Activity-Tracing the Route of a Bracero
Best for students in grades six through eight
Students will examine an oral history related to the Bracero worker program and present their research on a map.
Students will be better able to
- describe aspects of the Bracero labor program, which operated from 1942 to 1964
- use documents as primary resources
Lesson Plan Text
1. Have students access the oral history of Juan Loza online at http://braceroarchive.org/items/show/175 (Spanish speakers can listen to the oral history in Spanish. Students who are not fluent in Spanish can read the English transcription.)
2. Have students print out the English transcript and read it. Ask students to highlight all sections related to Mr. Loza’s contracting work, identifying:
• every state and town where he worked
• the crops he harvested
• the dates he was in that location
3. Have students visit National Geographic’s Xpedition Atlas to select a map on which to plot their research.
For a greater technical challenge, consider having students use customizable maps on GoogleMaps (http://maps.google.com/) to electronically plot their research.
4. Have students plot the locations where Mr. Loza worked. For each location, also note the crops he harvested in that location and the dates he mentions in connection with that location.
5. Have students connect the locations on their map, indicating the direction of travel with arrows.
6. Engage students in a discussion:
• For how long was Juan Loza a bracero worker? What was the longest time he spent in one location?
• What types of crops did he work on?
• How many different work locations did he work? How do you think the travel between multiple work locations impacted his social or family life?
• Why didn’t he pick one location and stay there?
• Articulate some of the thoughts he might have had about the locations where he worked. How might he have compared different locations? How might he have responded emotionally to the migratory nature of his work?
• For students with background knowledge on the bracero program, Judge whether Juan was better off working as a bracero in America or staying in his homeland.
Download this activity guide