High School Mexico

¡Arriba, arriba!

Objectives for High School Students

  • Raise awareness about multiculturalism and expose students to cultural expressions from a different country.
  • Learn the importance of a balanced diet to prevent cleft lip/palate.
  • Explore feelings of rejection and isolation related to physical appearance.
  • Develop a moving narrative to communicate cleft lip/palate issues and promote community support.

Materials:video camera, online access, Mexican soap opera excerpt

Build Background

(Duration: 30 min. - 1 hr.)

Research information about Mexico and the number of cleft lip/palate births there. Discuss the different factors which cause this birth defect. Read Arat's story and discuss reasons why this problem is more prevalent in certain countries. Brainstorm some preventive measures, and what could be done to facilitate treatment.

Make Connections

(Duration: 1 - 2 hr.)

Show students an excerpt from a Mexican soap opera, or "telenovela." These are extremely popular in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Telenovelas are often used to highlight social issues and moral dilemmas. (Clips of popular telenovelas are available on Youtube.com, Telemundo.com, and Univision.com. Please be sure to watch the clip before presenting to the class, as some content may not be appropriate for younger viewers.) In groups, ask students to come up with a pitch for a telenovela featuring a child with cleft lip/palate. Describe the main story and a few characters.

Class Project

(Duration: 2 hrs.)

Student groups prepare a storyboard for a scene in their soap opera. Write a situation reflecting the child's feelings of rejection, isolation, and sadness. Show different reactions from other characters, from negative to positive ones, and how the child's life could be transformed after corrective surgery. Scenes can be performed during assemblies, and/or recorded and posted on YouTube and to Smile Train's Facebook page, with a link to the class fundraising page.