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Brazil is the largest country in South America. Nearly half the land of the continent is within its borders. It is an area of tropical rain forests, exotic animals and flora, and has the world’s longest river – the Amazon. This is a very interesting study for all ages.
NOTE: In tropical climates, clothing styles may be rather skimpy compared with your own personal preferences. Even the traditional costumes of the festivals often reveal much more than they cover. Please when studying these areas, remember there may be differences in culture and review the appropriateness for your child.
Brazilian Culture on the Web:
The government of Brazil:
1. Reproduce a map of Brazil … this can be a blank map or one that already has major cities and landforms listed.
Draw an Amazon dolphin in the Amazon River.
Draw tropical rainforests in the northern half of Brazil (around the Amazon River).
Draw a waterfall by Iguacu Falls.
Draw a boat in the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Study the history of the different peoples of Brazil.
First came the Indians or native peoples of Brazil.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to come to Brazil
The Portuguese imported Africans, after the native population was weakened by disease, to increase the workforce.
3. Study the term melting pot. This is a term that has been given to the population of Brazil. What other country or countries have been traditionally known as melting pots (e.g., the United States of America). Why?
4. Study the music of Brazil. Samba music is an excellent example of how cultures of different people blend together. Brazilian samba is a mixture of Portuguese folklore and African rhythms. The primary instruments used to make samba are percussion:
Surdo (tambourine like instrument)
Reco-reco (a metal or wooden tube that is grated on one side)
Cabaguinho (like a ukulele)
Agogo (two steel cones that are heat with a rod)
5. Try and duplicate some samba music instruments. Listen to samba music. You can probably find similar music through the music section of your local library; or, see if you local music store has a specialty section and if they will let you listen to the music in the store.
6. The capital city of Brazil is called Brasilla. Before Brasilla the capital was Rio de Janeiro. Compare the two cities. How are they different? How are they alike?
7. Brasilla was designed to be a city of the future. Design your own city of the future. What features would you include and why?
8. Brazil is the world’s leading coffee producer. Study of the production of coffee. For a fun craft, make Coffee Grounds Playdough: http://www.themestream.com/articles/394925
9. Cocoa is another major export product of Brazil.
Which state in Brazil produces the most cocoa?
Follow the production of cocoa from tree to bean to edible products.
Have a cup of hot cocoa.
Make a list of products that have cocoa in them.
Take a fieldtrip to the grocery store and read the labels of products. How many could you find that had cocoa in them.
Make a chocolate cake or pie from scratch, using cocoa powder.
10. Rubber is also a major product of Brazil. Find out how rubber is made (it is the sap of a tree that grows wild in Brazil).
What is the name of the sap that comes from the rubber tree (latex).
Make a list of things that contain rubber or latex.
Make a book or write a report with illustrations on rubber production.
11. Brazil is well known for the mining of precious gems – especially diamonds. Brazil is one of the only places in the world where black diamonds can be found. Brazil produces about ninety percent of the world’s aquamarines, topazes, amethysts, tourmalines, and has recently begun producing emeralds.
What color are the gems mentioned.
Draw pictures of the gems mentioned, using appropriate colors.
Study the process of gem mining and processing. You can sometimes find videos on this subject at your local library. I suggest you try the Nova or National Geographic series.
Design a piece of jewelry using one or more of the gems listed in number 10.
12. Brazil has the fourth-largest herd of beef cattle in the world.
Brazilian cowboys are called what? (gauchos)
What are the baggy pants traditionally worn by gauchos called? (bombaches)
13. Study some of the animals of the Amazon:
14. Draw a mural of the Amazon area. Include animals, plants, insects, etc.
15. Watch a video(s) on the Amazon, Brazil, native peoples of Brazil, products of Brazil, etc. In addition to the educational videos offered by the Nova and National Geographic series, I suggest you take a look in the travel section. There may be videos or books that offer a wide range of topics and information that would be great to include in this subject.
16. Participate in the Amazon Interactive website: http://www.eduweb.com/amazon.html
17. Adopt a free virtual rainforest animal: http://www.kidsdomain.com/down/pc/kdadoptcritter.html
18. Here’s an online Toucan Sam game: http://www.toucansam.com/
19. More information on the Rainforest from Zoom: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/rainforest/ There are animal print outs, puzzles, etc. that would add to a unit study on Brazil.
20. National Geographic site on the Amazon: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/contact/index.html
21. Investigate the food of Brazil at this website: http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/kgk/2000/0300/kgk030400.html ; Vegetarian recipes for Carnaval: http://www.naturalland.com/cv/ef/car.htm ; Brazilian Recipes: http://www.maria-brazil.org/fdind.htm
[***NOTE: some of these websites contain pictures of the CARNAVAL that may not be considered appropriate for children. Often the costumes from the parades and festivals are rather skimpy. When covering this topic with your children, please review any pictures or video clips before they do and check for appropriateness.]
Just a reminder to check your local library and video store for videos on Brazil, the Amazon, and rainforests. Check both the documentary section and the travel section.