Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Geography: Workshop 2

Latin America

Part 1: Guatemala and Mexico
Part 2: Ecuador

Maps Key maps for the region covered by this workshop >
Interactives Interactive materials that take you further into this region and the issues under discussion >

Program Overview: Latin America

Latin America is a region with rich cultural heritage and devastating political turmoil. It is a place of beautiful and bountiful farmlands tucked amid dangerous volcanoes. This workshop looks at the region of Latin America, asking questions such as "What factors compel people to migrate from one place to another?" and "How can geography help people cope with the hazards associated with living near volcanoes?"

Explore these and other questions with geographers in the field and teachers in the classroom.

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Part 1. Guatemala and Mexico: Population Migration

Director-Lance Wisniewski
Producer-Cambridge Studios, USA

In this program, we investigate the geographical issues associated with migration. During the case study, we will come to understand why many rural Mayans migrate for a few months each year to Guatemala City and how this temporary displacement affects the Maya population. In the final portion of the program, we will see a classroom segment in which students investigate a similar pattern of Mexican migration.


  • Explain the relationship between migration and cultural conflict.
  • Identify factors associated with rural to urban and transnational migration.
  • Identify tools used by geographers.
  • Understand how secondary students can use group investigations.
  • Apply the geographic inquiry process to your own teaching.

Part 2. Ecuador: Preventing Tragedy Through Understanding Geography

Director-Peter Frumkin
Producer-Cambridge Studios, USA

This half of the workshop addresses the relationship that people who live near volcanoes have with their geographic surroundings. In Ecuador, we focus on Mount Tungurahua. Drawn by its hot springs and fertile soil, area residents and tourists must also confront the very real possibility of a life-threatening eruption. We follow geographers as they study Tungurahua, putting their research to work in preventing future tragedy. Later, in our classroom segment, students discuss the relationship between volcanoes and earthquakes and weigh the pros and cons of living near such natural hazards.


  • Explain how physical systems influence the Earth's features.
  • Explain positive and negative influences of physical systems on human activity.
  • Explain how technology helps our understanding of natural hazards.
  • Explain how teachers can use student curiosity as an entry point for teaching about physical features.
  • Identify how instruction can be adapted to accommodate the learning requirements of students at all levels.


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