Mexico Trek Lesson Plans
Outline of Lessons:
Involves students either doing very quick research on Mexico or brainstorming what they already know to share with the class.
For assessment students can be held accountable for a record of their research or brainstorm, as well as for sharing their information with the class either informally or as a presentation.
II.A. From Aztlan to Tenochtitlan
Involves reading Aztec myths about the founding of their capital city.
For assessment students either create their own illustrated version of the story or write a diary as if they were one of the characters in the stories.
II.B. Trip to Tenochtitlan
Involves teacher guiding students through four transparencies of Tenochtitlan as if they were traveling there.
For assessment students can take notes, write post cards as though they were there, and take a quiz.
NOTE: UNITS III VI WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE OVER THE NEXT WEEK!
Lesson I.A. Mexico Jigsaw
(Note: This activity lends itself very well to not only doing Internet-based research, but to having students share their thoughts about the Guidebook section of The Mexico Trek.)
Research / Brainstorm activity
Assessment: Students can either create individual work, share ideas, or present to the class.
A wonderful activity as an introduction is for each student to do a search on the Web about Mexico and have each report to the class on something they learned. This is easily adaptable to the age of the students as young kids can tell about something neat they saw whereas older students can actually do some writing in a brief report, perhaps including images. (If you want to give your students a shortcut, there are numerous Mexico-related sites on the Links page of the Guidebook section.)
The trick is what resources do you have available. The most popular and easiest resource is the Internet. If your time on the Internet is limited, it will take some work on your part to either assemble some materials for the classroom or within your library.
Alternative: simply do a brainstorm where students share on the board a list of everything they know (or think they know) about Mexico. This is nice because it allows you to come back to their list after you finish your studies of Mexico and have them see what was right and wrong and how much more they know now.
Lesson II.A. From Aztlan to Tenochtitlan
(Note: This ties in very well with the Odyssey team's first week in Mexico when they will be posting images of murals about Aztlan and Aztec mythology.)
Readings: The Heart of Copil, and The Eagle of Tenochtitlan (about the founding of the Aztec capital)
Assessment: Students either create their own illustrated version of the story or write a diary as if they were one of the characters in the story.
1) Preview the story for the students by explaining that the Aztecs originally lived in a land they called Aztlan. It was located in what is today northwestern Mexico/southwestern US. This story is about the adventures they had in their travels and how they discovered where they would found their city. (There is information about Atzlan on the History section of the Guidebook section.
2) Have students either read the stories themselves (if age-appropriate) or tell them the story yourself.
3) Review the story using questions you feel are age appropriate.
Lesson II.B. "Trip to Tenochtitlan"
(Note: This ties in very well with the Team's first week in Mexico when they will be visiting what remains of the lakes that surrounded Tenochtitlan and the ruins of the pyramids.
Interactive Lecture using transparencies
Assessment: Students take notes, write post cards as if they were there and writing home, and take a short quiz.
1) Preview this activity for the students with the concept that they are going to travel to the city of Tenochtitan to see the fabulous Aztec capital. They will have to travel through time as well as space. The Aztec capital was one of the five largest cities in the entire world and was incredibly beautiful and well-organized. During today's trip they will visit two key places the market and the main temples.
2) For each transparency, start by having your students just describe what they see, then let them start making sense of it and guessing why it is that way or who the people are, etc. Mix in the questions and info you have here to guide you. You may want the students to take notes after each one.
- Where is US?- Where is Latin America?
- Where is Mexico?- Where were the first people on earth from?
- How did they arrive in the Americas?
- What countries existed in the Americas when the first people arrived? (none)
- What religion did the people of the Americas have? (many)
- What languages did they speak? (not Spanish!)
- What's the largest city in the world? (Tokyo has more people, but Mexico City is still the largest.)
-Does anyone know what the old name was?
- What do you see?- Where are we with respect to contemporary countries?
- Note that the city was built on an island - does anyone know why Tenochtitlan was built here? (They do if you did lesson 1)
- The Aztecs first really took power in 1325
- Columbus arrived in 1492
- The Spaniards under Cortes arrived in 1519 when the Aztecs were at the height of their power.
- If you're having your students take notes, perhaps they should include a copy of the big map for future reference.
c. We're just about to land ­ show Transparency 2: TENOCHTITLÁN DRAWING (Note: This page takes a while to load, so see note above, with Transparency 1)
- What do you see?
- Note - there are two key spots we'll be visiting- one is visible here (the pyramids in center), and the other is not (the market)
- What most amazed visitors to the city (the Spaniards upon their first arrival wrote of this) was the huge size of the Aztec capital: Studies indicate that the population was anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000, with 300,000 perhaps the most likely. It was the fifth largest city in the world at that time.
When they finish, have a few share them for fun
- What do you see here?- to European eyes they had "every kind of fruit imaginable"
- The figure in the center is most likely NOT the emperor (even though that may have been the intention of the drawer, Diego Rivera). The emperor rarely left the palace and when he did he was accompanied by many people and people bowed before him.
It is most likely a judge because there were always numerous judges and soldiers on hand to settle disputes immediately.
- Diego Rivera was the painter.
- When trading, they would haggle on prices there weren't any set prices.
- Students will perhaps note the blood this is a preview of what we will see next
Lesson II.C. Quetzalcoatl: His flight from and return to the Aztecs
(Note: This ties in well with the team's visits to Tula, Mt. Tlaxcala, Malinalco, Chapultepec, El Parto, and Juncos y Canas.)
Readings: The Evil of Tezcatlipoca and The Return of Quetzalcoatl (also to be posted later Thursday) (about one of the most important Aztec gods and confusion about his return when the Spaniards came)
Assessment: Students write an "editorial" debating points from the stories
The objective here is both to provide students with knowledge of important Aztec myths as well as to provide an understanding for the next unit of study ­ The Conquest ­ by having students explore the arrival of the Spaniards from the Aztec perspective.
1) Have the students read The Evil of Tezcatlipoca and The Return of Quetzalcoatl or read the stories to them.
2) Have the students pretend they are writing an editorial for a newspaper (or simply lead a class discussion) on whether they believe it is or is not Quetzalcoatl who has arrived and what the Aztecs should do. (Should they run away? Send him gifts? Try to kill him? Etc.) They can only use information from the stories to support their opinion.
NOTE: UNITS III - VI WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE OVER THE NEXT WEEK!
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