Dear Educators,


The Oaxaca Redd Trunk Unit is designed to provide students with opportunities to explore key cultural features of Oaxaca, Mexico. Students will be introduced to young children of the region through videos, photographs of daily life, cultural artifacts and through the words of the children themselves. Students will be prompted to create short written responses throughout the unit in response to what they are learning. Each lesson will offer a “hands-on” extension activity for children to attempt at home should students want to experience some of the authentic features of Oaxaca culture. As a final project, each student will be expected to “assemble” a version of his or her own Redd Trunk filled with 5 to 8  artifacts the student considers meaningful representations of his or her cultural experience.

The lessons are based on the following:

Key Ideas from the New York State Grade 3 Social Studies Framework:

  • 3 Geographic factors often influence where people settle and form communities. People adapt to and modify their environment in different ways to meet their needs.
  • 4 Each community or culture has a unique history, including heroic figures, traditions, and holidays.
  • 5 Communities share cultural similarities and differences across the world.
  • 6 Communities from around the world interact with other people and communities and exchange cultural ideas and practices.
  • 9 Communities meet their needs and wants in a variety of ways, forming the basis for their economy.
  • 10 Each community develops an economic system that addresses three questions: what will be produced, how will it be produced, and who will get what is produced?

New York State Social Studies Standards:

  • World History
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Civics, Citizenship, and Government




  1. There are 10 lessons in this unit, one per day for 2 weeks. Each lesson will take 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Your students should start with Lesson 1 for the first day, Lesson 2 for the second day, and so on.
  2. The lessons can be accessed either on a computer/laptop, tablet/iPad, or smart phone. If any of your students don’t have access to a laptop, the lessons can be downloaded as PDFs and printed. Look for the DOWNLOAD button. Each lesson fits on 3 pages. Your students will still need to access the videos if they’re working on the printed copies. (It’s also possible to print up the lessons and work off the lessons on the website.)

3.Your students can either 1) type their answers into a laptop or phone, 2) print the lessons and write the answers on the sheets, or 3) use a notebook or loose-leaf paper to write their answers.

  1. An in-home cultural scavenger hunt has been added to lessons 2-9. Students will be asked to locate objects in their home that relate to the lessons. They will use those objects to create their own Red Trunk in Lesson 10 so it is important that they complete the scavenger hunt. Before students begin working, remind students that they must ask either a parent or a teacher if the object they have chosen to use is safe and appropriate for exploring and sharing.


  1. If you intend to create a scoring rubric for evaluating the Red Trunk Project, you might want to assess the student’s ability to


  • complete each of the cultural lessons
  • complete each of the scavenger hunt steps
  • show evidence of understanding comparison and contrast
  • show evidence of chronological reasoning
  • Incorporate a minimum number of artifacts into their exhibit
  • communicate the meaning of the selected objects to one’s culture
  1. At the end of lessons 2 through 9 there is a link to a 360-degree video, exploring an aspect of life in Oaxaca. The Red Trunk Project can be completed whether or not a student is able to access the 360-degree video. Students might need guidance in viewing the 360-degree video and should be guided when they view a video for the first time. If the 360-degree video is viewed on a computer, move the cursor to get the 360-degree view, including up and down. On a tablet or phone, move the device around in a circle, as well as up and down.
  2. After the lesson is completed, and a student has checked the I finished! box, there are more things to do in the Extended Activities section. Instruct your students to click the button to access fun things to do for lessons 2 through 9.