Latin American Colonization Lesson Plan

Instructor: Caitlin Ferraiolo Brady

Caitlin is a sixth grade geography teacher in Connecticut. She holds a Master's Degree in Educational Techonology.

This lesson will review the reasons for Spanish colonization of Latin America and explore the impact that colonization had on the native people of Latin America through the creation and presentation of skits.

Lesson Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify the reasons for Spanish colonization of Latin America
  • Explain the impact that colonization had on the native people of Latin America

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Time Length

Three 40 minute class periods. One for information gathering, one for skit creation, one for skit presentation


  • Craft materials for students to use to make props
  • Pre-made props (if they are available to you) that might be useful to the student presentations. Some ideas are:
    • cross
    • fake gold coins
    • shield
    • pirate style hat


  • conquistador
  • colonialism
  • imperialism


  1. Write the word colonization on the board.
  2. Have students brainstorm ideas that they already know about this topic. Write their ideas around the central word. Remind students to focus their thoughts on the colonization of Latin America only.
  3. Have students read the Latin America Colonization related lesson and add more words to your word collection on the board based on this lesson.


  1. Divide the class into three small groups. If you have a large number of students, more groups will work but have multiple groups prepare a skit on the same topic.
  2. Using the information gathered at the start of the lesson, students will create a skit based on the three objectives of the Spanish conquistadors: God, Gold, and Glory.
  3. Each group will create a skit to show one reason for Spanish exploration of Latin America and how the native people reacted to the Europeans. Remind students to show both the European perspective and that of the native people encountering them.
  • The ''God'' group will focus on the Spanish quest to spread Christianity around the world.
  • The ''Gold'' group focuses on the Spanish desire to find gold, silver, and other natural resources to make Spain richer.
  • The ''Glory'' group will focus on the Spanish adding land and subjects to their empire.

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