Lesson 705 – The Road from Oaxaca to Chiapas

The states of Oaxaca and Chiapas in southern Mexico are culturally different from the rest of the country. We descend form the mezcal-producing fields of Oaxaca into the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, where the native culture is dominated by women, then on to Chiapas, where a river town is home to ancient peoples and a most unusual carnival celebration.

Learning Objective

Student will learn about the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas in Southern Mexico and the culture of these states.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places, & Environments: G, H

Discussion Prompts

  • How might you compare the matriarchal society of Chiapas with the country you live in? What are some of the differences of matriarchal societies and patriarchal societies?
  • Would you want to be a mask maker? Why or why not? What technical skills would you need to be successful?
  • Discuss what David Yetman means by the “spirit of the fiesta that takes over the town.” What actions might provide evidence of this?
  • What symbolism does the folklorico dress represent in Mexico and how is it an expression of their historical culture? Is there an article of clothing in your region that is representative or symbolic of your culture?

Lesson Activities

  • Compare Oaxaca and Chiapas. What factors distinguish them from the rest of the country and from each other? Demonstrate this in a three-way Venn Diagram.
  • Create a storyboard illustrating the masks and festival celebrations highlighted in the video. Add details describing the processions and celebrations.
  • Create a diagram with instructions that explain how mezcal is made. Make a list of ingredients and steps of how to make mezcal. Create a new twist that is like mezcal but has an added ingredient.
  • Create a scale drawing of the geological hole in the video using the dimensions from the video. Describe and illustrate the animals and plants that live here.


  • archaeological
  • distinct
  • expression
  • geological
  • fiesta
  • incomparable
  • ismus
  • matriarchal
  • mezcal
  • text


In the Americas Season 7 Lesson Episode 5