The month of April had us visiting MEXICO for our Geo Trecker’s groups! We had a lot of fun reading books, playing games, and eating snacks! This was my last Geo Trecker’s group, as I left the library at the end of April to take a position at the local Pregnancy Resource Center. Sorry I will not be able to provide you with any more lesson plans, but hopefully you have been able to use the ones I have given to you . . . and you will be able to proceed with confidence and make your own Geography Club plans for whatever country you want to visit!
Here are the lesson plans for the month of April.
Lesson Plans over Mexico
Hola! Welcome to Geo Treckers for the month of April! This month, we are in the country of Mexico. Does anyone know where Mexico is? What continent is it on? Show Mexico on the map of the United States, and show where it is in relation to the United States. Let’s talk about some fun facts about Mexico. First, let’s watch a short video about Mexico.
Read “Look What Came from Mexico” by Miles Harvey
- Show Flag — A long time ago, the Aztecs were looking for a new place to build a city. According to legend, the Aztec god told them to build their city where they found an eagle carrying a snake on a cactus. They found this eagle on a cactus in a huge swampy area. Even though it was not an ideal place for a city, they built their city on this small, swampy island and named it Tenochtitlan. This area eventually became Mexico City and the picture of the eagle carrying a snake and sitting on a cactus is displayed in the center of the Mexican flag.
- Mexico City is built over the ruins of a great Aztec city, Tenochtitlán. Because it is built on a lake, Mexico is sinking at a rate of 6 to 8 inches a year as pumps draw water out for the city’s growing population.
- Mexico is the largest Spanish speaking country in the world.
- The northern part of Mexico is a desert and the southern part is a tropical rain forest. Most people live in central Mexico.
- Mexicans take sports very seriously. In the past, losers of a ritual ball game would be put to death! They still have dangerous sports today such as bullfighting and rodeo. Mexico City has the largest bullfighting ring in the world – seats 48,000 people. Bullfighting was brought to Mexico by Spanish conquerors.
- Mexican music is often played with guitars. There are also strolling bands called Mariachi.
Watch this sample of Mariachi music and dancers:
Let’s try our hand at some Mariachi song and dance! We are going to dance around this sombrero to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance. (Place a sombrero in the middle of the room. Have the kids stand in a circle around it. Teach them simple steps: hands up then down, up then down, as they dance around) Music (for song & motions the kids can try to follow:)
- Many homes in Mexico contain not just the parents and children, but grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins! Also, children have 2 last names, their father’s last name is the first part, and their mother’s last name is the second part.
- A Mexican tamale called the zacahuil is three feet long and weighs about 150 pounds!
- The Chihuahua is the world’s smallest dog and is named for a Mexican state.
- One unusual Mayan weapon was a “hornet bomb,” which was an actual hornet’s nest thrown at enemies during battle.
Read “When Senor Grillo Met Senor Puma” (A Tarahumara Tale) from “Whiskers, Whales & Wings: Animal Folktales from Mexico” by Judy Goldman.
- As the first video mentioned, Mexico is located in the “Ring of Fire,” one of the earth’s most violent earthquake and volcano zones. Watch this video about a trip across this Ring of Fire:
- Texas was a Mexican province which declared its independence from Mexico in 1836, resulting in war with the United States.
- The largest pyramid in the world is the Great Pyramid of Cholula in Mexico. It is also the largest monument ever constructed in the world.
- A Fiesta is a festival that celebrates a holiday such as Cinco de Mayo and the Day of the Dead.
Cinco de Mayo: Means May 5 (celebrated on May 5), celebrates the victory of the Mexicans over the French in a battle in 1862. It is also becoming a popular holiday in the United States to celebrate Mexican culture.
Day of the Dead: Celebrated on Nov. 1 & 2 (it is not Halloween), and it is a time to remember family members and friends who have died.
Let’s Play a Couple Cinco de Mayo games!
Play Sombrero Pass: Have the kids sit in a circle. Play Mexican music while they are passing a sombrero around the circle. When the music stops, whoever has the sombrero is out of the game. The last person in the circle is the winner (maybe have a prize?)
Play Mexican Hat Dance Relay: Divide the kids into 2 teams. Have a sombrero at one end of the room. Kids have to run to the Sombrero, do a “Mexican Hat Dance” around the sombrero, and then run back. Which team can finish first?
Snack Craft: Sombrero hat cookies. Give each kid a sugar cookie and gumdrop. They use frosting to stick the gumdrop on and to decorate around the edges of the sugar cookie. Use colored sprinkles to further decorate the cookie.
I also made a “Mexican Lasagna”. I found the recipe here. I was able to make it in the morning and stick it in the crockpot, and it was ready to go for both groups. The second group, however, had soggier tortillas because the food sat longer in the crockpot. Most of the kids really liked this recipe. Note: I did not use onions, and I used regular ground beef instead of ground turkey. My own kids asked me to make this for them again, so I would say the food was a hit!
All year, there has been a family from Mexico that attended my second group. They were really looking forward to this month! We all had a nice treat, as they brought in an authentic Mexican dish for us to sample – mole!
Study volcanoes and the ring of fire. Try to make your own volcano.
Make a flag of Mexico out of legos, construction paper, food, or anything else you have on hand!
Make a map of Mexico.
Make a Mexican meal. Find links to some fun recipes here: http://www.dltk-kids.com/world/mexico/recipes.htm
Learn to count to ten in Spanish.
Plan a special Cinco de Mayo celebration! Make a piñata to go along with your celebration!
Listen to Mexican music.
Make a Mexican mask. Find a printable template for a Mexican wrestling mask here: http://www.freekidscrafts.com/mexican-wrestling-masks/
Use a cup and a plate to make your own sombrero: http://artsymomma.com/sombrero-craft-for-kids.html or make sombrero cookies: http://www.clevercraftycookinmama.com/2013/05/cinco-de-mayo-sombrero-cookies.html#.WPokX_nyuvE
Study bullfighting. What do you think about this sport? Write a persuasive essay sharing your thoughts.
Find some more fun activities and craft ideas here: http://www.childfun.com/themes/world/mexico/
I hope you have enjoyed my lesson plans this year. I had a fabulous time leading this group. It was so much fun working with the families and showing the kids that there are so many different places in our wonderful world! It is sad to leave the library, but I know I am going to be doing exactly what God wants me to do. I have volunteered at the Pregnancy Care Center for the past six years, and being a part of the staff there is an honor. Please pray for me as I serve God in this way! If you are interested in the ministry that I will be joining, you can find out all about us here.