Latin America: Our Neighbors at Home and to the South

Newspaper Project

Essential Questions Adressed through this lesson:

Question #1-Why study Latin America?

Question #2-What are the main geographic features of Latin America and how do they affect people's lives?

Question #3 Who are the peoples of Latin America both past and present?

Students will create a comprehensive newspaper depicting the major themes covered during the study of Latin America. This project will be a culminating activity that encompasses writing, reading, social studies and technology. Students will work in pairs in order to simulate the collaborative nature of newspaper journalism.


Materials: Reference resources, computers, paper, pencils, newspapers, rubric, and art supplies.


  1. Give students five minutes to look through a newspaper provided by the teacher. Instruct them to look for key components of the paper as they browse its pages. They will be asked to share what they have observed with the whole class. Instruct the group take notes so as to remember the particular things they notice.
  2. When students have discussed and jotted down ideas to share with the class, have each group report on their observations and findings. Record the groups comments on chart paper. Review the general format of a newspaper. Then inform the class that they will be responsible for creating a newspaper based on their study of Latin America.
  3. Students will work in groups of two to publish a short newspaper focused on the essential questions of the Latin America study.
  4. Each newspaper will include:
    • One article for each of the three essential questions. (There will be a total of three articles.) Each article should have a title and should clearly display an understanding of the essential question. There should be supporting details and graphics to go with each article.
    • A letter to the editor stating one’s opinion about a major controversy discussed throughout the unit.
    • Two pictures or drawings about major events, places or people that were significant throughout the study followed by a caption.
    • A crossword puzzle related to vocabulary terms presented throughout the unit.
    • A map showing either the physical features, population distribution or climate of the three regions of Latin America.
    • An advertisement for a product, job or house that would be typical in a certain region or country in Latin America.
    • A book review based on one of the trade books available for independent reading in the book Latin America basket.
  5. Remind students that this is a final assessment that will be used in place of a final unit test. The newspaper must present as much cultural, geographic and political information as possible. The articles must be based on fact and the editorial and book review must state a clear opinion. The advertisement must show evidence of persuasive writing.
  6. Students must use their textbook, primary sources such as the interview conducted during the unit, internet sites, encyclopedias and their own notes and assessments compiled during their study as references. Students will be responsible for a bibliography page accompanying their newspaper.
  7. Instruct students that part of the work for this project will be done in class, and some will be homework. The procedure for this project is to follow the writing process. Students are expected to write a draft of each article and then proofread them. They must use an editing checklist in order to self-correct mistakes before handing the drafts in for a final teacher edit. Their mechanics grade (on the writing piece rubric) will be assigned based on the self-corrected pieces they hand in prior to the teacher editing stage.
  8. Teach the students how to create a two-column document using word processing software. Students will be required to type their work. They can create the crossword puzzle using computer software and inserting the computer generated crossword puzzle into their word processing document.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Students will be assessed using the writing piece rubric. Their work will be shared with the class and displayed in the room. During the writing process, teacher/student conferences will be a means of anecdotal assessment. Teacher note-taking during those conferences will serve to inform teaching of skills and writer’s craft.

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