Mrs. Ward Name: ________________________
Latin American Studies
Unit 1: Introduction to Latin America (Current Events and Geography)
Guiding Question: How have geographic and environmental factors influenced the development of Latin America?
Step 1: Label and Color Maps
Latin America is the forgotten region of the world. We hear little of its news, and information is hard to come
by. However little we hear in the news let it be known that Central, South and Caribbean Latin American
countries have a wealth of culture, political upheaval, and passion for their past and present. The area has been
devastated by tropical storm and volcano alike. The Amazon River basin is known for its bio-diversity being the
most diverse in the world as well as being the largest river in the world by volume. Our goal for the first unit is to
begin to understand the geographic benefits and downfalls of Latin America, this will continue to help us in our
study over the centuries as well as its ability to modernize. We will approach geography from multiple levels
(continent, region, country). For our first assignment, we will specifically focus on the following geographical
features of Latin America:
Physical features Natural Resources
Map 1: Label and Color the following on the political outline map of Latin America
Regions/Countries Key Cities External Bodies of Waters
There are five (3) regions of Latin Caracas Gulf of Mexico
America: Central America, South Havana Caribbean Sea
American and the Caribbean. Lima Atlantic Ocean
Pick a color for each region. Quito Pacific Ocean
Color in all the countries Santiago Gulf of Honduras
within the region.
Buenos Aires Gulf of Panama
Write the name of each
Brasilia Canal de Yucatan
country in the region in its
correct location. Rio de Janeiro Straits of Florida
Source: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ OR World History Atlas
Map 2: Label and Color the following on the physical features map of Latin America:
Key Environmental Features Internal Bodies of Water Key Features
There are four (4) key Lake Nicaragua Mountains:
topographical/environmental Amazon River Andes Mountains
features: Rio de la Plata Cordillera Oriental
Using the basic political map, Lake Titicaca Cordillera Occidental
pick a color for each ecological Cordillera de la Costa
Strait of Magellan
area and draw it’s coverage in
Panama Canal Mount Chimborazo
Rio Grande Volcanoes
Only areas to include:
Mato Grosso Plateau
Map 3: Label and Color the following on the natural resources map of Latin America:
Key Resources Agricultural Products Mineral Products
Using the basic map of Latin Lumber Gold
America, identify WHERE the Coffee Silver
following resources in Latin Cotton Oil
America are located (many are
located in more than one place
in Latin America). Coca Copper
You will need to create your Rubber
own key for each resource. Sugar
Draw the border around each
Region of Latin America as
Step 2: Research and Collect Data
Now that you are familiar with the location of the countries in Latin America as well as the general
topographical features, you will research factors related to population, natural resources and industry.
Record your findings and address the following questions in preparation for a written assessment on
your understanding of the impact of geography. When addressing the questions, be specific!
1. How would you characterize Latin America topographically (I’m referring to altitude here)?
2. What ways would altitude impact the way land is used by people?
3. How do Latin America’s environmental features present opportunities and challenges?
Log on to http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps. You will have to search for the population maps for particular
countries…choose 5 countries to study the population of.
1. Based on your findings, which country has the highest population density? What factors may contribute
to the high population density in these areas?
2. Which areas of Latin America are the least densely populated? What factors may contribute to the sparse
population of these areas?
3. How does Latin America’s population compare to the US and the World (you will need to
research this on your own).
Resources and Industry:
1. In what types of economic activities do people who live in deserts engage?
2. The Amazon rainforest covers over a billion acres. What types of economic activities do
people who live in tropical rain forests engage?
3. What types of economies do people who live in the grasslands engage?
4. Using your map, what are the most abundant resources in Latin America? What regions are
rich with these resources? Which are not as resource rich?
Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper and create a thesis as the first
sentence to your response. Please underline your thesis and use the facts and maps as evidence to
argue your thesis. Type your answer and be proud of the work you are handing in.
1. How has the topography and/or climate and environmental factors affected Latin America and
its access and/or use of its resources?
2. In your opinion, do you believe Latin America has the potential to be economically self-
sustaining within our lifetime? Why or why not?
3. If you could live anywhere in Latin America, where would you choose to live and why? Be as
specific as possible using information from this research.
Step 3: You are now ready to embark on a study of Latin American history, culture and people.
1. This is the fun part…I know most, if not all of you have been to “Youtube” and many of you
have tried to look for your house on Google Earth. Now that you have chose your favorite
country not is the time to research the culture of your country.
a. Start with Google Earth
b. Zoom in on your country, as you zoom, you will start to see “bubbles”, these bubbles
are pictures of the area, the cities, town and countryside, some may even have pictures
i. What types of pictures do you see when you zoom in?
ii. What are the pictures of, what do they symbolize?
iii. What is your impression of the country based on the pictures?
c. Continue to pan around your country, their can be pictures in pretty remote areas.
Continue to answer the questions above.
2. Youtube…Type the name of your country into the search box. What comes up?
a. Are they typical skits we see in the states?
b. Is their a picture, movie montage? What is being showcased?
c. Is there a type of dance, costume, or tradition that is highlighted?
d. What else can you search for relating to your country?
Final Written Reflection: Write a one (1) page summary detailing your search…traditions you have
uncovered, your first impressions, customs, music, dance, food…anything that may have inspired you.
What do you want to know more about?
Rubric for Maps
Points Accuracy Completion Neatness
All required Not missing any No cross-outs or
Exceeds Standard 9-10 entries labeled in required entries erasures
correct place noticeable; use of
color; easy to
Meets Standard 7-8 1-2 entries Missing no more Use of at least 3
incorrect than 2 entries colors; legible
Approaches 5-6 3-5 entries Missing 3-5 Little use of
Standard incorrect entries color; somewhat
Does Not Meet 4 or More than 5 Missing more Difficult to read;
Standard below entries incorrect than 5 entries little effort