Central America and Mexico Culture

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					                     Central America and Mexico: Culture

Objectives:
Students will be able to…
   1. Identify the main components of Central American and Mexican culture by
       analyzing a Power Point presentation.
   2. Do one of the following:
           a. Identify the influences of Central American and Mexican culture by
               completing a worksheet based on a Power Point.
           b. Identify major holidays of Central America and Mexico by reading web
               pages provided and completing a worksheet.
           c. Identify different foods of Central America and Mexico by completing a
               worksheet based on a Power Point.
           d. Identify important information about Central America and Mexico’s
               economy by reading web pages provided and completing a worksheet.
           e. Identify the religions on Central America and Mexico by reading web
               pages provided and completing a worksheet.
           f. Identify the education systems in Central America and Mexico by reading
               web pages provided and completing a worksheet.
           g. Identify family organization systems in Central America and Mexico by
               reading web pages provided and completing a worksheet.
   3. Summarize what the other groups covered by reviewing the discussion boards.
   4. Compare and contrast the cultures of Central America and Mexico with the
       culture of the United States by completing a Venn Diagram on the Smart Board.

Essential Questions:
1. What is the most practiced religion in Central America and Mexico and how does the
Mexican church affect its society?

Most of Central America's inhabitants are Roman Catholic while only a few are
Protestant. Likewise, in Mexico, 87.9 percent are Roman Catholic while 6 percent are
Protestant. Mexico's Catholic Church has had much influence on the history, attitude,
and cultures of Mexicans and Catholic holidays are celebrated widely. Over time, the
Catholic Church has also had violent confrontations with the people too. Mexico's
constitution in the early 1990s was created to lessen the power of the church and put it
into the hands of the people but this law changed eventually and gave the church more
power again.

2. How does food vary across Central America?

While everyone shares the same basic staples of beans, chiles, tomatoes, rice, and
tortillas, dishes vary greatly within each country. Rural villages mostly eat home cooked
meals, made from produce they grew themselves. More urban areas tend to have more
access to foreign, more modern foods. For example, in Honduras and Panama, North
American foods such as pizza and hamburgers are prevalent in cities. One other notable
difference in food is that El Salvador has much less spice than other South American
countries.

3. Why are family bonds so tight in Mexico?

Because there is so much poverty and hardships in most families, they need to stick
together. Extended families often live in one home, and they try to help each other out as
much as possible. Family members try to find jobs for their relatives, and also gather
together for many holidays. Many Mexican holidays often center around godparents,
which shows another form of family solidarity beyond blood ties.

4. How has Mexican culture changed over the years, in regard to customs and traditions?

The past culture of Mexican has been very traditional and heavily entwined with
community. Family is very important. However, Mexico has long been a war torn
country, and younger generations are beginning to become more independent of their
families to try to change some of the corruption. Nowadays, people still celebrate the old
holidays. The still go to festivals for Cinco de Mayo and el Dia de los Muertos, they just
celebrate in other ways. In addition to eating traditional foods, they have added more
modern foods and beverages, like Pepsi and Coke.

5. How does the daily life of Central America compare to the daily life in America?

In rural areas in Mexico people get up when the sun gets up. Everyone eats a big
breakfast as a family, usually cooked by the matriarch of the family, the woman who runs
the household. The men and women will then go out to the fields or their jobs along with
the older male children. The older female children stay to work around the house and
take care of their abuelito (grandfather) and abuelita (grandmother). The younger
children go to school. In Central America, daily life revolves very much around
upholding family bonds, everybody works together everyday for the common good of the
family.
In America however, we are much more self oriented. In comparison to Central America,
many families do not each breakfast together everyday, much less a big one.

Activities:
   1. First, we will bring up our wikispace on the smartboard. To save time, the
       students will get their macbooks while we are setting up, even though they don’t
       need them just yet. We will also allow them to get some chips and salsa that we
       will bring in. We will use the smartboard to present a powerpoint that gives and
       overview of Central American and Mexican culture.
   2. Next, the students will be put into seven groups. Each group will be assigned a
       topic (Education, Religion, Family, Holidays, Influences, Food, or Economy).
   3. Each group will find their discussion page on our wikispace. On it will be
       instructions for the group. Each group will use either a Power Point or a series of
       web links to complete one of the worksheets found on the main page of our
       wikispace. After completing their worksheet, students will come back to the
       discussion board and post something they learned about their topic.
   4. After each student has posted on the discussion board, we will come back together
      as a class. We will read what students posted, from the smart board, to give the
      students an understanding of all of the topics.

Assessment:
  We will put a blank Venn Diagram up on the Smart Board screen, comparing Mexico
and Central America to the United States. We will ask for volunteers to fill in the
diagram, using the wikispace to find information. For each person who fills in an answer,
we will give them a piece of Mexican candy.

MATERIALS:
Mac books
Smart board
Mexican candy

				
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posted:3/8/2010
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Lingjuan Ma Lingjuan Ma MS
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