Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Unit Study on Brazil

My 5th and 6th grade class has been working through many countries of the world, and we recently finished learning about South America by studying Brazil! At Hope International School, we've been using My Father's World curriculum, which has some great guidelines for studying each country. In this two week study, we covered a lot.

  • For science, we studied the Amazon rainforest, made a "Rainforest in a Bottle" with a layer of gravel/sand, damp soil and a plant.

  • We watched a video of how chocolate is made, and learned that 70% of cocoa farmers and their families have never tasted the end product (a chocolate bar) of their labor!
  • I created a Rainforest Treasure Hunt and used the clues to lead them to some prizes on our campus.
  • For our read-aloud time we read The Fate of the Yellow Woodbee, the story of the five missionaries in Ecuador who were killed bringing the gospel to the Waorani people. During reading time, the kids did some detailed coloring sheets of rainforest animals (found here) and also made paper airplanes like those used by the missionaries.

  • To help us learn the countries of South America, my class created a mnemonic.  To use this mnemonic, you start at Brazil and go counter-clockwise in a spiral: "Brian failed geography so Grandma very calmly, extra patiently, called a university professor, begging." (Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia)
  • As part of their project for the unit, students had to plan a trip to Brazil, using travel websites. They had to research flights and hotels, plan a schedule of sights they wanted to see, and estimate the total cost of the trip in our currency and in the currency of Brazil. They loved this project.
  • We went to a sugarcane plantation and factory! Despite being the most dangerous field trip of ALL time (this is Africa, remember!), they had a such a good time seeing all the fields, machines and packaging. They of course loved tasting the sugar at various stages.  However, all of them declared that they could never work there because of the heat, the noise, and the smell (it smelled strongly like molasses). =)

  • Finally, for the end of our unit, we made Brigadeiros, a Brazilian chocolate treat. We ate them between matches of futbol. 

Overall, we had a great time in this unit!

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