Lesson Plan

Aztecs Find a Home: The Eagle Has Landed

Artistic rendering of Tenochtitlan, Mexico.
Photo caption

Artistic rendering of Tenochtitlan, Mexico.

"All about us we saw cities and villages built in the water, their great towers and buildings of masonry rising out of it. . . . When I beheld the scenes around me I thought within myself, this was the garden of the world."

—Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Spanish conquistador

It is said that the Aztecs chose the site of their capital, Tenochtitlan, because of the presence of a bird perched on a cactus and eating a snake. In this lesson, students will learn about that ancient Aztec legend and about how Tenochtitlan became the site of modern-day Mexico City.

Guiding Questions

How did the Aztecs choose a site for their capital city?

What were life and culture like for the Aztec people in their capital city, Tenochtitlan?

What is the legacy of the Aztec people and civilization?

Learning Objectives

Analyze how the Aztecs became the builders of a city and civilization in what is now Mexico.

Explain the Aztec legend about the founding of the city of Tenochtitlan.

Analyze competing perspectives about the accomplishments and contributions of the Aztec people.

Evaluate the short and long-term impact of the Aztec civilization on the region and the world.