Latin America
Teacher's Guide

April 24, 1999 Update
Remember, the "Kids' Versions" are aimed at K-6.
The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Abeja - All in the Family

Kids' version available!

An informative article on community-focused living in Andean villages and small-farm agricultural methods. Includes a look at Intentional Communities in the United States.

While this article is simple on the surface, it raises many essential economic and political questions. Is it to he benefit of society for people to help each other or for each person to just take care of him or herself? Does an economy grow faster, is it more efficient, is there more innovation, if people are completely left to car for themselves? Is a society where people work together and share resources for the common good more humane, stronger, and happier?

These questions can be explored more in-depth by having your students look into the intentional societies Abeja writes about. Why have these people formed these communities? What are their strengths? Would your students like to live in such a community?

Kavitha - One Potato, Two Potato and a Hundred More!

Kids' version available!

The main focus of this article is the value of biodiversity in farming. It also explains the traditional methods of farming in the Central Highlands of Peru and how these methods preserve biodiversity in this region.

This is another one of those huge questions society is facing, presented in a brief dispatch from Kavitha. There are huge dangers associated with the experimenting that multinational corporations are doing with genetically-altered food. There are those who argue that such experimenting holds great hope, even for the poor and small farmers they seem so likely to harm.

The website cited in the Making a Difference page (, is a great resource for better understanding the science and the ethics of this topic, presented in a way that's pretty accessible to youth.

Try assigning one side of the debate to one group of students and another to the other. See how well they can develop an argument to defend the Monsanto company. See how well they can argue for boycotts and regulations, etc. of such companies.

Then, don't forget to have them share their opinions in the Making a Difference activity!

Monica - The Belly-button of the Inca Nation

A quick overview of Cuzco and its historical significance to the Inca Empire. Includes a short history of the language of Quechua.

This is our first dispatch that really begins to deal with the Inca, a topic which will dominate the next couple of updates from Monica and Kevin. Be sure to check out these free lessons available in the Teachers' Zone under "Lessons" that you can use in the coming weeks to further develop your students' understanding of Incan culture:

IV.A. Introductory Activity
IV.B. Organizational Structures
IV.C. Assimulated Cultures
IV.D. Music
IV.E. Original Myths
IV.F. Incan Tales
IV.G. Inca Treatment of Conquered People
IV.H. Incan Engineering, Technology & Urban Planning - Roads, Labor and Taxation

Kevin - All that Glitters is Not Gold

Minera Yanacocha, one of South America's most prosperous gold and mineral mines attracts US mine company and provides employment for people of Cajamarca, Peru. Mining presence also provokes environmental concerns.

This article goes well with Abeja's concerning community organizing. Kevin shares the mining company's claims about environmental safety. Have your students assess the credibility of their information by doing searches on the topics of mining and the use of cyanide in stripping metals.

As part of the Team's focus during the Peru stay on the theme of The Environment and Development, you can also have the students each do some initial research on a topic that cocerns them about he environment to report back to the class. As topics are covered by the Team, your "experts" can present to the class. Can they act it out, or create some visual accompaniment lke shoebox diorama?

Making a Difference - Eating Pesticide Potato Chips

Provides an investigation of the ways in which genetically engineered crops endanger the prosperity of biodiversity, small farmers, and everyone dependent on farmers for food.

Students are encouraged to:

Learn more about different genetically-engineered foods,

Contact the USDA with their opinions,

Support boycotts of genetically-altered foods,

Stay informed through various websites and listservs.

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