Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Road Trip to the Future: Exploring Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Mariana DeLoera, Ryan Rahhal | Published: November 29th, 2022 by K20 Center


In this lesson, students will learn about the rise of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and the important role they play in postsecondary education. Students will begin by familiarizing themselves with some of the famous and successful people who have attended an HSI. After reading a short article about the history of HSIs, students will perform their own research on an institution of their choice and create an Anchor Chart to share with the rest of the class. This lesson is designed to work in tandem with a campus visit to a Hispanic-Serving Institution, but it can work well as a standalone lesson as well.

Essential Questions

  • How is equity being supported in higher education?

  • Why is there becoming a greater need for Hispanic-Serving Institutions?

Learning Goals

In this lesson, students will:

  • Analyze the historical background of HSIs.

  • Collaborate to research HSIs to identify how a school could meet their personal and academic goals.

Materials List

  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • The Rise of Hispanic-Serving Institutions handout (attached)

  • Research Project Task Sheet (attached)

  • Giant sticky note pad, butcher paper, or poster board

  • Sticky notes

  • Markers or colored pencils

  • Pens or pencils

  • Scissors (optional)

  • Student devices with internet access


Introduce the lesson using the attached Lesson Slides. Display slide 3 with the first essential question: How is equity being supported in higher education?

Invite students to reflect on ways that colleges and universities advocate for fairness.

Once students have responded to the essential question, transition to the next activity. Explain to students that you will be showing them different individuals and giving them a brief background of each one. As you walk students through each slide, have students begin to brainstorm what these individuals might have in common.

Go through slides 4–7. For each slide, give a brief overview of the individuals who are shown.

Display slide 8 and pose the following question to the class:

From politicians to entertainers to corporate America, what do all of these successful Hispanic/Latino individuals have in common?

Encourage a few students to share their responses, and then move to slide 9. Tell students that all of the individuals mentioned on the slides have graduated from an institution that is classified as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, or HSI. Explain that the concept of HSIs originated from the intention of creating equity in higher education.

Display slide 10 and review the lesson objectives with the class.


Display slide 11 and play the video “About the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities,” which describes the importance of HSIs. Stop the video at the 2:20 timestamp. Following the video, ask students what stood out the most to them. Is there anything they’re interested in learning more about? 

Once students have shared out, display slide 12. Distribute the attached handout titled The Rise of Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Instruct students to pause after each section and summarize what they’ve learned.

After students have completed the reading and the handout, have them discuss their summaries with an Elbow Partner.

Display slide 13 and pose the second essential question: Why is there becoming a greater need for Hispanic-Serving Institutions?

Have students use their knowledge from the video, the handout, and their personal thoughts to respond. 


Divide students into groups of three and distribute a copy of the attached Research Project Task Sheet to each student. Have students work together to conduct their research but fill out the information on their own handouts.

Display slide 14 and share the instructions for the next steps. Explain to students that they will be researching an HSI. Have students follow the link on the slide to see the HSI list. Give them some time to explore the site independently as they prepare to conduct their research.

Have each group choose one school they would like to research. Encourage groups to first look at the schools by state to help them decide which school to research.

Once groups have chosen a school, instruct them to find the school’s official website to conduct their research. If they use any other resources in addition to the school’s website, they should cite those in the Source column of their handout.

Take a moment to walk students through each category on pages 2-4 of the handout, providing a short explanation of your expectations. 

Instruct students to focus right now on the research portion of the handout. They will work on the Anchor Chart in the next part of the lesson.


As students near the end of their research, display slide 15 and share the instructions for completing the Anchor Chart. Students can follow along at the bottom of the first page of their handouts. 

The Anchor Chart should be a visual representation of the research that students have already conducted. Walk them through all of the expectations listed on the handout. Emphasize that they have plenty of freedom in how they choose to present information in the chart, but they are expected to create well-organized and easy-to-read charts with correct spelling and grammar. They are also expected to include all the required elements outlined in the instructions.

After sharing the instructions, provide students with time to work with their groups to complete their Anchor Charts.


Display slide 16 and inform students that they will engage in a Gallery Walk to view each other’s Anchor Charts. Ask groups to hang their charts on the walls around the classroom. Distribute a sticky note to each student. 

Have each group elect a representative to stay behind with their chart as the spokesperson for their group. The spokesperson is responsible for explaining what is included on the chart and why it is important information to know. 

Instruct the other group members to rotate around the room to visit each poster and use their sticky note to leave a question on an anchor chart that interests them. (You can distribute more sticky notes if you prefer to have students ask more than one question).