Latin America
Teacher's Guide

January 30, 1999 Update

We kept this update light to give classes a chacne to get caught up on all that happened in Mexico. We focus on what Abeja and Monica are up to - first they crossed into Guatemala via a river boat through the rainsforest, then shared their impressions of Tikal, and then introduced one of the community-based groups they'll be working with in Guatemala, which helps families of the people "disapeared" during the Civil War.

The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Monica - No Turning Back - The Journey to Guatemala

Monica gives a nice update about how she and Abeja entered Guatemala by boat through the rainforest.

This report is most important for those students following the Trek so they understand the connections between the previous reports from Mexico, and to feel connected to the Team.
Abeja - Wondrous Tikal from Sunrise to Sunset

Abeja summarizes her day at Tikal, giving a good idea of the diverstiy of animals that live there.

This article is good to understand the geography in which this ancient Maya capital resides, but also to get a better understanding of the diverse life that dwells in teh rainforest. If applicable to your class, this article provides a great jumping-off point for either having students research the animals Abeja mentions, or having them explore what other animals live in this and other rainsforests of the world.
Monica - Lost in the Lost World

This amusing article serves as a basic introduction to the geography and architecture of Tikal, the ancient Maya capital. It provides some good Tikal facts, and a fun Star Wars reference.

This article, in conjunction with the previous by Abeja, is good to help give students a "real life" context for what they might be learning about the Maya in your class, or will be learning with us. So, this dispatch can serve as a solid basis for a class brainstorm about what they know about the Maya. OR you can have students write first person letters as if they were in Tikal, either present day or past, using info they've learned about the Maya in class along with the very tangible fun experiences of the Team Members.

Monica - Searching for the Disappeared: An Introduction to G.A.M.

For those students unfamiliar with the Civil War in Guatemala, or the outrageous human rights violations brought down upon the indigenous people of Guatemala (and beyond), epsecially in the 80's, this article is a great introduction. It gives two personal stories, gives a couple solid statistics about the number of people who disappeared in Guatemala, and gives background info on the GAM, one of the first human rights groups in Guatemala.

For many students, this article will not seem real or connected to their world, since it is the first about such issues from the Team, and may not be something students know a lot about. For these reasons, it serves as a solid basis for other kinds of intro activities. One possibility is to have students simply write a personal reflection in response to what they learn. See what they focus on and see what kind of discussion ensues. OR have the students compare what they learn in this article with any other experience or knowledge they have of human rights abuses. Have them record these either individually or as a class to refer to after they learn more in the upcoming weeks.


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