Lesson 601 – Havana: Inside the City

In 2016, the U.S. government made it easier to visit Cuba. Now, a Cuban cultural expert shows us Havana once off limits to us. Hidden among its fine old buildings we find a village created by artists, an African-Cuban cultural center, a canal side restaurant, a school for women boxers, a women’s bicycling cooperative, and a street dedicated to live African-Cuban music.

Learning Objective

Students will learn more about the city of Havana, Cuba and the historical, cultural and political influences that have affected Cuba.

Social Studies Standards

Global Connections: A, B, E

Discussion Prompts

  • Why were the Cuba-U.S. borders closed until recently? What economic hardships did this cause for Cubans? What does the video suggest that Americans missed out on by not being able to visit Cuba? 
  • The Cuban artist, Fuster refers to the idea of spiritual wealth. What is spiritual wealth and how does it improve peoples’ lives? How does it differ from material wealth? Compare and contrast.
  • What are the historical and economic reasons for the number of classical cars in Havana?
  • How does transportation in Havana compare to a large city in your region? Compare similarities and differences based on what you saw in the video.

Lesson Activities

  • Research what is referred to in Cuba as ‘The Special Period’ and write an informational report about this time period in Cuba.
  • You have been asked to create an infographic that showcases the African roots in Havana that will hang in the cultural center. Include drumming, art, Folklorico dance and African-Cuban music. Use color and design to provide cultural information.
    Work with a partner and have one person create a list of questions that you’d ask Namibia
  • Flores Rodriguez, the female boxer in the video. Then have the other person answers the questions based on how you think she’d respond, keeping in mind how gender roles in her culture might affect participation in sport.
  • Create a bi-fold that compares bicycles and cars in Havana. Include information about bicycles and classical cars and how transportation has created new economic opportunities.


  • blockade
  • burgeoning
  • Cubanism
  • embargo
  • imaginative
  • nostalgia
  • restoration
  • secular
  • tailspin
  • vintage


In the Americas Season 6 Lesson Episode 1