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CNN Student News Learning Activity: Fidel Castro Resigns

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  • Students will investigate Fidel Castro's rise to power
  • Students will examine Castro's impact on U.S.-Cuban relations
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(CNN Student News) -- Students will investigate Fidel Castro's rise to power and his impact on U.S.-Cuban relations.


Divide students into groups. Refer each group to multimedia resources, including those listed, to investigate the following:

  1. Fidel Castro's rise to power,
  2. the factors that enabled Castro to remain in power for almost 50 years, and
  3. Castro's influence on U.S.-Cuban relations from 1959 to the present.

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After students have completed their research, help them to create a timeline that depicts the significant events and key players in Cuba's history since Castro assumed power in 1959. Next, pose the following question to students:

"Now that Castro has resigned, what questions do you think are on the minds of Cubans and the international community?"

List students' responses on the board. Then, have students imagine that they are CNN Student News reporters who are responsible for covering Castro's resignation. Ask students to consider their research, the timeline and the questions listed on the board to identify topics for follow-up segments to Castro's resignation announcement. Challenge students to write news reports on their chosen topics for CNN Student News. Have students organize a mock news program and share their scripts with the class.

Correlated Standards

Social Studies

II. Time, Continuity and Change: Students will learn about the ways human beings view themselves in and over time.

IV. Individual Development and Identity: Students will explore the influences on individual development and identity including culture, groups and institutions.

V. Individuals, Groups and Institutions: Students will explore how institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, how they control and influence individuals and culture and how institutions can be maintained or changed.

VI. Power, Authority and Governance: Students will understand the historical development of structures of power, authority and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary U.S. society as well as other parts of the world.

IX. Global Connections: Students will examine global connections and interdependence.

The Curriculum Standards for Social Studies ( are published by the National Council for Social Studies (

English Language Arts

Standard 1: Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.

Standard 8: Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Standard 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

The English Language Arts standards ( are published by the National Council of Teachers of English (


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