Chiapas, Mexico


A Geography WebQuest for 7th Grade beginning Spanish students

Designed by

Letitia H. Green

April 2005


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page


     You are a traveler from San Diego, CA. You would like drive to the state of Chiapas, Mexico. In order to get there, you will have to do some research and develop a travel plan.

The Task

     You will work in a group and at times by yourself figuring out how to drive to Chiapas, Mexico. You will determine how long it will take, along which highways you will travel, and through which cities and Mexican states you will travel. Your final task is to produce an "itinerary" for your trip that explains when you are leaving, what route you are taking, which cities you will be in on which day, what the weather is expected to be like in each area you stop at that time of year, and when you expect to arrive in Chiapas.

The Process


Make your team.

First you will be assigned to a team of 3. Enter the names of your group on your trip itinerary by clicking here. Print this "itinerary" out for each team member. Print one extra. The team printouts will be for each team member to keep track of the choices you are making.

The extra copy of the itinerary will be used for your final task: to turn in a completed itinerary with the decisions you have made.

If you need extra columns or rows on your itinerary, you may attach a "distance table" and continue your cities on there. Staple this sheet onto your itinerary and have all three of your team sign it also.



Get a highway map.

Next, you will need a driving map of the entire country of Mexico, including the southern portion of California that includes San Diego. Click here to choose resources for your map.



Find your destination city.

Now that you have your map, you and your partners need to open it up and find San Diego, California and Chiapas, Mexico. Choose a destination city in the state of Chiapas,  in which to end your trip. Enter this under "Destination" in your itinerary. Use the last line of your final itinerary to indicate where you are ending up.



Choose the cities you must travel through.

Next you will develop a list of the cities that you will need to travel through in order to get to your city in Chiapas. Using your printed itinerary, enter into the table each city you will travel through on your route south. You can add as many as you want, but remember, the more you add, the more work you will have to do to determine the distances between them. I recommend that you enter only one city for each "state" in Mexico that you travel through. Use the largest cities along the route.  Start with the city from which you are leaving (your "origin"), San Diego, CA. Tijuana has been listed as the next city. Though you could travel along the highway in California and enter there, for simplicity, I have decided you need to enter Mexico in Tijuana. Baja is the state. Then, continue over to the main part of Mexico and down! You're off!



Determine the straight line distance between San Diego and Chiapas, Mexico.

Determine the distance between San Diego, CA and your chosen city in Chiapas, Mexico. Use the scale on your road map. For an example of how you determine this distance using your map graph, go to Reading Topographic Maps.

Read the explanation of how to use the scale on a map. Look at Figure (5-2) and do the same exercise for the straight distance between San Diego, CA and your destination city in Chiapas. Enter this information on your itinerary in "Number 3: Straight distance between Origin and Destination Cities." This straight distance is sometimes referred to by "as the crow flies" because it is a straight line distance between the two cities, no matter what is in between.



Determine the distance between the cities along the way.

Using what you have learned in No. 6 above, determine how many miles there are between each city that you listed on your itinerary. Measure the distance along the highway(s) between each city. This is an approximate distance, not necessarily an exact distance. Round to the nearest mile. Start at the city you are leaving, and measure along the highway until you get to the city you have picked in which to stop. You will input the information in the printed Itinerary when you and your teammates determine the distances. For San Diego, CA, the first distance is '0'. The first city you will encounter is Tijuana, Mexico.



Calculate the number of days it takes to make it to Chiapas.

Now that you have finished your list of cities and the distances between them, you must decide what day you are going to leave San Diego, CA to drive south. To begin your trip pick a date. Then put this in the Itinerary next to the first city, San Diego, CA. Now, assume that the three of you will share the driving; you will drive all day and through the night, sleeping in the car when you are not the one driving, and stop only to grab fast food and fill up the gas tank.


8. If you travel 50 mph on average, and travel 24 hours per day until you there, how long will it take you to get to Chiapas? (Distance/Speed = Time)?

Write your answer on the bottom of your itinerary. Show your work on the back for extra credit.


BONUS QUESTION: If you only travel 12 hours per day, every OTHER day, how many days will it take to get there?

Write your answers on the bottom of your itinerary. Show your work on the back for extra credit.


You should produce your itinerary using all the skills of your team. Divide the work up, help others when they get behind, enjoy yourself, help others enjoy the process as well. You will be evaluated on following directions, organizing information, neatness, turning in your work on time, and how well your team worked together.











Group interaction


Difficulties arose that could not be worked through. Itinerary was delivered on time.

Worked together well. Some issues arose but the group worked them out. Itinerary is organized and was delivered on time.
Worked well together and divided the work evenly. Everyone contributed and the itinerary was delivered early or on time.
Superb itinerary delivered early and with pride. Went out of way to do more than was asked. Appreciation for each other is high.


Organization and Timeliness



Itinerary was out of order, disorganized or incorrect. Itinerary was not turned in on time.
 Itinerary was complete but had factual errors. Itinerary was delivered on time or not on time.
Itinerary was complete, factually correct and delivered early or on time.
Itinerary was complete, factually correct, delivered early, and had additional information not required.



When you have completed the assignment, you will have learned how long it would take to drive to Chiapas from San Diego. Along the way, you will have learned to use the graphic scale on your  map to calculate distances. You should have learned the names of the different states in Mexico in order from North to South that you need to travel through, and many of the cities that you will be traveling through. You will know the distances between cities in Mexico, and you will be able to estimate about how long it would take to drive the length of Mexico from the United States, if you drove all the time without any real rest other than for gas, food and the bathroom. If you answer the bonus question, you will know how long it would take you if you drove alone, and rested every other day.

If you have a chance, check out the weather in some of your cities at the weather underground for Mexico. Also, check the United States Department of State  travel up-dates on Mexico.  Every country has its problems and to get good advice before you leave can be very helpful.

Credits & References

Encyclopedia Brittanica

My husband and children

Automobile Association of America

Last updated on August 15, 1999.

Based on a template from The Web Quest Page