Ideas for Teaching About Nicaragua

Openendedsocialstudies has a unit for teaching middle or high school classrooms about the history of Nicaragua, the Sandinistas, and controversial leader Daniel Ortega.  Find free readings, guided questions, and lesson plan ideas on the following subjects:

  • A Basic History of Nicaragua: A basic overview of Nicaraguan history and culture through the end of the modern period, with a focus on the post-colonial period.
  • William Walker, the Grey-Eyed Man of Destiny: William Walker was an American  who organized several private military expeditions into Latin America with the intention of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control, an enterprise then known as “filibustering.”
  • Augusto Sandino, National Hero: From 1927 until 1933, Gen. Augusto César Sandino led a sustained guerrilla war first against the Conservative regime and subsequently against the U.S. Marines, whom he fought for over five years. He was referred to as a “bandit” by the United States government; his exploits made him a hero throughout much of Latin America, where he became a symbol of resistance to United States’ domination.
  • The Sandinistas: The Sandinista National Liberation Front – also called the Sandinistas – are a former guerrilla army and ruling party of Nicaragua. Following a decade of single party rule, they submitted to free and fair elections in 1990, ushering in Nicaragua’s current period of period of peace, democratic stability, and relative prosperity after decades of corrupt dictatorship, civil war, and domination by the U.S. and its corporations.

One great way for students to develop a deeper understanding of a concept is to have them teach others.

  1. Choose any section from this unit and develop a lesson – in the form of a presentation, a storybook, or a worksheet – that teaches younger students about some aspect of Nicaragua’s history.  Make sure the material is age appropriate in content and approach, and create some simple questions to check your audience’s understanding.

Find more free lessons on Nicaragua at  

There are also plenty of free lessons featuring other peoples from world history.

The Americas: A Free, Open Textbook in Progress

Continue reading “The Americas: A Free, Open Textbook in Progress”

The Sandinistas

What happens after a revolution, when those who ceded power don’t want to admit it’s gone? What right do nations have to preemptively attack the governments of other nations?
This lesson was reported from:
Adapted in part from open sources.

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Augusto Sandino, National Hero

Is it heroic or foolish to fight against impossible odds, even if you know you are right? When is violence and revolt a justifiable strategy for change?
This lesson was reported from:
Adapted in part from open sources.

Continue reading “Augusto Sandino, National Hero”

A Basic History of Nicaragua

How does a nation with colonial origins synthesize its own identity? How does a small nation assert its own will in the shadow of a much more economically and militarily powerful neighbor?
This lesson was reported from:
Adapted in part from open sources.

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Nicaragua, Imperialism, and National Identity

Continue reading “Nicaragua, Imperialism, and National Identity”