ALEX Lesson Plan


The Art of the Conquest of Mexico

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Mark Coleman
System: Montgomery County
School: Booker T Washington Magnet High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33177


The Art of the Conquest of Mexico


Students will explore two different interpretations of the Conquest of Mexico by the Spanish, one in art and the other in literature. The perspectives of the same events as seen by the Spanish and the Aztecs will be explored. Students will highlight portions of both pieces of art to gain perspective of both sides.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SS2010 (10) United States History I: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution
1. Compare effects of economic, geographic, social, and political conditions before and after European explorations of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries on Europeans, American colonists, Africans, and indigenous Americans. [A.1.a., A.1.b., A. 1.d., A.1.g., A.1.i.]
  • Describing the influence of the Crusades, Renaissance, and Reformation on European exploration
  • Comparing European motives for establishing colonies, including mercantilism, religious persecution, poverty, oppression, and new opportunities
  • Analyzing the course of the Columbian Exchange for its impact on the global economy
  • Explaining triangular trade and the development of slavery in the colonies
  • Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will compare and contrast artistic representations of the Conquest of Mexico in art and poetry.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Teachers may want to print the text of "The Argument" rather than have students read from Web.

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computer lab with Internet access.



    Parents may need to be informed that some of the images in the Diego Rivera mural may be disturbing.



    1) Students will read the text of "The Argument" from The Conquistador by Archibald MacLeish. 

    2) The teacher will explain that the poem was written from the memoirs of a Spanish participant of the Conquest. Discuss the poem in class. The teacher should highlight the sense of adventure in the piece.

    3) Teacher and students will discuss the Diego Rivera mural on the Conquest from Palacio Nacional de Mexico.

    4) Students will use the Pixlr photo editor to crop sections of the Diego Rivera mural that illustrate Cortez's abuse of the Natives. Students will go to the Pixlr Editor and open the image from the following URL:

    Using the crop tool (see attached CropTool.png) students will select a portion of the mural image and crop the image so just the chosen portion remains. The students will choose to "Save" this image as Crop1.jpg (see attached image Save.png). Students will then click Edit and Undo in the Pixlr menu within the browser window (see attached image Undo.png) and crop another section of the mural. 

    5) Students will write a short piece contrasting two excerpted portions of the poem that illustrate the Spanish attitude of the Conquest and the Aztec perspective of abuse and slavery depicted in the cropped images from the mural. The images will be included in the word processing document in a neat and orderly fashion.

    6) Teachers and students will then have a short concluding discussion of the two views of the Conquest and the nature of historical perspective.


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    Assessment Strategies

    A sample rubric for grading the students' word processing documents is attached.




    Students who have difficulty processing written literature may be provided with the text before hand for pre-preparation.

    Student mentoring with the image and the text may be provided for those failing to understand the assignment conceptually.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.