Lesson 1: The Geography of Mexico
1.3a- listen attentively and follow multi-step instructions
2.1d- use grade-level words to indicate time, sequence, location, direction
3.2c- identify and explain relationships
4.5c- describe and compare attributes/characteristics of people, places, things
1) identify the location of Mexico on the globe and on a map.
2) read a map/globe using directional words (cardinal directions): north, south, east, west
3) draw a map of Mexico
a. identifying its capital, and including a few basic land/water features (i.e.-
mountains, oceans, farmed land) using symbols/colors
b. creating a key and rose compass
Rose compass (included below)
Map of Mexico/U.S. with basic land features (included below)
Outline maps for Mexico and United States (included below)
Pictures showing different land features (included below)
Optional: from Discovery Learning “The Five Themes of Geography” video (basic tutorial)
What country were you born in? What countries are your parents/grandparents from?
1) Begin with motivation.
2) List the names of the countries of origin on the board.
3) Show the students a globe. Ask them if they’ve seen one before. Ask them what it’s used
for. What can you find using the globe?
4) Ask if they can find the countries listed above. Can they find the U.S., if not on the list?
5) Ask if they can find Mexico (if not mentioned in #4).
6) If not, point to it. Spin it around and see if they can find it again with classmates' help if
7) TEACHING CARDINAL DIRECTIONS
8) Using Rose Compass teach directions. North, south, west, east.
a. Show the students a compass rose. Explain what the letters N, E, S, and W
represent. Write the letter with its direction next to it on the board.
b. Model directional words using a map, orally and written.
i. Use the countries mentioned during “motivation.” Have students pick a
ii. The teacher describes the relationship of countries around it using cardinal
iii. Write sentences on the board.
c. Students do steps i,ii,iii as a class
d. Now focus on Mexico
i. Students create sentences orally describing the directional relationship
between U.S. and Mexico/Mexico and other countries in North and South
America/Mexico and the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico
ii. Students write sentences on board
1. Mexico is south of the United States. The United States is north of
Mexico. The Pacific Ocean is west of Mexico.
9) DRAWING A MAP
10) Students draw a map of Mexico following the teacher’s model.
a. Show a map of North America/Mexico (included below)
b. Point out the basic shape of Mexico. What shape does it look like? Hook, shoe,
c. Look at the map again. Point out land/water features:
i. Show photographs of these land/water features (included below)
1. Ask if they’ve seen any of these things, here or in their home
2. Oceans, mountains, desert, farmed land
ii. Discuss the amount of farmed land in the U.S. and Mexico
1. Compare/contrast the U.S. to Mexico
2. Write responses on the board
3. Discuss what that means for the people who live in both countries
d. Ask students how you might show mountains, oceans, a capital, etc.
i. How did they show these things on the globe/map?
e. Use blue for oceans, brown for mountains, tan for desert, a star for the capital,
green for farmed land.
f. Model creating a map using Mexico map (included below)
g. Color land/water features.
h. Show students how to make and use a map key/legend. Also show how to draw a
i. Ask students to draw a map of Mexico that includes a rose compass and land
/water features with a key.
Assessment: Students will create a map of Mexico which will include the following:
1) rose compass, key/legend, mountains, desert, water, farmed land
Map Showing Farmed Regions (and other geographical
features) in Mexico and the United States
Outline Map of Mexico
Outline Map of the United States (optional to use as a comparison)
Pictures of Geographic Features from Google Images search