Social Studies

Humane Borders v. Minutemen

In this lesson, students will compare and contrast the purpose of the organizations Humane Borders and Minutemen using a graphic organizer. After students brainstorm, they will gather their information and create a persuasive essay on the main goals of whatever organization they choose to write about.

To Emigrate or to Stay

In this lesson, students will learn why Mexicans emigrate to the United States and will be able to describe the factors involved in this decision.

Crossing the Line

In this lesson students will locate the southern border, listen to a story about crossing the border, discuss the journey brainstorming push/pull factors that might motivate a person to make such a journey, read recent newspaper articles and synthesize what they have learned in a journal entry. This lesson lasts about 2-3 class periods. Email our Outreach Coordinator Clea Conlin at for the materials.

Borderlands 2000: A Classroom Simulation of the U.S./Mexico Border

In this lesson, students will examine and analyze a wide variety of these cultural mosaics in order to understand foreign" perceptions of conflict and cooperation that will ultimately impact our future international relations and global landscape. Students will participate in a week long simulation of the borderlands and will experience an unequal distribution of classroom resources. They will keep a journal to answer daily reflection questions to help them construe an idea of what the borderlands are like.

Al Otro Lado Movie Lesson

This lesson plan is designed for use with the film "Al Otro Lado". This 60 minute film provides a window into issues along the border between the United States and Mexico. A young Mexican man named Magdiel faces an economic crisis in his fishing town. He is unable to make it as a fisherman, so he considers whether to immigrate to the U.S. illegally or to traffic drugs like many of his friends.

Corridos from Mexico

In this lesson, students will listen to a corrido and read the words of another corrido. Students will discuss the reasons people leave Mexico and the attraction of the United States. As a group, they write a song telling the class why they would leave Mexico.

Classroom "Tianguis" or Marketplace

Students will learn about "the market", a basic economic institution of both pre-Colombian and present day Mexican (Latin American) culture. They will also be taught concepts such as barter, money, value, exchange and work.

Understanding the Mayan Number System

In this lesson, students will illustrate the high cultural level achieved by the Mayans in their pre-Colombian societies by focusing on their system of arithmetic which they perfected in order to study astronomy and calendars.

Artes Americas: Student Activity Packet

This activity packet focuses on the holiday of Christmas within the country of Mexico. Traditions, Costumes and Food are all discussed as a part of culture.

Making Retablos

In this lesson students will make their own retablos, which are three dimensional sculptures contained in a box. Students will use the retablos to illustrate a village scene, legend, story or other common topic. Creating a retablo will help students better understand the culture of the Mexican people.
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