Latin America
Teacher's Guide

January 27, 1999 Update

We have now entered the Mayan world. We have one last report from the North and the Aztecs. Strange happenings in Palenque with the ancient Mayan spirits as well as how we think this culture differs from the Aztec. We also have an evironmental report on repercussions of poverty and a solid introduction to the Zapatista Revolutionaries in Chiapas.

The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Klaus - Climbing in the City of the Gods

This article gives a good historical background on the significance of this site, the major influence on later Aztec culture.

Because it provides a number of intereting facts, try throwing out questions to students for extra credit. They'll most likely be into it!
Jamila - Mayan Mummies of Palenque Were Calling Me!

This is a fun story of Jamila being scared at night from soem mysterious sounds. She asks Abeja what they are from, and when Abeja says "monkeys," Jamila thinks she says "mummies." Oops.

As a fun article, it best prompts a fun activity. A nice simple one is to simply have students share, either written or orally, about a time they have made a silly mistake, or have been scared, or what they would be scared of if they were doing the World Trek.
Team - Heading Back in Time - The Maya

This article is also chock full of facts. It is good as an introduction to the Maya, but also notably for pointing out that both the Aztecs and Maya were themselves heavily influenced by other cultures, even though they are the most famous today.

A variety of foci offer themselves here. If geography is the focus, try having them map out the different areas of influence of the Maya and Aztecs (we provide an example in "Odyssey Maps"). If the focus is more on understanding native cultures, try having students do a web search for info on other indigenous groups as a way of understanding the great diversity of people that existed. If the focus is stricly on the Maya, have them review the facts, and click on over to the "Guidebook" and in some way share the most interesting fact they learn therein.

From Riches to Rags

Here Abeja provides a good introduction into the plight of the modern Maya. She raises questions about how it came to be that many descendents of the great Maya empire today live in great poverty. She also provides a brief intro to the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Rigoberta Menchu.

For older students, this article is a great segway into a broad comparison of modern day crisis with the fall of the Maya. What do students fear as the greatest threat to our general well-being and the security of the environment? How might future people look back on our different societies?
Kavitha - Kids at Work, No Time for School

This article is IDEAL for youth. Kavitha introduces some of the poverty-related issues that Maya descendents face today by focusing on the impact on children, and their lost opportunites at childhood and formal education.

Students will go off on this one if given the chance. An oral discussion ofthe rights of children is perfect. Ask students if they should be compelled to go to school (that ought to wake them all up!). Ask if they should have the right to work, and at what age? Ask if it should be alright for parents to compel their kids to work. Etc.
Kavitha - Pro-Zapatista Graffiti and More

A very solid introduction to the Zapatista Revolutionaries fighting in Chiapas, with a nice chronology of the movement's development.

This activity offers a great opportunity to have kids go outside of the site to see what other information they can find. For starters, there is a good link to a Mexico Trek dispatch from the Team that has mor great info. Have them see how many sites they can find, or have them rank their favorite two or three and explain why.
Shawn - Consequences of Stripping the Land

Shawn provides a solid intor to some of the environmental repercussions of poverty, and of their reinforcing effect on poverty. Lots of good statistics.

To help students understand the way poverty and environmental destruction feed into each other, try having them create a picture or chart demonstrating the feedback between the two, and have them include specific examples from the article.


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