Discover the Dominican Republic and the Merengue with Angurria

Lesson Activities & Lesson Plans

To begin the Lesson Activity please scroll down. If you are a teacher looking for the associated Lesson Plan, please click below.

Worksheet

MM slash DD slash YYYY
Have you seen any of the murals in Lynn before?
Does studying the murals make you want to go and see them in person?
Do you think having murals in the city makes it special?
Did the mural(s), the symbolism, or the artist’s story make you think about your life and experiences?
If you have any questions or need assistance, email admin@beyond-walls.org

About this lesson

For this lesson, students will learn about the physical and political geography, as well as the indigenous culture, of the Dominican Republic. Specifically, students will learn about the style of dance and music called merengue and its importance to Dominican culture using the work of the street artist Angurria.

For a more in depth background information on the lesson topics, questions and pointers to help guide class discussions, links to videos to show in class, and lesson worksheets, among other things, download the unit guide below. You can also download an accompany PowerPoint for this lesson below.

Objectives

Students will be able to…

1. Identify the location of the Dominican Republic using nearby countries and geographical features

2. Discuss the indiginous and colonial history of the Dominican Republic

3. Use art to identify cultural traditions and trends of the Dominican Republic

4. Effectively use rich poetic language

Standards

History and Social Studies 

Central America and the Caribbean Islands

  • On a physical map of the world, use cardinal directions, map scales, key/legend, and title to locate Central America, the Caribbean Sea. On a map of the region, identify important physical features of the region. (HSS.6.T5a.1)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of political geography by locating the current countries and major cities of Central America and the Caribbean Islands on a political map; use knowledge of maps to complement information gained from text about a country or region. (HSS.6.T5a.2) 
  • Explain how absolute and relative locations, climate, major physical characteristics and natural resources influenced settlement, population size, and the economies of regions and countries in Central America and the Caribbean Islands. (HSS.6.T5a.3)
  • Describe the culture and way of life of the indigenous populations of the region. (HSS.6.T5a.4)

English Language Arts

Text Types and Purposes

  • Write narratives to develop experiences or events using effective literary techniques, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured sequences. (W.6.3)

Production and Distribution of Writing

  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W.6.4)

Comprehension and Collaboration

  • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (SL.6.1)
  • Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study. (SL.6.2)

Knowledge of Language 

  • Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. (L.6.3)

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

  • Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. (L.6.5)

Music

  • Relate artistic ideas and works to societal, cultural and historical contexts to deepen understanding.Identify influential music from different periods and how they impacted music at the time and potentially today. (5-6.M.Co.11)

Extensions for Visual Arts curriculum frameworks are listed below and in the unit guide

Vocabulary

Taíno

Merengue

Tambora

Guira

Materials

Pen/Pencil

Paper

Computer with internet access

Lesson Procedures

To start this lesson, gauge the classroom on their knowledge of the Dominican Republic. See if any students have heard about, been to, are from, or know anyone from the island. 

For this lesson, students will learn about the physical and political geography, as well as the indigenous culture, of the Dominican Republic. Specifically, students will learn about the style of dance and music called merengue and its importance to Dominican culture using the work of the street artist Angurria.

For a more in depth background information on the lesson topics, questions and pointers to help guide class discussions, links to videos and PowerPoints to show in class, and lesson worksheets, among other things, read the unit guide

1. Show students a map of the Dominican Republic and have them point out other geographical landmarks and features around the island. 

2. Discuss the history and culture of the Taíno, the indigenous people of the Caribbean islands. 

3. Discuss the history of colonization in the Dominican Republic, starting with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493. 

3. Introduce students to the artist Angurria by showing them his interview.

4. Show students Angurria’s mural “Sound of my Patria” and have them analyze the artwork using the accompanying worksheet. 

5. Introduce students to the merengue, by showing them this simple instructional video. Have students follow along with the dance instructors! 

6. Show students the common instruments used for the merengue, the tambora and the guira. If students are interested in the guira and how it is played, show them this video. 

7. Introduce students to the writing activity for this lesson. For this activity, students will write a poem using Angurria’s “Sound of my Patria” as inspiration. This is a “free verse poem”, meaning there are no constraints on length, pattern, rhyme, etc. For their poems, students can choose any topic thatthe painting inspires in them. For instance, they could write the poem from the woman’s perspective, or as a bystander listening to the woman sing and play the drum. For more instruction on this activity, including a description and criteria, refer to the unit guide

Extension Activities

Visual Arts

(5-6.V.Cr.01 – 03)

In his art, Angurria pulls from his cultural heritage, celebrating the pride of the Dominican people. For this activity, students will create a self portrait of themselves engaging in an activity that is meaningful to them and their life, family, and/or culture. Students will write a paragraph explaining their drawing.

Assessment

If you follow the unit guide, assessment is conducted regularly throughout the lesson in the form of group discussions and activities.

For alternatives, go to the resources section of the unit guide. This will take you to a document with a comprehensive list of assessment options. Though they are geared more towards Visual Arts, they can be altered or used for other curriculums, such as ELA and Science/Technology.

Exit slips are also a great strategy for assessment at the end of a lesson. For these slips, have students respond to the following questions:

Write one thing you learned today.
Write one question you have about today’s lesson.
Did you enjoy the lesson activities?