"The Pan American Unity Mural"
lnter-department Lesson Plan
Emilie Krustapentus

This unit is devised so that students work collaboratively on the assignment. Such an effort requires advance planning as well as cooperation between the various departments at City College. Ideally, this plan could be carried out throught the efforts of ESL, English, Art, Drama, Speech, Music, History, or Social Science.

Present through a musical Interpretation, dance, a poetic reading, a composition or any artistic form, your group's interpretation of the following quote by Diego Rivera:

"My mural will picture the fusion between the great past of the Latin American lands, as it is deeply rooted In the soil, and the high mechanical developments of the United States."

In your opinion, how has Diego Rivera achieved his goal?

Before the above assignment:
  1. Reading: All students need to read about the history of the mural and some background information on Diego Rivera's life and work. Use the library and do a search on the Internet. Get reference materials.
  2. Writing: Write a brief one-page biography (summary) on Rivera and his accomplishments as an artist.
  3. Tour: Once everyone has read and completed the assignments above, schedule a tour with the docent on campus. Before the tour, assign students to work as a group on each panel. They will then take notes on their panel more diligently as they listen to the docent.
  4. Discussion: Students in the various groups assigned discuss their panels in greater detail. For example, if there are five groups, then each group can become "experts" for a specific panel. Later, have representatives from each panel form mixed groups so that all panels are represented in separate groups (like a cooperative learning activity).
  5. Group Work: Once all students have a greater understanding of the mural and what Rivera is trying to accomplish, students come back to their original groups and discuss the quote as written above. How has Rivera achieved his goal? Students discuss the above.
  6. Group Work: Groups then decide through what form they wish to portray their panel. (i.e., dance, verse, music, characters in the mural talking ...
  7. Groups meet together to work on their project.
  8. Schedule a time when the theatre could be. used for the student productions.
Note: In an ideal situation, a performance could take place as the culmination of the students' projects. Other students could be invited from the various departments to be observers.