Latin America Passage -The Eagle and the Cactus
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by Shelly Scott
| 5 Questions
Note from the author:
Latin America Information text formative assessment

The Eagle and the Cactus

211 words
This text is adapted from an original work of the Core Knowledge Foundation.
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In legend, the Aztec built their capital on the spot where they saw an eagle perched on a cactus while holding a snake in its beak.
Between the years of 1325 and 1521 CE, a great civilization arose and thrived. They were the Aztec people, who lived in what is today central Mexico.
According to legend, the Aztec were once a nomadic tribe. They wandered the land, setting up temporary homes here and there, fighting off attackers, and surviving on snakes and lizards. The legend says that one day, the god of the sun spoke to the people. The god told the Aztec people to look for a sign—an eagle with a snake in its beak perched on a cactus. On the spot where the eagle perched, the Aztec were to build a great city.
The legend goes on to describe how the Aztec finally received the sign the god had told them about. The eagle appeared on a swampy island in Lake Texcoco (/tesh*koh*koh/). On that day, the Aztec’s wandering ended. They settled down and began building a city. The Aztec people called their new home Tenochtitlán (/tay*noch*tee*tlahn/), which means “the place of the prickly pear.” Even today the eagle and serpent are shown on the flag of Mexico.

1
1
What sign did the god of the sun tell the Aztec people to look for?
a prickly cactus standing alone on a hill
a large cluster of snakes and lizards in the desert
an eagle with a snake in its beak perched on a cactus
a swampy island in Lake Texcoco
2
1
What does this text describe?
This text describes the reason the Aztec people named their new home Tenochtitlán, or “the place of the prickly pear."
This text describes the way an eagle and serpent are displayed on the flag of Mexico.
This text describes the reason the Aztec people transitioned from being a nomadic tribe to being a great civilization.
This text describes the types of food Aztec people ate when they were nomads and the types of food they ate after settling down.
3
1

The Aztec were once a nomadic tribe. What evidence from the text supports this statement?

The Aztec people called their new home Tenochtitlán (/tay*noch*tee*tlahn/), which means “the place of the prickly pear.”
The Aztec wandered the land, setting up temporary homes here and there, fighting off attackers, and surviving on snakes and lizards.
The legend goes on to describe how the Aztec finally received the sign the god had told them about. The eagle appeared on a swampy island in Lake Texcoco.
Between the years of 1325 and 1521 CE, a great civilization arose and thrived. They were the Aztec people, who lived in what is today central Mexico.
4
1

Read these sentences from the text:

The god told the Aztec people to look for a sign - an eagle with a snake in its beak perched on a cactus. On the spot where the eagle perched, the Aztec were to build a great city . . . Even today the eagle and serpent are shown on the flag of Mexico.

Based on this information, what can you conclude about the flag of Mexico?

The sign from the Aztec legend influenced the design of the flag of Mexico.
Mexico copied their flag design from a design that the Aztec used on their flag.
The flag of Mexico has nothing to do with the Aztec legend.
The flag was poorly designed because an eagle does not look good next to a serpent.
5
1
What is the main idea of this text?
The Aztec people were originally a tribe of nomads. They wandered the land and set up temporary homes here and there. They fought off attackers and survived on snakes and lizards. They lived like many of the other people during that time.
The Aztec were once a nomadic tribe. One day, however, the god of the sun told the Aztec people that they were to settle down after seeing a specific sign. When they finally received this sign, the Aztec built a great city around this location.
The Aztec people called the great civilization that they built Tenochtitlán (/tay*noch*tee*tlahn/), which means “the place of the prickly pear.” There was probably a lot of cactus in the area that they decided to settle down.
From 1325 to 1521 CE the Aztec people built and cultivated a civilization in what is today known as central Mexico. Today the flag of Mexico is decorated with an eagle and a serpent, figures from an Aztec legend.
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