Grade Level: 5

Guatemala is a Central American country which is gathering its wits after 30 years of a devastating civil war.  Its volatile topography is a mountainous and forested jumble of volcanoes and jungles. 
Take a quick glance at this fantastic country by visiting the following website.  Http://



Identify the problems and challenges the people of Guatemala are facing.
Understanding and comprehension can be monitored using the worksheet attached.

Explore current Peace Corp Projects
Explore the cultural heritage of Guatemala
Develop ideas on how student can contribute to the cause.
E-mail a friend about how they can help. 
Have the students write paragraphs designed to promote tourism to Guatemala. 
Encourage students to include vivid language and colorful details to get their audience interested.

The Peace Corps in Guatemala

Student will learn about the living conditions, economy, natural resources, etc about Guatemala. Write a composition comparing living in Guatemala to living in the United States.

Lesson Plan:Teacher can read articles attached to spark interest in the two most recent natural disasters in Guatemala.

Students will take a self guided tour of the site

After the students tour the Peace Corp site they need to decide on a project the class can do to aid or increase the awareness of the need for aid in the Country of Guatemala.

(Like most countries around the world, Guatemala uses the metric system.) 

Have students use the scale on the map of Guatemala to calculate the distances in kilometers between Guatemala City and the following Guatemalan cities.  Flores (488 kilometers), Tikal (548 kilometers), Quezaltenango (206 kilometers), and Coban (528 kilometers).

Compare distances of the cities above by creating a bar graph.

Have students research earthquakes/volcanoes around the world and create a chart.  Draw a line plot graph of these activities.  Discuss relatedness.


(Current Events)  Over the years Guatemala’s large population has been plagued by poverty.  Have students gather news information on Guatemala from newspaper, magazines, television, and radio.  Does the plight of people in Guatemala seem to be getting better or worse?  Based on the information the students collected, they will give oral news reports on recent events in Guatemala.

Research the natural resources of Guatemala.  Reproduce a map of the country and illustrate the location of it’s natural resources.




Part I
Construct models of the earth’s structure using materials of their choice.
Simulate the tectonic motion of the earth’s plates.
Predict and explore the outcome of “colliding plates.”

Student Activities:
1. Using an orange, each student will identify the three parts of the Earth's cove, mantle, and crust.
2 . Instruct the students to use any material of their choice to construct a model of the Earth.
3.  In a shallow pan, have students cut pieces of
  waxed paper so that they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  Place the wax paper into the pan and slowly pour some water into the pan.  Have team observe the motion of the wax paper.  Explain that the Earth’s plates float on the mantle in a similar manner.  Ask what will happen if the plates continue to float?  Discuss collision.  Discuss formation of folds and volcanic activity.

Part II
- Correlate the occurrence of volcanic activity to record seismic activity.
- Produce a multi-line graph of the two and arrive at
a conclusion regarding their occurrences.
- Trace, chart, and plot global volcanic/seismic activity over a hundred year period.
- Write a scientific paper about their findings.

Student Activities:
Tracking and Tracing Earthquakes and Volcanoes


seismic activity 


plate tectonics  














Resources:  Internet, National Geographics, Discover Science, Encarta, Compton’s Encyclopedia, Newspaper Archives.

Question: Is there a relationship between locations that experience high seismic activity and areas of high volcanic activity?

Agriculture is Guatemala’s most important industry.  Assign students the task of reporting on the various steps in the production of one of the country’s chief crops.  They are as follows: coffee, bananas, cotton, sugar cardamon, and corn.

Have students use maps found on the internet, atlases, and other sources to locate information about the major geographic features of Guatemala. They can identify major cities, rivers, lakes, mountains, vegetation, and bordering countries and bodies of water. Students can trace a map of Guatemala on poster board and draw symbols to represent the geographic features.

Go to the site below on the Internet:

1)  What natural disasters have occurred in Guatemala in the past 5 years?
2)  What are some of the projects the Peace Corp is involved in?

3)  Read about the one of the projects and summarize it below.
4) What types of things do you think the people of Guatemala might need? Why? 
5) Read about one of Guatemala’s holidays and compare it to a similar holiday you celebrate?
6) What countries border Guatemala?
7) List 5 important facts about the country of Guatemala?
8)  Click on Food, Friends, and Fun (located on the side in the yellow zone) Pick a topic that interests you and read about it.
9) Using the E-mail site send an E-mail postcard to a friend telling them how they can help the people of Guatemala.

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Questions and comments can be directed to
Dana Gabrovsek : Webspinner
Date Created: 9/18/99 Modified:5/2002
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Phone: (713) 349-1800 Fax: (713) 349-1828