Posts tagged tenochtitlan

Course 3 Reflection and Lesson Plan



So far Course 3 has had the greatest impact on my teaching. I was finally able to use the image I had chosen for week two’s task of finding an image to include in a lesson. I have been amazed at how interesting the students have found Diego Rivera’s Great City of Tenochtitlan. They have made some really wonderful connections between the market scene in the mural, and those that they have experienced themselves in different parts of the world, from Bali to China to right here in our own city in Indonesia. Their favorite detail has been the severed arm. They were able to discuss so many more aspects of the mural than I thought they would. I find myself wondering (and looking forward to) how I am going to find such interesting images for all of the topics we are going to cover in Social Studies this year.


Each year our middle school students go on a week-long trip that is geared toward exposing them to some sort of cultural or natural aspect of our host country. Last year they went to see orangutans in the north of Sumatra. This year they are heading to the island of Java to take in the heritage site of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple at the time of its construction in the 9th Century. When they return they are required to share their adventure with the community at one of our monthly Community Time meetings.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I found the digital storytelling assignment to be my favorite. So with that in mind, for the final lesson plan, I have the students working on creating a personal narrative using VoiceThread as a way to share their experience of the trip.  I have taken the Language Arts aspect of the assignment, and our Performing Arts teacher has taken the same idea and tweaked it to meet his standards. My own digital story was created using VUVOX, but I chose VoiceThread for the student project because I really like the idea that their friends or family members that live back in the U.S. could leave them an audio comment.



My 5th grade Social Studies class will be starting a chapter about how people first arrived in the Americas, with a brief look at natives tribes from across North America. This a general review (the students have looked at native tribes more in depth in 4th grade) as they prepare to move into the unit on exploration and settlement of the Americas.

The objectives for the first lesson are:

  • Summarize how people first came to the American continents.
  • Describe some important civilizations that developed in North America.

I have chosen an image from Diego Rivera’s mural The Great City of Tenochtitlan housed in the National Palace in Mexico City. The mural is divided into three sections, which depict indigenous culture, the conquest by the Spaniards, and Mexico’s fight for Independence. The section I will show depicts an Aztec marketplace with a view of the city in the background.

I thought this would be a good image to get the students thinking about the complexity of indigenous established before the explorers arrived, while addressing the objective about important civilizations.

The Great City of Tenochtitlan by Diego Rivera Photograph by Travis S.

Lesson 30 minutes

Students will view the image and answer guiding questions.

  • What do you notice or what stands out to you?
  • Where in the world is this?
  • What is the era or time period?
  • Who do you think the man sitting alone with the fan is?
  • Where does this scene take place?
  • Can you compare or contrast it to anything you know of or have experienced?

A class discussion will follow for students to share their responses to the image.

To wrap up, I will share information about Diego Rivera and the mural.

The Art and Times of Diego Rivera

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Tenochtitlan Thematic Essay

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