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La Frontera


Students study vocabulary and create visual displays depicting various aspects of the border created with the Gadsden Treaty of 1853--the New Border--and its impact on future development. Each student will prepare graphic organizers to remember and demonstrate key ideas.


Students will recognize that the formation of and changes to the border have a significant impact on all aspects of life in the region. They will become familiar with some of the ways the border has changed over the years and understand the impact these changes may have had on local people.


  1. Students will:
    1. Identify historical borders, time periods, and governmental authority.
    2. Focus on 1853-present to understand border interdependency.
  2. Investigate interdependency created at the Border and state political, economical, technological and social problems created beginning in 1853.
    1. Discuss how problems were addressed.
  3. Discuss current Border Issues
    1. Explore possible solutions


  1. Introduce concepts in discussion with class
    1. Review historical time and place
  2. Discuss border geography from 1853 to present.
    1. Gadsden treaty: 1850-1853 established
      1. Discuss the fate of Mesilla, NM
      2. Discuss the island formed by the two channels of the Rio Grande: Ysleta, Socorro, San Elizario
    2. Chamizal treaty in 1963 creates permanent channel
  3. Present economic growth of major binational urban center
    1. Paso del Norte renamed to Ciudad Juarez in 1888
  4. Compare and contrast powerful nation with developing country
    1. Maquiladoras (Twin Plant Operations)
    2. NAFTA
  5. Divide class into groups and assign tasks for presentations to class
    1. Poems, stories, skits, songs or raps
    2. Mural
    3. Computer presentation
  6. Student Learning Activities
    1. Assign word find (below) using vocabulary terms.
    2. Students create graphic organizer/futures wheel (see example below) showing how various events are linked and interrelated. Discuss student-created links and reasoning.
  7. Tasks
    1. Presentation about a certain date and/or dilemma
    2. Compare and contrast taking sides with each nation
    3. The impact and consequences of decisions


Examine the posters for accuracy, chronology, presentation, group participation, ability to engage classmates, logical flow of information, and conclusions.




  1. Students write journal entries from the perspective of different people living during the times they are studying.
  2. Posters can be turned into classroom murals.
  3. Any portion of the lesson can be expanded upon. Graphic organizers can be created in groups or by the class, focus on specific times, be used to decorate the room depicting various aspects of study, etc.

For Texas Teachers

TEKS for Middle School

6th Grade:

7th Grade

8th Grade

Word Find: La Frontera

Word Find Puzzle

Key for Word Find

Key for Word Find Puzzle

Sample format of a Graphic Organizer

Graphic Organizer Image