Teacher Tips
The Mexico Trek!


August 15, 1998 Update


What’s in the August 15 site?

They're off! The Odyssey's Mexico Trek team left San Francisco Saturday, August 15, to start making their way south to Mexico City. They'll arrive there on Wednesday. Along the way, they'll check out Aztlan, where the Aztecs came from, a region that is today the southwest United States and northern Mexico.

The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Friday, August 14  
Team: Getting a taste of Mexico

The team did a walking mural tour in San Francisco, CA, a city influenced greatly by Mexican culture. They preview some of the ideas that wil be explored in Mexico, including the father of Mexican Indepencence and the Aztec capital.

This is a good time to whet the students' appetite for what is to come. You can stir their interest by seeing what they know about Mexico, and perhaps to see if any know about the Aztecs, Mexico, or even Cesar Chavez who is mentioned here. One possibility is to have students in groups create lists of everything they know about either Mexico, or the Aztecs (or if more advanced, about Mexican Independence). They can keep these to compare later how much they have learned. Have each group share and see how the lists compare. (And nobody has an excuse for not coming up with some things, no matter how trivial (The Aztecs ate food," "Mexican Independence made Mexicans more independent," etc.!)
Team: Right on, free t-shirts!

The team wrote a two-paragraph reflection on the work it's taken to launch The Odyssey and the challenges that lie ahead.

Part of what students like about The Odyssey is feeling connected with the Trekkers. So this is a good chance to develop that connection. Try having the students read more about the Trekkers (perhaps see how quickly they find this info on their own) and write a quick paragraph about which Trekker they like most or most identify with and why.
Team: Cesar Chavez - A man for the people

Inspired by a mural they saw in San Francisco, the team write a brief essay on the life of Cesar Chavez.

Because there is a lot of information, this article lends itself to a more traditional activity like asking factual questions afterward, or having the students create their own quizzes for each other based on the article. Or it can be extended to have students write about someone they admire. Or deeper still, students can reflect on why some people devote their lives to causes like Chavez and why others choose other professions. What is admirable about the life Chavez chose?

Monica - Thoughts of food, music andů pollution?

This whole Trek is about expanding people's understanding of another culture, another space in the world. Here Monica shares some of her own stereotypical ideas about Mexico, both the positives and negatives.

This report ties in well with the activity described above for "Getting a taste for Mexico." Here students are encouraged to share their own stereotypes, or stereotypes of Mexican culture in general. This is useful to hold on to and explore later when students' knowledge has increased dramatically about Mexico. A great activity is to have students pretend they live in a make-believe country (or they are aliens) and see what they would think of their own culture if all they knew about it was what they see on TV or read in the paper, etc. This is not easy, but if necessary you can make their homework to watch TV that night and see wht they come up with. Could be the first time they thank you for giving homework!
Shawn - Feeling overwhelmed getting ready, Shawn?

Shawn looks ahead to the Trek and reflects on the challenges of launching the technical end of things. It's good for helping the students understand this trek is for real, and these are real people!

Silvia - Mexican culture and murals

Silvia gives her own perspective on what she expects. This is helpful again for the students to get to know the Trekkers, but is also important because Silvia is the Trekker who will be living and working with Casa Alianza, a group that works with homeless youth in Mexico City. So it's good to help orient students about what is coming up.



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