Hello Mexico City

Author: Rose González

Time: 2 class periods
Photocopy chart for research notes
Materials: Chart, Computers, library resources


In this lesson, students will research and explain the functions, characteristics, and cultural aspects of Mexico City and analyze how they have affected development and settlement. Students will have to have a basic knowledge of research skills by using the Internet, or library resources to find the information they need. The teacher will break up the students into groups of 4, so that most of the necessary information will not take up more than one day to explain. In this lesson, students will gather information to put on a chart that has four major headings. The class will participate in an activity similar to a “Round Robin” discussion to explain each student’s research to the rest of the group. As each student explains his or her portion of the research topic, the rest of the group takes notes to complete their chart.

Students will be able to:
1. Describe the physical features of Mexico City, including its major landforms, water resources, and climate.
2. Explain the cultural and historical characteristics of Mexico City’s language, religion, and art.
3. Explain Mexico City’s main economic activities and natural resources.
4. Describe the city’s population and urban geography.

National Geography Standard
(4) The physical and human characteristics of places.
   4A. Explains a place from a variety of viewpoints.
   4C. Explains how social, cultural, and economic processes shape features of places.
(10) The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of earth’s cultural mosaics.
(12) The processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement.
   12A. Analyzes the functions of cities.

Teacher Background
It would be helpful for the teacher to have a basic knowledge of research sites for students to use on the Internet for quick access. The sites below will be of use. The teacher can choose to go to a computer lab that day or the library to help students gather research.

Related and Resource Websites



Day 1
1. Divide the class into groups of 4 students. Each student will be assigned one research idea to share and explain with the rest of the group once the research is completed. Give each student the chart “Hello Mexico City.” Tell the students that each one will receive one of the following chart topics to research and take notes in one class period:

Cultural Characteristics: In this section students must research and answer the following:

1. What is the predominant language spoken in Mexico City? What other languages are spoken in the city that may not be as common but are still part of the culture and history of the city?
2. What is the major religion practiced in Mexico City? Are there any growing religions or native religions that are notable?
3. Explain the art history of Mexico City, including its architecture, major painters/muralists, and museums.

Economic Activities/Major Resources: In this section students research and answer the following:

1. What are the major industries in Mexico City?
2. How does manufacturing play an important role in the city?
3. What is NAFTA?
4. What infrastructure problems does the city have?
5. What are some of the major natural resources of the city?

Physical Features/Geography: In this section students research and answer the following:

1. What are the major mountain ranges in Mexico City?
2. What are the major waterways/rivers/lakes in the city? Where do residents get most of their drinking water?
3. What is the city’s climate during each season, including special weather patterns that may affect the climate of the city?
4. Explain if there are any unique physical features that might affect the climate of the city.

Population and Urban Geography: In this section students research and answer the following:

1. Explain some of the city’s major functions, including its methods of transportation, major parks, universities, and commercial/industrial areas.
2. What is the average educational level of its residents? Average age?
3. What is the average yearly income of its residents?
4. What is its birthrate?
5. What areas of Mexico City are most densely populated?

Day 2
2. On the second day, students return to their groups and begin their round robin discussion/explanation. The teacher starts with the first research topic and gives all those students with the first topic/second topic, etc., the opportunity to explain their research in increments of 10 minutes each. As each topic is presented, the rest of the group members take notes until the entire chart is completed.

The teacher explains to the class, in the last 10 minutes, that Mexico City is just one example of the various cultural, economic, and physical elements all cities have. Point out that based on these elements, especially their changing and growing needs; cities will have to learn to deal with the problems and issues associated with growth.

Evaluate your chart and identify some of the potential problems and/or issues you see Mexico City will have to contend with in the coming years.

Embedded Assessment
Teacher will evaluate the groups’ charts and research.


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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