Viva La Revolución
City Arts and Tech High School: San Francisco, CA | Designing Teacher: Allison McManis

The Viva La Revolución project builds off of the work of Erin Brandvold of Envision Impact Academy and the Envision Schools Project Exchange.  In the project, student exploration of the effectiveness of revolutions launches with an epic “Nation X” simulation. Following the project launch, students engage in a brief case study of the French Revolution to develop the quality criteria of an effective revolution, and from there students dive into a self-selected study of either the Haitian, Cuban, or Mexican Revolution.  Students collaboratively analyze primary and secondary source documents to gather evidence to prove the effective or ineffective nature of their revolutions. During this process, students interview lawyers and judges for guidance as they design a case theory they will implement in the summative mock trial: Citizens v. Revolution.

Academic Skills and Content: In addition to addressing the Common Core State Literacy Standards (Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening), this project affords students the opportunity to enhance their academic skills in the areas of Collaboration and Critical Thinking.  CA History/Social Studies standards addressed in the project include:

  • use the class-created revolution framework to determine the cause of revolutions
  • compare the French Revolution to another revolution
  • analyze the effects of dictatorships on their people
  • analyze the motives behind revolutionaries’ actions
  • determine the effectiveness of revolutions in improving the lives of citizens

Final Product: A mock trial, entitled Citizens v. Revolution

Suggested Duration: 7-8 weeks

 

 

Created with the support of the California Department of Education California Career Pathways Trust


Final Products: What the Students Made
Final Products: What the Students Made

Viva la Revolución culminated in a series of mock trials in which students put revolutions on trial in order to determine their effectiveness. You can see footage from the mock trials in “resources” below.

Core Practice 1: Project Launch
Core Practice 1: Project Launch

The project launch helps to increase student engagement within the Viva La Revolución project.  Student exploration of the effectiveness of revolutions launches with an epic “Nation X” simulation.  As “peasants” and “nobles” experience the disparate resource distribution of their 1789-French-inspired feudal system, students are tasked with scrambling to create a “fair and functional” society.  This inevitably results in social revolution, but a question for deeper study arises: “What makes this social revolution effective at actually addressing these inequalities and improving the lives of all citizens?”

Core Practice 2: Collaboration
Core Practice 2: Collaboration

A core practice of the Viva La Revolución project is collaboration.  Students cannot successfully complete the project tasks or demonstrate their mastery of the content knowledge and academic skills addressed in the project without working effectively within small groups and as a whole class.  As part of the final product– a mock trial– students work together in the roles of “witnesses” and “lawyers” to defend or prosecute a revolution.

Core Practice 3: Literacy in a History Classroom
Core Practice 3: Literacy in a History Classroom

Single subject classrooms offer powerful opportunities to teach and assess literacy skills through the lens of a particular content area.  A core practice of the Viva La Revolución project is to foster literacy within a history classroom.  In the project students collaboratively analyze primary and secondary source documents to gather evidence to prove the effective or ineffective nature of their revolutions.  During this process, students interview lawyers and judges for guidance as they design a case theory they will implement in the summative mock trial: Citizens v. Revolution.