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Mexico: Flan, Monarch Butterflies, & Aztecs

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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Mexican Mariachi

Mexican Mariachi

Want to know more about Mexico? Are you a lover of travel, geography teacher, homeschooling or involved parent, student, or life-long learner? In an effort to make world geography more meaningful and memorable, I've compiled all you will need to locate Mexico on a map, cook a Mexican meal, watch YouTube clips on Mexico, color the flag, create a Mexican craft, read a great book about Mexico, and more! This is part of a series of lessons I did with my family while studying various countries from around the world.

Map of Mexico

Map of Mexico

Where is Mexico?

Locate Mexico on this map of North America. Use this map of Mexico to label the capitol, Mexico City. Mark other relevant features (rivers, mountains, famous locations, etc.) if desired. If you'd like to spend a bit more time researching the country, you can add the language, currency, type of government, religion, and/or famous landmarks. Write them on the back of the map. You can easily find all this information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico.

Monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico

Monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico

Fun Facts about Mexico

  • Mexico has an incredible diversity of animal life, but none has a more astounding tale to tell than the monarch butterfly. Each winter, millions of monarch butterflies fly thousands of miles from their summering grounds the United States and Canada to nest in the mountains of the Mexican state of Michoacan.
  • Mexico City is built over the ruins of a great Aztec city, Tenochtitlan, which was built on a swamp. Every year the city is sinking at a rate of 6-8 inches because pumps are incessantly drawing out water for the city's growing population.
  • The red poinsettia (which the Aztecs called cuetlaxochitl) originated in Mexico and is named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico (in the 1820s).
  • One unusual Mayan weapon was a "hornet bomb," which was an actual hornet's nest thrown at enemies during battle.

Info Credit

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Mexico's Flag

Print and color the flag of Mexico and learn the history and meaning of it from www.enchantedlearning.com.

Enjoying our Mexican-themed dinner

Enjoying our Mexican-themed dinner

Mexican Meal

Prepare and serve:

  • Carne Guisada (Mexican beef stew),
  • shredded lettuce with diced tomatoes,
  • refried beans (from a can),
  • guacamole (store-bought),
  • tortillas (store-bought),
  • flan, and
  • hot chocolate with cinnamon or a Mexican soda (like tamarind-flavor).
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Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

2 hours 30 min

3 hours

6-8

Carne Guisada (Mexican Beef Stew)

  • 2 1/2 lbs chuck roast (trimmed of fat and cut in bite-sized pieces)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 1 -2 seeded and minced jalapeno peppers
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Toss the meat pieces with flour, and then brown them quickly in oil in an ovenproof Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, beef stock, tomato paste, cumin and chili powder; bring to a simmer on the stove. Cover the Dutch oven and place in the preheated oven, baking for about 2 to 2-1/2 hours, until meat is extremely tender. Serve as is, on rice, or folded into warm tortillas. (This recipe came from food.com.)
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Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

2 hours 45 min

3 hours

10

Flan (Baked caramel custard)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • sliced fruit (strawberries or other fruit) for optional garnish
Scroll to Continue

Instructions

  1. Heat sugar in a heavy skillet or saucepan, stirring constantly until it melts and turns a dark golden color. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a 4 1/2 cup metal ring mold, swish it around so it evenly coats the bottom of the ring mold. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Stir in milk,1/2 cup sugar, vanilla and orange peel. Place caramel coated ring mold in another pan and place on an oven rack. Pour egg mixture into the ring mold and pour the hottest tap water possible around the ring mold to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 325Ffor close to l hour or until a knife comes out clean. Cool flan on a wire rack and then chill for at least 3 1/2 hours. To unmold the flan, loosen edges with a spatula, slip spatula down the sides to let air in. Place the serving platter over the mold and flip to allow the flan to slip onto the platter. Spoon the caramel that may remain in the mold on top of the flan. Pile sliced fruit in the center and serve. (This recipe came from food.com.)
  2. (Note: If you're short on time, you can buy a boxed mix for flan that is sold near the Jell-o boxes or might be on the Mexican food aisle; however, homemade flan tastes much better.)
Feather headdress Moctezuma II; Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México (modern reproduction)

Feather headdress Moctezuma II; Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México (modern reproduction)

Make Montezuma's headdress

Make Montezuma's headdress. Cut a white paper plate in half. Cut a small 1 -inch semi-circle out of the bottom (cut-part) of the plate. Cut out paper strips long enough to go around your head and overlap 1 inch (about 15 x 1 1/2 inches). Color the paper plate and add dots of glitter glue. Glue or tape feathers around the back of the headdress. Staple the paper strip to the headdress so you can wear it on you head. Find more Aztec activity ideas and book suggestions at http://iijuan12.hubpages.com/hub/ponce-de-leon-aztecs-cortez-conquistadores-homeschool-lesson.

Children's Books We Read About Mexico

  • Barefoot Books Off We Go to Mexico! by Laurie Krebs provides a nice overview of what you might like to see and do when visiting Mexico.
  • Me, Frida by Amy Novesky is about a famous Mexican artist, Frida. This 32 page picture book does a wonderful job of telling about her life and work.
  • Domítíla: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition by Jewell Reinhart Coburn is a folk tale from Mexico that does a good job showing the traditional culture. My girls especially enjoyed this one.
  • Viva, Rose! by Susan Krawitz is the most interesting book we could find on Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution. It's a 240 page chapter book so would need to be a read-aloud for younger children. It follows a 13 year old girl as she searches for her brother, who ran off to join Pancho Villa's army.
  • Mexico!: 40 Activities to Experience Mexico Past & Present (Kaleidoscope Kids Books (Williamson Publishing)) by Susan Milord has wonderful activity ideas and information about Mexico if you would like to spend more time and attention on the country of Mexico. We love this book series!
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Pray for the people of Mexico

To find out about the religious nature of Mexico and specific ways you can pray for the country, go to operationworld.org.

Visit Mexico on YouTube

Mexico: The Royal Tour - Official Trailer

Bienvendido a Mexico - Tour de Mexico

Mexico City

Monarch Butterflies - National Geographic

Other countries starting with the letter M

Would you prefer to study a different country? Try one of these.

Macao

Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic)

Madagascar

Malawi

Malaysia

Maldives

Mali

Malta

Man

Marshall Islands

Martinique

Mauritania

Mauritius

Micronesia

Moldova

Monaco

Mongolia

Montenegro

Montserrat

Morocco

Mozambique

Myanmar

Where is the capital of Mexico?

m-is-for-mexico

Go to around-the-world-in-26-letters to find links to all the countries we "visited." Each webpage features a menu, craft, books, video clips, worksheets, and more!

© 2011 Shannon

I've been to Mexico. Have you been to Mexico yet? - Or just leave note to let me know you dropped by! Thank you for visiting!

Shannon (author) from Florida on September 03, 2012:

@JoyfulPamela2: Great! Thank you!

JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on September 03, 2012:

This will be a wonderful addition to our Aztec studies this year! Thanks!

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