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Grade: Middle
Subject: Language

#2754. Discovery of Latin America

Language, level: Middle
Posted Mon Dec 9 09:30:36 PST 2002 by Danelle Darst (
University of Tulsa, Tulsa, USA
Materials Required: Worksheets, Art Supplies
Activity Time: 9 week cirriculum
Concepts Taught: Geography and Culture of Latin America

Discovery of Latin America

Curriculum Objectives: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the practices and traditions of Latin American cultures. Students will be able to describe the characteristics of Latin American geography specific to each country including, land forms, bodies of water, climate, population (including indigenous population), and agriculture and mining. Students will use a variety of methods of research and technology to gain a deep understanding of one particular country in Latin America.

Enduring Knowledge:
Students will have a lasting understanding of the following:
1. Latin America is rich in culture and tradition.
2. As neighbors of the United States, Latin America extends much farther across
the globe than just to Mexico.
3. Many Latin American rituals and festivals have been adopted throughout the
4. As in the United States, Latin American countries have been populated by a
mixture of indigenous peoples and European settlers who have contributed to
each country's diverse cultural atmosphere.

Essential Questions:
1. Why is culture important to the history of a country?
2. What are the components of an area's culture?
3. What causes cultures to differ among regions?
4. How does wealth of a country contribute to geography and culture?
5. How does geography of a region relate to its culture and tradition?

Unit Questions:
1. Why is culture important to the history of a country?
a. Who are the first inhabitants of each country?
b. What traditions and languages were established in the Latin American
countries by the Indians?
c. What influences did the European settlers have on the Latin American culture?
2. What are the components of an area's culture?
a. What are the major languages of each culture?
b. What are the major celebrations and traditions of each culture?
c. What are the major religious affiliations in Latin America?
d. What is the political climate of Latin America?
3. What causes cultures to differ among regions?
a. What major nationalities of origin contribute to the population of Latin
b. Why have certain European countries settled distinct areas of Latin America?
c. How do climate and location affect culture of a country?
4. How does wealth of a country contribute to geography and culture?
a. What are the resources of Latin American countries?
b. How do countries of high economic prosperity compare to countries of low
economic prosperity?
c. How do climate and location affect the wealth of a country?
5. How does geography of a region relate to its culture and tradition?
a. What are the geographical characteristics of Latin America?
b. What are the plants and animals indigenous to Latin American
c. For what purposes do Latin Americans use these indigenous resources?

Unfolding of the Unit:

Unit 1.1: History of Latin America
• Students will be given a packet to be utilized and completed throughout Unit 1.1. The packet will include: maps of Latin America, worksheets relating to the first inhabitants and settlers of Latin America, timelines, and blank sheets for daily journal entries.
• Students will begin thinking about what country their final project will cover and can begin collecting information about that approved country on their own time. A list of available countries will be included in the packets, and an announcement will be made at the beginning of each class telling the students which countries have been chosen. This will continue daily until each student has made a selection.

Unit 1.2: Culture of Latin America
• Student packets for Unit 1.2 will include: worksheets specific to major cultural characteristics of Latin America, journal pages, a review sheet for the tests over Units 1.1 and 1.2, and specific guidelines for the final project.
• A series of short videos will be shown periodically throughout Unit 1.2 touching on the traditions and celebrations of Latin American countries.
• Lecture and discussion sessions will inform the students of detailed characteristics of the Latin American countries not mentioned in the video series. Students will be required to reflect on these sessions three times a week in their journals.
• At this time each student has chosen his/her country of discovery. Student use of the library and the internet will be available periodically in Unit 1.2.

**A comprehensive test will be given to the students upon the completion of two units.

Unit 1.3: Cultural Differences in Latin America
• Student packets for Unit 1.3 will include: worksheets detailing cultural differences that exist among Latin American countries and journal pages.
• Throughout Unit 1.3 various speakers who are native to a handful of countries in Latin America have agreed to participate in the lecture and discussion sessions. Students will be reflecting daily in their journals in Unit 1.3.
• Students will receive ample time in the library and computer lab researching their country of discovery.

Unit 1.4: The Economy of Latin America
• Student packets for Unit 1.4 will include: worksheets specific to Latin American economics and resources, journal pages, activity sheets, and a Unit 1.3 and 1.4 test review sheet.
• Unit 1.4 will consist of a number of activities the students will complete both in and out of class. These activities will pertain to demographics of many of the countries in Latin America.
• In Unit 1.4, student journals will be dedicated to the comparing and contrasting of economic wealth and disparity of Latin American countries and the contributors to these.
• Class time will be given to students to continue working on their final project.

**A test covering Units 1.3 and 1.4 will be given.

Unit 1.5: Geography of Latin America
• Student packets for Unit 1.5 will include: worksheets based on the topography and cartography of Latin America, journal pages, a Unit 1.5 and final examination test review sheet, and a final project grading rubric.
• Unit 1.5 will focus on the creation of student maps. They will be instructed in a number of ways to construct maps for their final presentations including: salt map construction, 3-D computer graphic (or other multi-media) maps, and topography and cartography lessons.
• In Unit 1.5, students will have the opportunity to reflect on the units as a whole. They will have many opportunities to write in their journals on anything we have talked about, participated in, and researched regarding Latin America. I will then have the opportunity at the end of the nine weeks to use these journals as feedback for future Latin American units.

**A portion of the final examination will be dedicated to Unit 1.5.