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Teaching about Central America



I'm in my 2nd week of student teaching 6th grade. My unit will be on Central America. I'm having a hard time finding good, creative ideas. Does anyone know of any fun lessons, projects, bulletin boards, or activities to help me teach this? Thanks!


central america

You could take a "cruise" around Central America. Put a map on the overhead and use a picture of a cruise ship to go to each of the countries you will study. Give the kids a map and an atlas so they can label the countries and bodies of water.

Belize is fun because of the rain forest, coral reefs, Mayans, and pirates! (Blackbeard hung out there!)

You can cruise through the Panama Canal, discuss how it was built, the problems with yellow fever and other diseases, Teddy Roosevelt, etc..

El Salvador is in the "ring of fire" - lots of volcanic action.

Use "boarding passes" to take notes on and have the kids make postcards for each stop. They could put them in a scrapbook or social studies spiral (if that is what you use).

Check your library for movies and reading materials. Also check out the CIA factbook on the internet. It has information for just about every country. You can compare countries with the information on the US.

There is a really cool website that will show the Panama Canal locks and how they work. It also shows the canal in real time so you can see what is happening right now!! I will find it and get back to you.

Hope this helps!


Senior Member
more on panama

You do know that the new Survivor is located in Panama, right? That should help grab your kids' attention (if they're anything like mine, they're obsessive TV watchers.) You could discuss how the completion of the Canal changed the way the world trades goods. You may wish to teach a few Spanish words and phrases, since that is the dominant language in Central America.


If you go to webquest portal

on the net, you should be able to find a cool webquest to do with them. Then you're incorporating technology too! Caution: you need to reserve the library, for the computers, or the tech lab NOW if you intend to do this.


Maya lesson (can be modified)

I am currently teaching Latin America to 6th graders. We just completed a 1 week unit where they created travel logs using books and the internet for resources. They had to write about Maya religion, food, daily life, physical beauty, etc. and include a picture about each article they wrote about. The kids loved doing them and in the end I ended up getting what was equivelant to a 5 page research paper. A good source to use is the travel guide to the ancient Maya.

hope this was helpful and good luck.