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| Where Homework and the Internet Meet: LAUNCH POINT


May 05, 1999

Mexico is a land of rich history and wonderful contrasts. It was home to sophisticated ancient cultures, yet was forced to struggle many years for its independence--in fact, today's Cinco de Mayo celebration commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla victory over the French. Much of Mexico is a vast inland plateau, but it also is known for such wondrous ocean creatures as the gray whale and sea turtle. To learn more about our neighbor to the south and the homeland of many of our residents, go to The Times Launch Point Web site:

Level 1

Mexico for Kids: Click on the colorful map to explore subjects about Mexico, from its history and geography to its games, music and stories. Also available in Spanish or French.

Magic Tales of Mexico: Authentic folk stories for children from the Texas-Mexico border, in Spanish and English. Read about "The Louse-Skin Coat," "The Bear-Prince" and "The Forbidden Chamber."

Flags of Mexico: Various banners were used in Mexico before the familiar flag with its snake and eagle were adopted in 1823. Find out about regional and historical flags of Mexico and their meaning.

Level 2

Embassy of Mexico in Canada: Plants growing in Mexico range from tropical rainforests to Arctic vegetation; while its official language is Spanish, 13 Indian languages also are spoken within the country. This site gives a broad overview of topics about Mexico, from agriculture to culture and art.

Mexico Online--Mexico History Directory: Learn about different eras in Mexico's history, including the missions, the Mexican Revolution and profiles of key figures in the nation's past.

Culture and Society of Mexico: Frequently Asked Questions: What does the word Mexico mean? What is the recipe for a tortilla? This site gives you everything from a full set of statistics on Mexico to how to find out the latest on the Chiapas situation.

Level 3

The History of Mexico: The ancient Olmeca culture was flourishing at about the same time as Hammurabi's Code. This unusual timeline of Mexican history allows you to see what was going on elsewhere in the world at the same time as key eras in Mexican history. But the site also includes a vast and fascinating collection of articles on the events and people of Mexican history, such as "Jeronimo de Aguilar--the Marooned Priest Who Speeded the Conquest."

Internet Law Library: Mexico: A collection of important documents concerning Mexico, from the Constitution to statutes and civil codes, treaties and U.S. reports. Many in Spanish.

Border Studies: Explore Mexico through a gallery of more than 100 artworks. This graphics-oriented site also includes historical maps and timelines. Click on "activities" and "reading room" for lengthier written explanations and articles about Mexican history and culture.

Explorer's Quest

The answer to this Internet quiz can be found in the sites at right.

What is the meaning of the snake and eagle on the Mexican flag?

Clue: See Flags of Mexico

Find What You Need to Know: Have a project on California history? Need help doing a math problem? Launch Point now covers more than 90 topics for getting your schoolwork done. Go to for the full list of subjects and direct links to the best Internet sites.

Answer to last week's Quest: Smokeless tobacco is not safer than cigarettes; it can cause many health problems.

Launch Point is produced by the UC Irvine department of education, which reviews each site for appropriateness and quality. Even so, parents should supervise their children's use of the Internet.

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