Monday, January 4, 2010

World Geography

Our co-op has decided to do a World Geography class this semester. Personally, I love learning about new places and am very excited about this class. It is my hope that the kids will find it interesting and fun. Here is a sample of the lessons that we will be doing:

Central and South America
1. Welcome to Central and South America! How long do you think it would take to get to one of these countries by plane? By car? By foot?
2. What do we already know about this area of the world? Teacher should list students’ comments on the board as they offer them.
a. Language
b. Religion
c. Politics
d. Food
e. Education
f. Traditions
3. Let’s see if we can learn new things about our neighbors! Pass out the outline map of Central and South America. Have students fill in the country names and color each country a different color. Point out interesting countries and facts about them as you discuss. For example: Panama/Panama Canal, Ecuador/Galapagos Island, and Brazil/Amazon River.
-Have the students make a special color for these areas on their map.
4. Are there any interesting land forms in this area of our world that make it interesting? South America has some of the highest mountains (outside of Asia) in the world: Consult It also has some of the longest rivers in the world: Consult . They also are home to some of the rain forests of the world: Consult .
Central (Mesoamerica) and South America
1. Angel Falls- highest free flowing waterfalls in the world
2. Atacama Desert- one of the driest deserts on Earth
3. Amazon River Delta- largest Aquifer in the world
4. Amazon Rain Forest- provides largest amount of timber and medicinal plants
5. Chile- largest producer of fruits and vegetables to North, South and Mesoamerica
6. Tierra del Fuego- most southern tip of South America in Argentina, closest land to Antarctica
7. Patagonia- sparsely vegetated plains in southern portion of South America in Chile and Argentina
8. Andes Mountains- highest mountain range in western hemisphere, site of the 1972 plane crash with Rugby team, longest exposed mountain range in world.
9. Panama Canal- Completed by United States and Panamanian Government in 1914, it saves over 18,000 miles by water to go from New York to California.
10. Called Latin America because all of the non-native, spoken languages are derived from Latin. Calling someone Hispanic is actually not appropriate because to be Hispanic you must come from the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic). There are several different dialects of Spanish spoken in Central and South America and a Spanish speaker from Chile or Argentina would have a very difficult time communicating with a Spanish speaker from Cuba.

5. Have the students create a map key with distinctions for each of these and illustrate them on their map as well.
6. Let’s take a look at another important part of Geography- “Human Movement” (Natural Resources). Where do the products we use originate? Invite students to collect labels from foods, clothing, toys, and other products they use. Where do those products come from? What percentages of those products are made in your state? Your country? Other continents? Are we dependent on products from all around the world? Talk about how products made outside your community might get there. Now that we have an idea of what Central and South America looks like, let’s see what natural resources they have to offer.
a. Central America has natural resources of copper, gold, silver, and zinc.
b. South America has natural resources of coffee beans, cocoa beans, bananas, timber, rubber, gold, bauxite, spices, and salt.
7. Have students incorporate their maps and a list of natural resources into their travel guide for Central and South America.

After this introduction to the Continent, we will then discuss the culture of the region and focus on a holiday from this area while comparing it to the US. For example, while we are studying Central and South America we will look at the Carnival celebration in Brazil and how does that compare to the US celebration of Lent. As a follow up to the culture discussion, we will have the students create a craft from this area of the world. For Central and South America we will create maracas!

As a culmination of the area study of Central and South America, we will ask each student to bring in a dish native to this area and the class will participate in a International Food Court. I think that the kids will love this! After the kids dig in, we will have a guest speaker from this region discuss their culture and homeland with the kids. I am blessed to have great friends from the three regions that we will be learning about (Africa, Central and South America, and Asia) that will be our speakers! I am very excited to hear what they have to share.

I always want my children to have something tangible to bring home from their classes and this is no different. I have created a Travel Guide for the students to create in conjunction with what they are learning in class. I have uploaded the file to HS Launch for others to download. I am hoping that the kids will enjoy choosing pictures from the region to included in their guide and sharing them with their class.

While doing my research for this curriculum, I have come across a few great geography sites that might be helpful if you are studying this subject.

Okay- so it is a lot of web sites!:0) I do not know when to stop!

I hope that you enjoy your study!

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