When students take on roles they are encouraged to learn how others see the world and as a result, develop a greater level of empathy/sensitivity.

Resources

Dossiers for each role. These contain guided instructions that should help members gain a clear understanding of the issues involved in their roles and help them understand the perspective of that role.

Human Rights Activist Nicaraguan Contra
Art Historian International worker
US Senator Nicaraguan teacher

Using Primary Source Materials A Guide for Students
How to View a Photograph A Guide for Students

Group Process
back to top
 

Description
Students then compare their perspectives and attempt to agree upon an answer to the question by writing a group report answering the question-
Form an opinion of the Nicaraguan Sandinista Revolution

This can take multiple forms, as a paper, a web page, a newspaper, etc.

Rationale
The group report is a defined goal students can work towards that will lead to a deeper understanding. Reaching deep understanding requires that students understand the material and concepts well enough to explain them, both to each other in their discussions and to others through the report. The group report process is designed also to develop social structures that promote participation and a senses of agency. By being part of a team working on the project students may be more motivated and feel more invested in their work.

Resources
Group Report Instructions for Students
Building Consensus A Guide for Students
Persuasive Arguments A Guide for Students

 

Report Submission
back to top
 

Description
Students may want to share their report with others, on-line or in print in a format of their choice.

Rationale
By publishing the group project serves three purposes.

  • It focuses the learners on an authentic task.
  • It gives them a receptive, sympathetic audience to create for.
  • It opens up the possibility of getting feedback from that distant audience if you include a return e-mail address on the Web material.

Resources
Report Submission with Expressions of Central America

 
Evaluation/
Feedback
back to top
  The methods below suggested how the goals mentioned earlier can be assessed. The forms of assessment can be used to assess learning of the content as well as the affective learning goal of increasing cultural understanding.

Students' Increased Understanding of Content
Suggested Forms of Assessment
    Student Self-Assessment
  • Through having to explain their perspective to another, students self-assess their own understanding.

    Student Peer-Assessment
  • Students assess each other's understanding of their perspectives through their discussions while role-playing

    Teacher Assessment
  • Teachers may use this suggested rubric to assess the group project.
    Group Project Rubric (specifically designed for this project)
  • Teachers may use this suggested rubric to assess student collaboration
    Student Collaboration Rubric
  • You may also ask your students to participate in creating a rubric.
    How to create a rubric WITH your students. Read here about empowering students through negotiable contracting to draft rubrics for authentic assessment

    Why rubrics?
    Read here about why rubrics are used.


    Students' Increased Cultural Sensitivity
  • To evaluate how students are increasing their cultural understanding or awareness through this activity, pay close attention to the language students use in communicating with each other, in their presentations, and in their brochures. The best way to measure their increased sensitivity is through knowing your students and finding out what their feelings are before the activity begins. You may start by asking students what their perceptions are of Nicaragua at first and then follow through by asking students to write a letter to a Nicaraguan (muralist, teacher, etc.). Once our e-pals area is complete, there will be contacts in Central America for students to send their letters to bringing authenticity to the task of letter writing.
Conclusion
back to top
 

Thank you for taking part in Nicaragua Quest.
The creators hope that the team has a better understanding of the complex politics involved in international relations. Through role playing we hope that the team gained an understanding of different perspectives and how they shape the lens through which we view politics.

Resources
back to top
 
Resources can be found throughout the site. Use the site map below to identify specific resources.
Nicaragua Quest Site Map

Introduction Background

Landscape of Nicaragua
Esteli, Leon, and Ocatal.
Lake Managua.

Arts of Nicaragua
Outdoor public art
Guenguense theater

Nicaraguan music
.

Background Activity
Team Instructions

Nicaraguan Facts:

Travel Information
Nicaragua Facts:
World Fact Book

Nicaraguan History:
Political History
Political History Dialogue
Brief History

Current News:
NicaNews
La Prensa
Nicaraguan News
Individual Roles Group Report

American Roles
Human Rights Activist
Art Historian
US Senator


Nicaraguan Roles
Nicaraguan Contra International worker
Nicaraguan teacher

Group Report Team Instructions
Glossary
back to top
 
   
Contra
anti- Sandinista guerrillas funded by the US government
   
Dossier
a collection of papers containing detailed information about a particular person or subject (usually a person's record)
FSLN Sandinista National Liberation Front (in Spanish, Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional)

Solidarity
Worker

people working together for the benefit of all the people, and not just for one person in particular
Sandinista
a Nicaraguan guerrilla group that overthrew Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979; named for CÈsar Augusto Sandino, a hero of Nicaraguan resistance to U.S. military occupation (1927-33)