Lesson 8: The Geography of South America

Getting Started

Over the last several lessons, you've learned a lot about geography, landforms, water, human interactions with the physical environment, and the different ways that mapmakers show natural features, political boundaries, and other information on maps. In this lesson, you'll have the chance to apply what you've learned to a study of the geography of South America.

Stuff You Need

  • Geography of the World by DK Publishing
  • Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Ideas to Think About

  • How do the physical characteristics of an environment such as its landforms, water forms, and climate cycles affect the development of local cultures?
  • How do human beings use natural resources such as water and how do their actions affect the availability and quality of natural resources?

Things to Know

  • The continent of South America includes the countries of Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, and Argentina.


  • Identify and use models and maps as ways of representing landforms. (SS)
  • Identify key physical characteristics such as landforms, water forms, and climate and evaluate their influence on the development of cultures in South America. (SS)
  • Describe factors that influence changes in distribution patterns of population, resources, and climate in South America and evaluate their impact on the environment. (SS)
  • Examine factors such as climate change, location of resources, and environmental challenges and assess their significance in the development of cultures in South America. (SS)

Introducing the Lesson

Explain to your student that today he will have the chance to apply what he has learned about physical and human geography to an imagined trip to South America.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Geography of the World by DK Publishing
You'll be using Geography of the World as the source of information for this lesson, but you can also feel free to use other resources on South America (Internet research, other atlases or books that you may have, or sources from your local library) as well.