Search form

Teaching the History Behind Cinco de Mayo in the Face of Tough Election Rhetoric

Teaching the History Behind Cinco de Mayo in the Face of Tough Election Rhetoric

You may have heard this statistic many times by a now, but a recent survey found that 40 percent of teachers are hesitant to teach about the current presidential election in their classroom because of the negative rhetoric facing Mexican-American and Muslim students.

Teachers, fearing isolation of certain students, are hesitant to discuss the anti-immigration policies Donald Trump has discussed and the surprising amount of support he’s been receiving thus far.

Cinco de Mayo serves as a great opportunity to celebrate a group of students that might feel isolated during this challenging time; help Mexican-American students feel appreciated by teaching the extensive history behind the border and history Mexico and America share this Cinco de Mayo.

Education World has a compiled a list of resources from our site and beyond to help you do it.

Why Cinco de Mayo Is Widely Celebrated in the U.S.

Cinco de Mayo, despite being a Mexican holiday, is actually more celebrated in the United States, showing how close of a cultural tie the two countries share.

According to MSN:

"The festival is actually more widely celebrated in the United States than in Mexico. In 1862, when the Mexicans defeated the French force in the Battle of Puebla, the Civil War in the USA gathered intensity. Caught between both the conflicts, Mexicans in the USA started calling the victory in Puebla as their own victory. And since then, several Cinco de Mayo traditions, such as parades, Mariachi music performances and street festivals, were held in cities and towns across Mexico and the USA.”

Teach your students the true history behind the holiday with these 12 facts they might not have known.

Creating a Map of Mexico

This fun, interactive geographic lesson teaches students how close the U.S. and Mexico are, being forced to identify which states share the border.

Students learn map-reading skills while getting creative. Education World has provided map outlines and sites to find geographical information- all you need to provide is basic arts and craft supplies. 

Reading the Stories of Mexico’s Immigrants

The Library of Congress has a section on its site called ‘Interviews with Today’s Immigrants’ and in it it compiles a series of interviews from Mexican immigrants living in the U.S.

Interviews detail how individuals migrated to the U.S. to pursue dreams of better education, many despite having to leave family members behind and overwhelmed by learning a new language, a good perspective to add to the tension surrounding the current political sphere.

Every-Day-Edit: Cinco de Mayo Edition

If you don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to the topic as you approach the end of the year, Education World’s Every-Day-Edit is a great yet quick activity that provides some facts about the holiday while checking up on students’ grammar skills.


Latest Education News
What better way to promote summer learning than to engage in STEM activities?
Why Singapore's math curriculum is creating the world's best and brightest in the subject.
Sexual assault cases persist from elementary school up through college, so what's the solution to make schools safer?
Some experts are arguing that more classrooms that utilize blended learning will help decrease the high number of...
Parents in the Hazelwood School District are no different than many parents across the country in that they don't...