Channel One News has gathered some of its best content about Latin America from recent years to create a four-week-long short course. These videos and lesson plans introduce students to various Latin American cultures, geography, history and geopolitical issues. The collected lesson plans outline the history of U.S. relations and influence across Latin America, and ties this history to young people’s lives today. Recommended for grades 6–12.

Cuba, Part 1: U.S. Relations

original air date: 4/28/15

In the first part of a three-part series on Cuba, we look at the tumultuous relationship between the United States and Cuba. Learn about the reasons behind the embargo and the argument for lifting it.

Cuba, Part 2: History and Life

original air date: 4/29/15

In the second part of a three-part series on Cuba, we look at life in Cuba today. Students will also learn about the background and beliefs of Fidel Castro, and how he transformed Cuba into the first communist country in the Western Hemisphere.

Cuba, Part 3: Looking Forward

original air date: 4/30/15

In the final part of a three-part series on Cuba, we look President Obama’s efforts to restore relations between the United States and Cuba. Learn about the economic impact of Castro’s policies, and consider whether restored relations will save Cuba’s economy.

Cuban Dancer Rising Star

original air date: 9/22/14

In this bonus story about Cuba, we interview a Cuban-born dancer who defected while performing in the United States. Students will learn about artists and athletes who have defected from other communist countries.

Panama Canal, Part 1: An Engineering Marvel

original air date: 9/29/14

In this series, learn of the history of the Panama Canal, its importance to international trade and America’s controversial role in the formation of Panama. Students will learn the challenges faced while building the canal, including the human cost.

Panama Canal, Part 2: Plans for Expansion

original air date: 9/30/14

In part 2 of the Panama Canal series, learn how the canal has struggled to keep up with the demands of expanding markets. Students will be able to explain the role of the canal in global trade and the problems the Panama Canal currently faces.

Panama Canal, Part 3: A Nation Divided

original air date: 10/01/14

In part 3 of the Panama Canal series, Panama is betting that the benefits of expanding the Panama Canal will outweigh the costs. However, the project faces delays and cost overruns. Will the canal solve Panama’s poverty, or exacerbate it?

Geo Quiz: Second Largest Coral Reef

original air date: 11/20/15

The Mesoamerican Coral Reef lines the coast of Honduras, Belize, and the Yucatan Peninsula. Environmental groups and governments are working to protect the reef from development, agriculture, hurricanes and global warming.

Geo Quiz: Mexico City

original air date: 11/18/16

Our Geo Quiz asks: Which ancient civilization once ruled the area that now includes Mexico City? The answer? The Aztecs. (But shhh. Don’t tell the students!) Spanish explorers defeated the Aztec Empire, destroyed its capital city and built Mexico City on the same land. But the legacy of the Aztecs remains. 

Mexico City Sinking

original air date: 9/27/16

Mexico City sits atop an aquifer that’s being drained of water faster than the water can refill. Consequently, the city is sinking at a rate of 6 inches a year. Channel One News visits Mexico City to check out the problem and explain why it’s happening and what’s being done to solve it.

Frida Kahlo

original air date: 10/15/15

The New York Botanical Garden re-created the workspace of iconic artist Frida Kahlo. Learn about Frida Kahlo’s biography and how life events led to and shaped her work. Students will consider the artist’s influences and modes of expression and practice analyzing works of art.

Gang Violence Art Program

original air date: 5/12/16

An arts program in Iztapalapa, a Mexico City neighborhood torn apart by gangs, is helping to stop the cycle of violence. Students will learn about programs that use art to combat violence and consider their effectiveness at preventing violence.

Young People Keep Mariachi Alive

original air date: 9/15/16

Mariachi is Mexico’s most famous form of traditional music. Channel One News provides a brief history of the genre and visits teens at Benito Juarez High School in Chicago who are earning academic credits — and cash — for learning the art of mariachi.

Immigration, Part 1: From Honduras to the U.S.

original air date: 9/15/14

In 2014, tens of thousands of children crossed illegally into the U.S. from Mexico without their parents. About one-third were escaping drug violence in Honduras. In part 1 of this two-part series, Channel One speaks with young people in Honduras.

Immigration, Part 2: The Debate in the U.S.

original air date: 9/16/14

In part 2, towns in the U.S. struggle to accommodate the high rate of incoming immigrants, Congress fails to come up with a solution, and young immigrants in the U.S. await an uncertain fate.

OneVote 2016: Immigration

original air date: 10/4/16

Two years later, immigration remained an issue in the 2016 Presidential Election. In this segment Channel One News chatted with teens who were watching the election and trying to figure out where they stand on this controversial issue.

Hispanic Heritage Rap: Cesar Chavez

original air date: 9/30/16

Hispanic Heritage Month was established to celebrate the culture and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. It begins on September 15 each year. Channel One News presents a Hispanic Heritage Month rap and introduces students to the life and work of Mexican-American labor leader Cesar Chavez.

Bonus Videos:

Follow young people through a day in the life in these three Latin American locales: 

24/17 Dominican Republic

published on: 10/13/11

24/17 Havana, Cuba

published on: 7/14/10

24/17 Mexico

published on: 10/4/10