My class continued their continent exploration by traveling south, from North America into South America. I was secretly thrilled to get to South America so I could share about the countries I visited there; Peru and Ecuador. Although, I’m sure my enthusiasm for the entire continent study is pretty evident in class. Geography/Travel nerd alert!
The timing couldn’t have been better to travel south of the equator in our studies, as the setting of that weeks anthology read was Chile. Included in our reading program’s materials was a small vocabulary reader on Chile to provide students with more background knowledge. This was perfect to weave into our social studies curriculum.
Just as we did with the launch of the continent study, students began learning about South America by first, coloring the continent in on their map page, then reading the information page and highlighting important information. It set a great base for study and generated conversation and questions.
Students received a photocopied version of the vocabulary reader to learn about Chile. As students read with a partner, they highlighted three new facts they learned. Later, these highlighted facts were used to make a poster of their learning about Chile. Students loved making the posters with facts and illustrations.
Next up on the continent study was Peru. This was the first country I visited when I first began traveling with teachers, so I was particularly excited to tell students about it. You can read about my experience of spending Easter in Cuzco here.
I had pictures of Machu Picchu, the Amazon and major cities to share with students. By far, the fact students were most enamored with, was that I had eaten guinea pig for Easter dinner. The pictures of both fried and baked guinea pig were pretty shocking as well. It was a great learning experience for students to hear about something so different from their own lives. What is a pet in the US could be on your dinner plate in Peru!
Another way I shared information with students was through a Peru fact sheet I put together. It was a simple sheet with a few pictures and content to give a general overview of the country. Students made posters about Peru just as they had for Chile to demonstrate what they learned after reading the fact sheet.
Students watched a video about life in Brazil and then wrapped up our studies exploring Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Pictures and stories of exotic animals that live on the islands was fun to share with students. They had so many questions and sharing those experiences generated lively discussion.
Our journey through South America was a ton of fun, and it makes me even more excited to share more places I have traveled to as we jet off to the remaining continents. Seeing the excitement in students is the real reward. There is no better feeling than seeing students genuinely excited about learning.