Take a Trip South of the Border
Invite your students to learn about the country of Mexico - a country of contrasts. Bring out a map or globe and show the students where the country lies. Mexico City, the most populated city in the western hemisphere, is very modern and looks very much like our big cities in the United States. However, many smaller towns and villages, by contrast, are very different. In the rural areas you may see children riding a burro to school, versus a city school bus like here. Life is simple in the country.
Mexico has further contrasts in the land and climate. It has mountains, jungles, and deserts. Some places are very hot, others cool. While some areas are very dry, others are wet and rainy. Every village has a plaza (town square) with fountains and flower beds. It is usually surrounded by a church on one side and government buildings and shops on the others. Open air markets sell goods in the plaza on weekdays. Fiestas (festivals) are celebrated in the plaza and include parades, music, and fireworks. Vendors stroll the area selling popcorn, fried bananas, flowers, and balloons.
Mexican families area very loyal and religious. Extended families live close together in barrios (neighborhoods). The houses are built around patios (courtyards) where most family activities are held. Children go to school in the mornings, just like we do, and come home to help with chores in the afternoon.