We began our study of Latin America this week by looking at the geography of Middle and South America. It is fun to examine the major land features of our neighbors to the south. I like to have the kids use big laminated maps of the areas and draw over the features using overhead pen that can be wiped off. It allows them to answer questions and experience the geography in a hands-on way.
After reading about the Americas, we then focused on the Caribbean region and completed maps to help us learn the three important groups of islands that make up the West Indies. It is a very short study, but a great introduction to Latin America.
This next week we will focus entirely on the Mayan civilization. This is a fascinating culture with mysteries that archeologists are just beginning to unravel. Over the 14 years that I have been teaching about them, some mysteries have been solved and new theories have developed. It is exciting to see the exploration of a more recently discovered culture.
By the way I am planning for students to have a Chocolate Day on the 20th of May. The Mayas and Aztecs were some of the first civilizations to experience chocolate. I invite students to bring in chocolate to share with their peers, while we read, learn and study about chocolate.
Below you will see pictures of students working with the big laminated maps and completing their Caribbean maps. (I wasn't able to get student iMovies posted, but I will work on it.)