Kids and Educators

For educators | For kids | By kids

For educators

All ages: The Conquest of Mexico by Nancy Fitch. This excellent site is composed of lesson plans based around short extracts from primary sources—textual and visual—accompanied by questions. It's aimed at college students, and maybe bright high-schoolers. But don't let that stop you. Much of the material can be adapted for much younger children. The earlier students understand history is an interpretive and analytical enterprise the better. Even if you don't buy that, visit the site and grab some of the pictures.

Grade 3: The Indians' Discovery of Columbus by Christine Elmore. Despite the catchy title, this 4 to 8-week unit for third grade social studies is entirely about Cortés and the Conquest of Mexico. Elmore has designed a detailed plan, taking advantage of many different modes of learning—map making, role playing, etc. This is clearly quality material, but I'm troubled by the overriding concern for moral and political instruction:

"By presenting the conquest in terms of the 'tragic loss that resulted from the destruction of indigenous culture,' it is hoped that we may increase our awareness of how essential it is to our own American society that we seek to preserve its multi-cultural make-up."

Grade 6–7: "The Spanish Conquest and the Role of La Llorona" by Leni Arnett, Denver School of the Arts. 4–6 week unit grapples with the Spanish conquest of Mexico, particularly Malinche's contribution.

For kids

Ages 9-12:Amazon. Hernando Cortés and the Conquest of Mexico by Gina De Angelis (Explorers of the New World series).

Ages 4–8: Amazon. Hernan Cortés by Thomas Streissguth (Fact Finders Biographies)

3rd grade: Three school reports by Audrey, Jessica and Rande, each with journals and maps, from Ms. Miller's third grade class, Dumfries, VA.

Pocket bios of Montezuma and Cortés, part of a larger Aztecs site, from Nettlesworth Primary School, Durham, UK. Also has an Aztec quiz.

By kids

Hernando Cortez by Emily. Report includes a Quicktime movie with Cortés' head crossing the Atlantic twice (and, incorrectly, dying in Mexico).

5th grade: Keita' short biography , from Mr. Richard's 5th-grade class, from the American School in Japan.

"I think that Hernando Cortés was mean for killing the Aztecs and was very powerful."

Amanda, Courtney, Ashley and Nikki's report (illustrated by Mark) from Ms. Harris Mrs. Glazewski's 6th grade classes at Oak View Elementary School, Fairfax, VA. The students were also asked to write "Excerpts" from the voyage. I enjoyed this passage.

"We finally found a safe place to land the ship. Now I can get some food. Cortés says we went too far south and this can't be America. I think he just named it Mexico. What's this? Smoke! The ship's on fire! Cortés came and said, 'now there's no turning back.'"

9th grade: Hernando Cortez by Bryan Pavlovic, 9th grade student, Willits High School, Willits, CA.

5th grade: Courtney and Kristy (Ms. Louder and Whittemore 5th grade students in Skowhegan, Maine)

Lauren's Cortés report with pictures of her illustration and project—a Cortés doll! Part of a Maya project by sixth graders in Culver City, California. The 6th-grade teachers in Culver City have been using their Macs and iMovie in some impressive ways.

5th grade: Anonymous fifth-grade student, Kalispell, MT, from Famous Explorers .

"The most well known explorer is Christopher Columbus. He was the first one to discover that there was no Northwest Passage."

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may like these others by me:

Machu Picchu on the Web. More than 300 resources about the great "lost city" of the Incas.

Alexander the Great on the Web. Everything you ever wanted to know about Alexander, and pictures too.

Hieroglyphics! Comprehensive guide to Egyptian hieroglyphics.