Lesson 603: Mexico City: 600 years of Urban Glory

Six centuries ago, the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlán, now Mexico City, was the world’s grandest urban center and its market the world’s busiest. Now home to more than 20 million souls, Mexico City’s museums, monuments, galleries, public celebrations, and vast ethnic mix reflect its past and present glories, and make it Latin America’s most vibrant city.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the historical and political highlights of Mexico City, including the art it is famous for.

Social Studies Standards

Culture: C, D, E

Discussion Prompts

  • Why has the sprawling metropolis of Mexico City expanded so dramatically over the last two decades? What factors may have contributed to this? Would you live there? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think Frida Kahlo is more popular than Diego Rivera in some countries? Whose paintings do you respond to the most and why? What do they represent to you? 
  • The video discusses art markets that feature art that is temporary and won’t last beyond the day. What is the purpose of this? Do you believe it is worth the time to create if it will only last a day? Why or why not? Support your perspective.
  • Mexico City has 23 million people and is one of the largest cities in the world. Compare that with the town or city where you live. How does city population and size influence daily life?

Lesson Activities

  • Research Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and explain why they are culturally and politically important in Mexico. Create a collage that shares your facts.
  • Draw an illustrated timeline with historical notes of the Mexico City monuments mentioned in the video.
  • Invent a new board game that increases cultural awareness about Mexico and showcases the symbolism in Quintessential Mexico. Incorporate music, fireworks, tequila, skeletons and agaves into the game.
  • In the video they talk about how the agave plant is made into a popular drink. Select a plant, tree or flower from your region or culture that could be used to make a drink. List the ingredients that will help make the drink taste good. Create a marketing advertisement that promotes the new healthy local drink in the video as an example.


  • acclaimed
  • array
  • axis
  • commemorates
  • capitalists
  • denounced
  • engulfed
  • feminism
  • muralist
  • urbanized


In the Americas Season 6 Lesson Episode 3