Latin America
Teacher's Guide

January 23, 1999 Update

We have been reunited in Mexico City, a very old and new city, for a couple of days. While two of us took a straight 44-hour bus ride from Tijuana, two of us found an environmentally- friendly and beautiful training facility and met some skater kids in Baja. Our explorations in Mexico have taken us from the site of the Aztecs last stand, to a modern-day soap opera set, from a Cuban-style dance hall, to a streetside food booth.

The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Shawn and Jamila - Our Favorite 44-Hour Bus Ride Ever!

These two write about their experience on the bus from Tijuana to Mexico City. They also share their thoughts about arriving in Mexico City and their hopes for the next two years.

This article is best enjoyed as part of the Trek and to help the students understand the Trekkers and how they are experiencing the Trek. A simple activity to holds students accountable is to have them simply share their thoughts about the Trek in general and whether they would like to do it or not, given the good and bad things described here.
Kavitha - Something Funny Happened on the Way to Mexico City

Kavitha shares her experience at an outdoor leadership center that is very environmentally sound (all-solar, uses its own gray water, etc.).

This article can be used for both its environmental angle and to help break down stereotypes. As an advanced center in Baja California, it defies expectations of many people. It lends itself well to comparisons on both points: Have kids compare how environmentally sound their home or school is. Or, have them write about the stereotypes others have of them and their community. (For this purpose this article can be used in conjunction with the following (Kidz in La Paz).
Abeja - Kidz in La Paz

Abeja and Kavitha met some skater kids while waiting for the ferry. They contrast life in Baja California with life in Canada, and share their perspective on partying and having fun (they dance more, drink less). It also features a few Spanish words. This one is a must for most students!

This article can be used in conjunction with the previous one on the subject of stereotypes. It can also be a segway into having kids think about what they do for fun and debating the use of alcohol.

Team - Mexico City - Then and Now

This article has brief info on the Aztecs, which may or may not go beyond what you can provide them. What is VERY useful here is that there are about ten links to articles from the Mexico Trek on the Aztecs and Mexico City that can definitely take them beyond what most teachers have at their disposal.

This article, and those it links to, support very well either a traditional research kind of project, or some kind of treasure hunt where you quickly preview the pages and make up some questions they have to find the answers to (which they actually like doing on the web!), or students can be asked to simply survey the linked articles and submit something written or drawn that shares what most impressed them or made them think.
Klaus - Plaza of Three Cultures, Much Pain

This article refers to three major events in Mexican history: First, the Aztec surrender to the Spaniards, second. The massacre of student protestors in 1968, and third, briefly, the massive earthquake of 1985.

For its three key topics, this article can lead three different places. It can tie in well with the previous activity, providing supporting information. Or, it can be used to open a discussion or paper topic, etc., on topics ranging from student activism, to the use of violence by the state (or by anyone), to what things are so important to the students that they would risk their lives for them.
Monica - Abeja and Kavitha…Soap Opera Divas

This is a fun dispatch from the set of a Mexican soap opera.

Besides being fun, the pictures are a good place to explore images and stereotypes in the media, as well as class issues. In Mexico, most of the soap opera stars are white, while the vast majority of the population is mesitzo, or mixed. Why is this? What does it say about power in Mexico? What impact might this have on people's perceptions of themselves and their worth depending on their own ethnicity? A brief discussion might be had, or students can be asked what differentethnic groups they generally see portrayed on TV and what it says and what impact it has on their own views. Students will thank you if you make their homework to watch TV and keep track of who they see represented and how.
Shawn - Mamá Rumba - The Next Best Thing.

This is a fun article about dancing, Cuban-style, in Mexico. There is also a very brief introduction to Cuba's different political system and the US embargo of Cuba.

Can be used to spark interest in a further exploration of Cuba, or just for the fun of learning about Shawn's fun adventure of learning a new dance.
Jamila - Tacos al pastor, por favor

A fun article talking about the different kind sof tacos. For younger kids, this can be a good article for them to either write a couple sentences on what foods they like, or to ask them what foods in the dispatch they would like to try.


Our Favorite 44-Hour Bus Ride Ever!
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Mexico City
Kidz in La Paz
Mexico City - Then and Now
Plaza of Three Cultures, Much Pain
Abeja and Kavitha...Soap Opera Divas
Mamá Rumba - The Next Best Thing
Tacos al pastor, por favor

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