A Lesson Plan from the CoBaLTT Project
Las Regiones del Ecuador
Submitted by CoBaLTT staff (adapted and translated from a lesson in Spanish done by Andrea Marcy and Montse Recarte)
Cultural Theme or
Academic Content Area:
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Immersion Elementary, 2
As a basic introduction to Ecuador, students will learn
generally about the climatic differences that characterize the four main
regions of the country.
The initial activities serve as a review of information
previously introduced. Students know where Ecuador is located, that
there are four regions in Ecuador and where they are located. The lesson
occurs in Spanish in the immersion context. Students should learn new
content vocabulary and review expressions in the context of this lesson
for expressing opinions, asking others for their opinions, agreeing, and
disagreeing, formulating questions.
- identify the geographic location of Ecuador and make predictions about its
climate given its location.
- identify the location of the four main regions in Ecuador.
- use prior knowledge to predict about features of the four main
regions by categorizing pictures of selected plants, animals, and
landscapes according to their region
- develop an initial awareness that the distinct regions of the
country and their climatic conditions influence culture in different
Language: Content Obligatory
- use the following terms (and others depending upon pictures selected):
las Islas Galápagos
El Oriente (La Amazonía)
el nivel del mar
- use the present tense with hacerto describe weather and
climate, such as hace calor and hace frío
- use porque clauses to explain cause and effect. ("I think
the tortoise lives in the Galapagos because the islands are surrounded
by the sea.")
- use estar in the present tense (3rd person singular &
plural) to describe location (está en...) and condition (está
- use the impersonal hay (there is/are) to talk about things in the environment (hay montañas)
Language: Content Compatible
- use the following verbs and phrases:
estoy de acuerdo
tener (no tener) razón
- use the present tense (1st person singular & plural) to indicate
agreement/disagreement, and to share opinions with phrases like pienso
que, opino que, creemos que, (no) esoty de acuerdo, etc. (see
- use second person singular informal verb forms in the present tense to form simple questions to elicit others' opinions (e.g., ¿qué piensas?)
Learning Strategies / Skills Development / Social
- hypothesize about the climate of Ecuador
- utilize nonfiction resources effectively to complete the assigned
task (maps, pictures, etc.)
- work cooperatively to categorize plants, animals, foods, and landscapes
into the four distinct regions of Ecuador
- carry out assigned cooperative group role as described
large map of the world or globe
map of Ecuador showing the location of the equator and the Galápagos
large cards with the names of the four regions (La sierra; La costa;
El Oriente; Las Islas Galápagos)
copies of pictures (from postcards, books, CD-ROMs, or web) or postcards
representing animals, plants, foods, and/or landscapes that characterize
the four main regions of the country - approximately 2 or 3 photos for
each region, 8 to 12 photos per small group
Velcro or other material to attach pictures to a poster-board without
ruining the pictures
a piece of tagboard for each group, divided into four equal parts
Description of Task:
The teacher asks (in Spanish) for a volunteer
to locate Ecuador on the world map or globe. Another volunteer is asked
to write "Ecuador" on the board. They review why Ecuador is called
Ecuador and locate where the equator runs through the country. The
teacher asks if anyone knows the name of the continent where Ecuador is
located. Another volunteer writes "Sudamérica" on the board. Students
are asked to predict what kind of climate they believe Ecuador has and
why. The teacher reviews (or introduces) the basic structures for
describing weather temperatures and conditions - hace frío, hace calor, está húmedo, está seco.
The teacher shows the large map of Ecuador and asks the students if they
can recall the names and locations of the four main regions of the
country (La sierra, La costa, El Oriente, and Las Islas Galápagos).
As students recall the regions, the teacher shows the name for each
(written on a large card, like a flashcard). Each card can be attached
to the map (velcro or some other material is placed on the card so that
it can be attached to the map and removed easily). Student volunteers
are asked to identify the regions of the country with their
corresponding names. At the end of the activity, the four regions are
labeled on the large map so that all students can see.
The teacher divides the class into small
cooperative groups with 4 students each. Each group is given a
poster-board that has been divided into four equal sections and they are
told that once they begin, they have 15 minutes to complete the task.
Each group is also given a set of copies of pictures or postcards that
can be attached to the poster-board. The pictures represent plants,
animals, foods, and/or landscapes from the distinct regions. For
El Oriente: the jungle (rainforests), rivers, tropical fruits, colorful
La Sierra: snow-capped mountains/volcanos, llamas,
hand-woven sweaters, ceramic bowls, cloud forests, Andean condor, paramo
fox, and potatoes
Las Islas Galápagos: cactus, giant tortoise, iguanas, sharks, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, penguins, rocky shores
Ideally, each group is given a different set of pictures to expand
the vocabulary base of the class (this may not be possible depending
upon the pictures the teacher has available for the activity). Students
are told that they are to work together as a group to place the pictures
under the corresponding region. She may need to model this for the
class by showing a picture and having the whole class offer ideas and
opinions about which region such an animal/plant/place/person would
likely be found.
Each group member is assigned one of the following roles, but all students are to participate in the group activity.
Recorder and Timekeeper - student writes the name of the each
region in one of the four sections on the poster board. Student also
keeps track of time so that the group completes the task in the allotted
Task Facilitator - student keeps the group on task and makes
sure that everyone gets a chance to share his/her opinions. In addition
to expressing his/her own opinion, this student will need to practice
basic questions (e.g.,¿Qué piensas? or ¿Qué crees? or
Language Facilitator - student listens carefully to the language
used by the group members and helps provide needed vocabulary by checking
the board and reviewing structures.
Reporter - student reports back to the whole class and
explains his/her group's poster. This student will need to practice the
1st person plural (e.g.,Creemos que... or Pensamos que...) and phrases with "because" (e.g.,porque hace calor)..
The recorder writes the name of each regions
in a section of the poster while the other students work together to
think about possible categories for the pictures. The group works
together to complete the task and the teacher circulates among the
groups to check on their progress. The teacher is also circulating to
listen for use of the new vocabulary and expressions as well as to check
for question formation and other expressions to be used during the
The presenter for each group briefly explains why
the group arranged the pictures in the way that they did. After the
groups present, they compare the posters and look for similarities and
differences. The teacher points out on the map particular geographic
aspects of the various regions and helps students make the connections.
The class discusses the groups' work, asks questions, offers suggestions
for changing the location of the various pictures until they come to
agreement. Throughout the discussion, the teacher encourages use of the
new vocabulary and structures they have been practicing. The teacher
asks questions that help students begin to develop an awareness of the
relationship between climatic and geographic conditions and how they
influence what's available to particular cultures. For example, in the
sierra it gets very cold so it makes sense that there will be llamas
instead of iguanas and that people will cultivate potatoes instead of
growing tropical fruit.
After the whole class discussion, groups are asked to return to their
posters and make the necessary corrections. Students take turns to
identify each picture by writing down the name of the object/animal/food
it represents. Completed posters are then displayed in the classroom or
Informal assessment occurs throughout the activities. The teacher
may also decide to assess students' participation, understanding of
content, and use of language more formally by creating a checklist and
checking off students' names as she observes their participation. For
Needs improvement = - (minus)
Satisfactory work = (check)
Excellent/outstanding work = + (plus)
Uses new vocabulary||
Uses new structures||
|Sondra|| || || || |
|Timothy|| || || || |
|Ruth|| || || || |
|Sam|| || || || |
References and Resources:
Notes: This lesson is a translation and adaption of a lesson prepared
by Andrea Marcy and Montserrat Recarte, two immersion teachers who
participated in a USDE-funded, University of Minnesota-directed group
study abroad project to Ecuador in July 1999.
To learn more about Ecuador, check out these
Basic information about Ecuador and its regions.
An extensive bibliography on the Environmental History of Latin America.
The South American Explorer's Club, which has club sites in Ecuador, Peru, and the U.S..
The website has extensive links to others in Ecuador.