Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

¡Si Se Puede!

The United Farm Workers Union and the Delano Grape Strike

Mariana DeLoera, Daniel Schwarz | Published: August 1st, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject Social Studies
  • Course Course U.S. History
  • Time Frame Time Frame 100 minutes
  • Duration More 2 class periods


In this lesson about the labor movement, students will compare and contrast photos of farmworkers that were taken before the start of the movement and in the present day. Students will watch a video and examine an infographic to learn about the injustices faced by farmworkers, the rise of the labor movement, and the actions taken by labor union members and leaders, including César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, and Larry Itliong. Students will also have an opportunity to watch an ICAP video, in which a labor union leader from Oklahoma explains how labor unions have played and continue to play a crucial role in advocating for workers’ rights.

Essential Question(s)

How can political participation effect change?



Students analyze a quote and participate in a group discussion.


Students analyze images and record their observations and inferences to complete a Painting a Picture Chart.


Students examine an Infogram paired with a graphic organizer and will use the S-I-T strategy to gather their thoughts.


Students watch an ICAP interview of a LiUNA local union leader, learning about how labor organizations and unions have protected workers throughout history.


Students evaluate their learning by completing an Exit Ticket.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Digital Infogram (linked below and in slideshow)

  • Optional Infogram PDF (attached; class set, one per pair)

  • Painting a Picture Chart (attached; one per pair)

  • Optional Painting a Picture Photo Set (attached; class set, one per pair)

  • Infogram Graphic Organizer (attached; one per student)

  • Large sticky notes

  • Devices with internet access (optional handout provided)

  • Pens/pencils


10 Minute(s)

Introduce the lesson using the attached Lesson Slides. Use slides 2–3 to review the lesson title and objectives as needed. Then, go to slide 4 and read the following quote aloud to the class.

"We don’t need perfect political systems; we need perfect participation." —César Chavez

Give students a few moments to reflect on the quote, and then follow up by asking them what they think Chavez meant by this. Invite a few students to share out. On a white board or a large sticky note, create a T-Chart. At the top of the left column, write "Imperfect Political Systems,'' and above the right column, write "Perfect Political Participation." A sample T-Chart can be found on slide 5.

As a whole group, have students brainstorm information that could go in either column. Begin with the left side and pose the question found on slide 6: In what ways can political systems be imperfect?

As students reflect, invite them to also consider modern-day politics and examples of how it can still be imperfect today. Next, move on to the right side and pose the question found on slide 7: What are some examples of perfect political participation?

Once students have answered for both sides, move to slide 8 and share the essential question. Inform students they are going to learn about another social movement and the organizations and individuals that played a role in this.


20 Minute(s)

Distribute the attached Painting a Picture Chart to each pair of students. Go to slide 9 and explain the Painting a Picture strategy. Inform students this strategy is about using observations of what they see in conjunction with any background knowledge they might have about the topic to make inferences about the content being explored. In other words, students will use multiple resources to figuratively "paint a picture" of the topic being studied. Slide 9 contains definitions for both observations and inferences. Before beginning the activity, take time to review these terms with students.

Next, have student pairs make observations about photos of farmworkers in the field during the 1950s and present day. The Painting a Picture Chart contains questions to guide students' observations. The photos for this activity can be found on slides 10–13. You may do this activity as a class by following the instructions provided, or print out a class set of the attached Painting a Picture Photo Set for each pair to work independently.

For each section of the chart, there is an (A/B) for students to record their observations and inferences. Begin by showing slide 10. Give students about 3 minutes per slide to record their thoughts on the chart. As pairs work, walk around to assess student progress, answer questions, and provide guidance as needed.

Repeat this step until slide 13. Once students have worked through all the images, invite a few to share their observations and inferences. As students share, add any other information you think is important to point out.

Wrap up the discussion by explaining that these images are all of farmworkers, and they depict some of the conditions then and now that workers have endured. Inform students they are now going to dive deeper into the social movement led by farmworkers.


30 Minute(s)

Distribute the attached Infogram Graphic Organizer to each student. Although students work through the graphic organizer with their partners, each student should have their own copy.

Display slide 14. Have students use either of the short links to view the Infogram in their preferred language. Before students start working, walk them through the graphic organizer and explain how it is broken into three major parts. As they work through the infographic, they must use the text, images, and video from the Infogram to answer the questions on the handout.

After giving students sufficient time to complete the handout, go to slide 15 and have students share their thoughts using the S-I-T strategy. Based on the information they gathered from the Infogram, each pair must come up with one fact or statement they found surprising, one fact or statement they found interesting, and one fact or statement they found troubling. Students may write their responses on the back of their graphic organizers, or just ask them to be prepared to share out.

Invite different pairs of students to share out one of their S-I-T statements.


10 Minute(s)

Display slide 16, which contains an introduction slide for the interview with Arturo Delgado. Explain to students that LiUNA stands for Laborers’ International Union of North America.

Go to slide 17 to play the "ICAP-LiUNA Local Union Leader" video of LiUNA Business Manager Arturo Delgado. In the video, Delgado explains the importance of labor unions and how the actions of early union members continue to impact us today.

As students watch the interview, they should be drawing connections between labor unions then and now. After the video, go to slide 18 and ask students to think about the following discussion questions:

  • What stood out to you the most from Delgado’s interview?

  • What connections can we make between what we’ve learned about the United Farm Workers and what Delgado mentioned regarding labor unions today?

Have students discuss these questions with their partners and be prepared to share out. Then, facilitate a group discussion.


10 Minute(s)

As a brief evaluation of the lesson, have students complete an Exit Ticket. Display slide 19 to review the essential question introduced earlier in the lesson: How can political participation effect change?

Have students summarize what they have learned throughout the lesson and apply that knowledge to answer the question in 3–5 sentences. Collect students’ responses to evaluate their learning.