The Topic:

Easier - Mexico is part of the continent of North America and lies between the United States (to its north) and Central America (to the south). It is the northernmost country of Latin America. The Rio Grande River forms about two-thirds of the boundary with the United States. The population of the country is about 104 million people. About one-third live in or near Mexico City, the capital city and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. Mexico city is the seat of government and the center of the nation's commerce, finance and the arts.
The wealth of Mexico comes from its land and its people. Precious metals are found in the mountain ranges and rich crops are grown in the valleys between. Oil is pumped from coastal wells. More than half of the population still live and work on the land today.
Harder - Mexico is a land of varied landscapes and changing climate conditions. Few countries have as many contrasts within such short distances. High plateaus, mixed with deep valleys and towering mountains account for about two-thirds of Mexico's land. Tropical rain forests, arid deserts, and lush fertile valleys support a wide range of plant and animal life. Mexico is rich with minerals making it a leading producer of silver. The country also has significant deposits of copper, gold, lead, salt, sulfur, and is a major exporter of oil and petroleum products.
Understanding Mexico requires knowing something of its long history. For hundreds of years, Indians of Mexico built large cities, developed a counting system and calendar, and a form of writing. The last Indian empire, the Aztecs, was conquered by Spanish invaders in 1521. For the next 300 years, Mexico was a Spanish colony. Spain took much of Mexico's riches, but they introduced changes in farming, government, industry, and religion. During this colonial period, descendants of the Spaniards ruled Mexico keeping the native people poor and uneducated. However, a third group of people evolved during this colonial era; people with both Indian and Spanish ancestors who were known as mestizos. Today the people of Mexico are mainly mestizos. Most take pride in their mixed heritage of white and Indian ancestry.
Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. Almost a century later in 1910, a social revolution began. People struggled for economic progress and social justice. Huge, privately owned estates were seized by the government and divided among millions of landless farmers. A national school system was established; hospitals and housing projects were built. In the 1940's, government backed the development of manufacturing and industry and petroleum production. However economic and social development in Mexico has not kept pace with population growth. A large number of its people still live in poverty today.
Ancient Mexico
Here's a beautiful site dedicated to the art and culture of Mexico's Maya and Aztec Indians. The site includes an informative bibliography, a brief overview of some of the Aztec and Mayan gods and goddesses, and excerpts from first-person historical sources, such as a letter from Hernando Cortes, who conquered the Aztecs, to the king of Spain.
Related Websites:
2) Archaeological Treasures
3) Aztecs from eduScapes 42eXplore
4) Maya from eduScapes 42eXplore
5) Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries
6) Search for the Lost Cave People from PBS NOVA
7) Tour Of Chichén Itzá
Discovering Mexico from National Geographic
“Mexico is struggling. This country, 756,000 square miles of deserts, forests, highlands, volcanoes, endless seashores, and trembling earth, populated by 95 million people, is classified in the jargon of world economics as a ‘developing nation.’ ” In other ways Mexico is poised to emerge as a world leader.
Related Webpage from National Geographic:
2) Map of Mexico
Mexico for Kids
Offered in both Spanish, English, French, and Italian languages, this site is a good starting point for learning about Mexico.
Other Great Starting Points for Kids:
2) Kokone (en Español)
3) Meet Mexico from the Embassy of Mexico to the UK
4) Mexico: A Country Study from the Library of Congress
5) Mexico from CIA World Factbook
6) Mexico from World Almanac for Kids
7) Zoom School Mexico from Enchanted Learning
Mexico Online
This site is a comprehensive online guide to Mexico including the country, its people, its culture and places to visit or live.
Related Websites:
2) Culture and Society of México (FAQ)
3) Explora Para Niños México (en Español)
4) Inside Mexico Video
5) Mexico
6) Mexico from Los Angeles Unified School District
7) Mexico from Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC), Univ. of Texas at
Austin (Huge links-site)
8) Mexico Channel
9) Mexico Connect
10) Web de Mexico (en Español) from the University of Guadalajara
You may also want to visit these related websites: (1) Cinco de Mayo and (2) Latino - Hispanic Heritage as well as previously cited (3) Aztecs, and (4) Maya - - all from eduScapes 42eXplore.
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of the following projects:
Complete A Mexico WebQuest. Adapt or follow the procedures found at these webQuests sites:
1) Let's Visit Mexico by M. Downey
2) Life in Mexico (Grades 5-8) by K. Wathen
3) Mexico WebQuest (Grade 6) by R. Fougha, D. Kerwien, & M. Scanlon
4) Take a Trip to Mexico (Grades 9-10) by J. Dawson, J. Hill, P. Hughes, M Kerekes, S.
Pryor, R. Stone, & W. Terral
Imagine Your Family Being Suddenly Relocated. A little known and tragic chapter in U.S.-Mexico history was the repatriation of thousands of Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans. It is estimated that more than one million people were forced to return to Mexico including many who were born in the United States. Learn about this at these websites:
1) Mexican Americans and Repatriation by R.R. McKay from The Handbook of Texas Online
2) Mexican Repatriation from the United States, 1929-1939 by J.L. Chinea
3) Repatriation in San Antonio
4) Repatriation in San Antonio - Conclusion
5) What Happened During the Repatriation of Mexicans from San Diego? from San Diego
Chicano History
You also might enjoy reading an award-winning book by Pam Muñoz Ryan's that deals with repatriation during the Great Depression; it is titled Esperanza Rising. Or write your own fiction story about being "returned to Mexico" and the changes you would expect.
Create A Mural About Mexico Life. Using what you have learned about life in Mexico, create a mural that focused on that country. Incorporate images that reflect the history, environment, culture, and/or artistry of the land and its people. Display your completed artwork.
Prepare A Mexican Fiesta Meal. Many people enjoy eating Mexican food. Visit several of the food and recipe sites to learn more and identify traditional recipes; then prepare your own fiesta meal.
1) Food & Nutrition: Mexico from Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC),
University of Texas at Austin
2) La Cocina Mexicana
3) Mexican Cookery
4) Mexican Cuisine and Cooking
5) Tortillas from Mexico Trek
Take A Virtual Trip to Mexico. First, visit several of the travel sites on Mexico. Then begin planning a ten-day trip to the country. Select the locations that you would like to see and activities that you are interested in. In your planning consider the methods of transportation, meals and lodging, the details of your itinerary. Also determine the dates for your travel and all costs for the trip. Use a spreadsheet to organize and display your travel plans. Consider including photographs from various websites to visually complete your virtual trip.
Write A Story About Border Life. Have you ever crossed a border into another country? Have you ever crossed into Mexico or from Mexico to the U.S? Think about what you might feel when crossing into a different country. If you do not live close to the U.S. -Mexico border, you can learn more by visiting sites like these . . .
1) Beyond the Border - Más Allá de la Frontera from PBS
2) Border from PBS
3) Border
4) Mexican Kids Pay for Tighter Border by J. Watson from The Salt Lake Tribune
5) New Frontier from Time
6) Tunnel Kids from Y-Press
7) United States-Mexico Borderlands/Frontera by Anzaldua from the Smithsonian
8) U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Program: Border 2012 from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
9) U.S.-Mexico Border: It's Obsolete from Wired News,1284,45857,00.html
10) US / Mexico Border Outreach Project
Then write a short story, focusing on an aspect of border life.
Websites By Kids For Kids
Mexico: A History of Wonders (1999 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
Learn about the history of Mexico.
Mexico for Kids (Grade 2) from Pocantico Hills School, Sleepy Hollow, NY
Learn about our Spanish-speaking neighbors at this great website featuring activities, stories, maps, and more to bring this country to life.
More Websites
Alegria: Regional Dances of Mexico
Navigate with a clickable map to learn about the dance, music, and costumes of different regions in Mexico.
Artes e Historia México
This links-site connects to Mexican museums online (Many en Español —with some English).
Bullfighting in Mexico by D.G. Ruiz$.html
This activity is abhorred by many but considered an art by some fans, begin learning about the controversial practice at this pro-bullfighting website. Warning: Some of these websites describe or show graphic details. Young learners should access only with adult guidance and approval.
Related Websites:
Battle to the Death: Mexican Bullfighting . . .
Bullfighting: A Tradition in Tragedy
Conquest of Fear - Latino Style
Cross-border Tensions Mount over Bullfighting
Mexican Bullfighting
More Mexicans find Cruelty, Not Allegory, in Bullring by R. Chacon from Boston Globe
Charrería from Handbook of Texas
Charrería, the national sport of Mexico and a forerunner of the North American rodeo, originated among the Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century.
Related Website:
Charrería from San Antonio Charro Association
Day of the Dead from Mexico Connect
Here you find a series of articles and photos of this holiday.
Related Website:
Days of the Dead from PBS
Diego Riera Web Museum
Diego Rivera's legacy to modern Mexican art was decisive in murals and canvas; he was a revolutionary painter looking to take art to the big public, to streets and buildings, managing a precise, direct, and realist style, full of social content.
Related Website:
2) Identificacion de Personajes
Folklore/Customs/Traditions from CLNet
This site connects to websites for holidays, arts, food, festivals, and more on Mexico. Contains some dead links.
Holidays of Mexico from KidLink . . .
This site briefly identifies a number of Mexican holidays.
Let's Go 2 Mexico
This site for information on travel to Mexico includes lodging, transportation, locations, activities and more.
Related Websites:
2) BorderLinks
3) Exploring Mexico's Mightiest Canyon - Deeper than the Grand! by G. Ziegler from GORP
4) Exploring the Sea of Cortez by R. Mader
5) Interactive Mexico Travel Information from Tony Perez Communications
6) Mexico from Columbus World Travel Guide
7) Mexico City Virtual Guide
8) Mexico Road Rules: Twelve Tips for Travel South of the Border by W.B. Kaliher from
9) Mexico Travel
10) Puebla
11) Travelers Guide to Mexico
12) Visit Mexico
La Jornado (en Español) from Atoyac Mexico
This is a site for the first Mexican newspaper on the Web.
Mexican Music
At this site you can download and listen to some traditional music of Mexico.
Related Websites:
1) Mariachi Publishing Company
2) Puro Mariachi!
3) What is Mariachi? by C. Collins from Mexico Connect
Mexico Maps from Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at University of Texas at Austin
Here you can access the collection of maps for Mexico.
Other Map Sites:
2) 1500-1999-Military Battles and Campaigns-Index of Maps of Mexico from American Memory Project-Map Collections . . .
3) Maps of Mexico from Mexico Channel
Mexico's Popocatépetl: To Flee or Not to Flee by D. Smith from National Geographic News
Government trucks racing through village streets blaring warnings didn't do it. Neither did clanging church bells , or soldiers begging residents to leave. Not even the sight of ash , smoke , and large , red-hot rocks shooting 650 feet (200 meters) into the sky could convince thousands of Mexicans that the time finally had come to flee Popocatépetl , the " friendly volcano. Read about it in this "Eye in the Sky" article.
Related Websites:
2) Mexico (Volcanoes) from Volcano World
3) Popocatépetl from the Global Volcanism Program
4) Popocatépetl Volcano from Mexico for Kids' Myths and Stories
5) Popocatépetl Volcano, Mexico from U.S. Geological Survey
Mexico Web
This is a comprehensive Internet guide for information on Mexico.
Oaxaca Collection from Augusta State University
The site features units for Spanish teachers and students on the people, culture, and language of Oaxaca. Each unit features vocabulary support, exercises, a live notebook, and engaging text and pictures.
Sistema Internet de la Presidencia (Office of the Presidency, en Español)
This site offers access to all Mexican Government web pages.
Related Government Sites:
2) Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs
3) Mexican Ministry of Tourism
Shared Experience by M.L. Sánchez from Armadillo
Along the Lower Rio Grande, a distinctive heritage corridor exists from Laredo to Brownsville and from Colombia to Matamoros. Learn about this international river corridor along the Texas-Mexico border.
Transnational Working Communities
People migrating between the U.S. and Mexico and Guatemala belong to transnational communities - they retain ties to their communities of origin, and establish new communities in new areas as they migrate in search of work.
Related Websites:
2) Engendering Change: The Long, Slow Road to Organizing Women Maquiladora Workers by
J. Light from CorpWatch
3) What is a Maquiladora?
More Mexico History Sites
Conquest of Mexico by P. Rashkin
This site summarizes the cataclysmic meeting of two high civilizations that played itself out in Mexico in 1519-21.
Related Websites:
2) Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico from the Modern History Sourcebook
3) End of an Empire: The Spanish Conquest of Mexico by B. Hulse from The Concord Review
Historical Text Archive: Mexico
Here is a large and varied collection of articles on Mexico.
Related Site from Historical Text Archive:
2) Mexico/The Revolution
Mexican Independence by W.L. McKeehan from the Sons of Dewitt Colony Texas
Learn of the people and events that led Mexico to freedom from Spain.
Mexican War from Texas Trails
This site provides a detailed summary of the war between the U.S. and Mexico.
Related Websites:
2) Message of President Polk, May 11, 1846
3) Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo from Monterey County Historical Society
Mexico's Fighting Irish by G. Thompson
For the United States Army they were more hated than the vilest enemy soldier — traitors, deserters, defectors. They are best forgotten. For Mexicans they were – and are – gratefully remembered as heroes, patriots and martyrs; men who followed their conscience and sacrificed their lives defending Mexican honor and sovereignty.
Related Websites:
2) San Patricios Mexico's Fighting Irish
3) San Patricios - The Irishmen Who Died for Mexico
Mexico from Empire to Revolution from Getty Research Institute
This exhibit displays the work of some thirty known photographers alongside that of many others who remain anonymous. Together they provide a chronicle of Mexico from approximately 1857 to 1923.
Selected Biographies
Websites For Teachers
Border Art: a Unit of Study of Artworks Responding to the Border Between the United States and Mexico (Grades 9-12) by J. Grochowski[0]=440
Immigration and migration occur for a myriad of reasons and young people need to understand these.
Related Lesson:
2) Borders: A Multi-Dimensional Approach (Grade 6-12) by K. Whistler[0]=442
Calculating the Exchange Rates between the United States and Mexico (Grades 7-8) by R. Steel from University of New Mexico[0]=447
Students will demonstrate their ability look up the daily exchange rates on the Internet as well as their ability to mathematically calculate the exchange rates between the two countries by going on mock vacations to both destinations.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! from Education World
September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. This lesson plan article offers a piñata full of activities that will help teachers focus attention on the contributions of people of Hispanic heritage to the history of the United States.
Discovering Foods of Mexico (Grades 5-6) from PBS
This lesson accompanies a video program and looks at foods associated with the "Days of the Dead Celebration." Students compare and contrast these foods to the foods associated with American celebrations and examine their relationship to the USDA Food Pyramid.
Related Lesson from PBS:
2) Two Worlds Meet - The Spanish Conquest of Mexico (Grades 9-12)
In Your Classroom from National Geographic's Discovering Mexico
Students look at Mexico from a geographer’s point of view.
Related Lesson from National Geographic:
2) United States / Mexico Border (Grades 9-12)
Learning about Mexico: Making and Using Salt Dough Human Puppets in the Classroom (Grades 6-9) by N. Smith[0]=471
This lesson plan was designed to show students how to make hand held human puppets in the study of Mexico.
Planning a Mexican Fiesta in the Classroom (Grades K-4) by K. Zahn from AskERIC . . .
This lesson is designed to be a closing activity on a unit about Mexico. The students and their families celebrate Mexico's culture by planning and partaking in a fiesta , held in the students' classroom.
Related Lesson from AskERIC:
2) Mexico - Language and Literature (Grades 3-4) by A. Jones, K. Kemper & L. Scarbrough . . .
Viva Mexico! (Grades K-2) by J. Hensen from Metropolitan State University
In this unit, students compare Mexican Independence Day to Independence Day in the United States. Students also compare the flags of the United States and Mexico. They will experience songs, games, dances, folk art, and tales from Mexico.
Related Lesson from Metropolitan State University:
2) Mother Culture of Mexico: The Olmecs (Grade 6) by D. Villescas
Where o' Where Can My Pen Pal Be From? (Grade 3) by M.L. Hofmann from Lesson Plans Page
Students will utilize different global representations: maps, gloves, & atlases, research different geography of Mexico, incorporate climate, land uses, etc. into a culminating representation of the topography of Mexico, and familiarize themselves with the political boundaries of Mexico.
Why is there Pollution in Mexico City? (Grades 9-12) by A. Arsenault & D. Forsyth[0]=427
This unit employs a holistic approach to explore the causes of air pollution in Mexico City.
Latino - Hispanic Heritage
Mexican American War
Battle of Puebla
mural art
Cinco de Mayo
Mexico City
Mexican repatriation
Days of the Dead
Gulf of Mexico
Mexico National Anthem
Copper Canyon
border crossing
map of Mexico
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 5/03.