How do Brazilians remember their history and what do they want for their future?
Second edition. July 2019.
PREVIEW THIS UNIT. The preview includes the table of contents, a student reading excerpt, and one lesson plan. PREVIEW ALL UNITS.

Brazil is the largest country in South America and plays an important role in the world. Brazil: A History of Change draws students into an often surprising and overlooked history. Like the United States, Brazil was colonized, gained its independence, and eventually overshadowed its colonizer. Like the United States, Brazil is a country of immigrants with a history of slavery that shaped its growth and affects it to the present day. Yet Brazil: A History of Change helps students see Brazil as a unique, dynamic country with an important history, diverse culture, and its own path of development. Brazil: A History of Change gives students an overview of Brazil’s history and traces its legacies through the present. The unit is divided into three parts. Each part includes:

  • Student readings
  • Accompanying study guides, graphic organizers, and key terms
  • Lessons aligned with the readings that develop analytical skills (including at least one that focuses on building geographic literacy) and can be completed in one or more periods
  • Videos that feature leading experts

This unit also includes an Options Role Play as the key lesson and additional synthesis lessons that allow students to synthesize new knowledge for assessment. You do not need to use the entire unit; feel free to select what suits your classroom needs.

“I teach current events in my elective course (e.g., China, Brazil) and need updated materials, which Digital Editions provide. It’s fantastic curriculum with clear writing and presentation of nuanced perspectives.” – David, Digital Editions User 

Part I: Brazil's Beginnings

Part I focuses on the colonial era and the role of slavery and abolition in shaping Brazil. There are two lessons aligned with Part I: 1) The Geography of Brazil, and 2) Reading History: Slavery in Brazil.

Part II: The Brazilian Republic

Part II examines the birth of the republic, the vast influx of immigrants, and the era of military rule. There are two lessons aligned with Part II: 1) The Brazilian Flag and the Republic, 2) Film Analysis: Repression and Resistance During Military Rule.

Part III: Brazilians Reclaim Democracy

Part III explores how Brazilians have reclaimed their democracy after the end of military rule. There is one lesson aligned with Part III: Racial Identity in Brazil.


The Geography of Brazil

Students familiarize themselves with Brazil and its neighbors, significant cities, and landmarks on a map. They then work together to explore images of Brazil and identify issues and themes for inquiry.

Reading History: Slavery in Brazil

Students use primary sources to develop an understanding of the institution of slavery in colonial Brazil and issues of race within the Brazilian empire.

The Brazilian Flag and the Republic

Students analyze proposed versions of Brazil's national flag and consider various viewpoints about Brazil's future.

Film Analysis: Repression and Resistance During Military Rule

After watching a documentary about a family's experience of repression, resistance, and torture during Brazil's military dictatorship, students consider how personal stories contribute to historical understanding.

The Options Role Play

The Options Role Play is the key lesson in the unit. It asks students to examine three distinct options that Brazilians faced in 1984 about the future of democracy in their country.

Racial Identity in Brazil

Students examine a Brazilian painting and the racial categories in the 1976 and 1990 Brazilian censuses, and consider issues of racial and ethnic identity in Brazil.

Get to Know Influential Brazilians

Synthesis Lesson: Students gain familiarity with the lives, ideas, and aspirations of a range of Brazilians from various historical eras and analyze their ideas and actions in their historical context.

Synthesis Lesson: Students analyze the music and lyrics of a Brazilian song and then create a music map. They consider the meaning of the song and the political power of music.

Assessment Using Documents

Synthesis Lesson: Students analyze primary and secondary sources and then answers questions about Brazil's Amnesty Law of 1979, the work of its National Truth Commission between 2011-2014, and the lingering effects of Brazil's military dictatorship.

Back to top