Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Teaching Geography: Workshop 1

Introduction

Programs and Activities: Part 1. El Paso and Ciudad Juárez

Getting Ready 1 (15 minutes)

On the Border

Site Leader: Please prepare an appropriate number of index cards, one per participant, prior to meeting. Half of the cards should have "Mexico" printed on them; the other half should say "United States." As the participants walk in the door, randomly hand each of them a card. Once everyone is present, have everyone whose card reads "Mexico" move to one side of the room, and those whose cards read "United States" move to the other side of the room.

The first part of the workshop will be spent on five to seven minutes of small group work; the remaining time is for large group discussion.

Introduce the activity: "Take a look at the card you received upon entering the meeting space. That is where you live, on either side of the Rio Grande—either in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, or in El Paso, Texas, in the United States. Working in your small groups, take five to seven minutes to briefly answer the following questions":

  • What types of jobs might you hold?
  • Where might you work?
  • What language(s) might you speak?
  • What might be your ethnic background?
  • What might be some of the most difficult things about living so closely to the other country?
  • How would things be different if there were no border between Mexico and the United States?

For the remaining time, discuss your answers with the large group. How are the two groups' answers similar? How are they different? What effect does a border have on the people living nearby?

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