Las Regiones del Ecuador

Submitted by CoBaLTT staff (adapted and translated from a lesson in Spanish done by Andrea Marcy and Montse Recarte)

Language: Spanish
Unit Cultural Theme or
Academic Content Area:

Science, Geography

Target Audience:

Immersion Elementary
Grade: 2

Proficiency Level:

Intermediate Low



1.1, 1.2, 1.3







Lesson Timeframe:

40-50 minutes

Lesson Overview:

As a basic introduction to Ecuador, students will learn generally about the climatic differences that characterize the four main regions of the country.

Lesson Context:

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.


Students will...

  • 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

Students will...

  • develop an initial awareness that the distinct regions of the country and their climatic conditions influence culture in different ways

Language: Content Obligatory
Students will...

  • use the following terms (and others depending upon pictures selected):

    la sierra
    las montañas
    las Islas Galápagos
    la costa
    El Oriente (La Amazonía)
    la jungla/selva
    las regiones
    el nivel del mar
    la llama
    la tortuga
    la iguana

    el manglar
    la playa
    el cactus
    la altura
    el volcán
    la rana
    el cangrejo
    el país
    el continente

  • 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 seco)
  • use the impersonal hay (there is/are) to talk about things in the environment (hay montañas)

Language: Content Compatible
Students will...

  • use the following verbs and phrases:

    estoy de acuerdo

    de acuerdo
    lo mismo
    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 above)
  • 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 / Social and Skills Development:
Students will...

  • 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

Time Frame:

40-50 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • large map of the world or globe
  • map of Ecuador showing the location of the equator and the Galápagos Islands
  • 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 Assessment (Performance Project):

    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 frÃ∆o, 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.

    Task set-up:
    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 example:

    El Oriente: the jungle (rainforests), rivers, tropical fruits, colorful poisonous frogs
    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 time
  • 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 ¿Qué opinas?).
  • 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)..

  • During-task:
    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 activity.

    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 hallway.


    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 example,

    Needs improvement = - (minus)
    Satisfactory work = (check)
    Excellent/outstanding work = + (plus)

    Name Participates actively Uses new vocabulary Uses new structures Notes

    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 websites:

    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.


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