Glencoe World Geography, 2005
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Chapter 8: The Physical Geography of Latin America
"Costa Rica"

Students have read about the physical geography of Latin America. In this lesson they will focus on the physical geography of one country—Costa Rica. Students will acquire a more in-depth understanding of the relationship between the geographical resources of this country and the activities of its people.

Lesson Description
Students will use visit the Costa Rica Tourist Board Web site to learn more about the physical geography and history of this country. After answering questions about the landforms and history of Costa Rica, students will create a travel guide that describes some of Costa Rica's ecotourism attractions.

Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will be able to describe the landforms, bio diversity, and history of Costaa Rica.
  2. Students will be able to gather and organize information about Costa Rica to create a travel guide.

Applied Content Standards
Standard 1: The geographically informed person knows and understands how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
Standard 4: The geographically informed person knows and understands the physical and human characteristics of places.
Standard 8: The geographically informed person knows and understands the characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on Earth's surface.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. Unlike most of Latin America, Costa Rica has not been dominated by military dictatorships and has not had a military for over 50 years—the army was abolished in 1948.
  2. Similarities: both have 3 branches of government; civil, criminal, and appellate courts; and a president elected to a 4-year term. Differences: Costa Rica has 2 vice presidents, the United States has one; Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly has 57 elected members, the U.S. Congress has 535 members; the president of Costa Rica cannot run for reelection, the U.S. president may serve 2 terms.
  3. On a tour of Costa Rica's waterways, a visitor might see iguanas, monkeys, ospreys, anhingas, kingfishers, herons, crocodiles, three-toed sloths, oropendolas, and fish such as tarpon, snook, and guapote.
  4. Cloud forests cover the upper slopes of most mountains and volcanoes and have mosses and other small plants covering the trunks and branches of the trees. Rain forests, which can be found in the Atlantic lowlands and the southwest, have massive trees, very high canopies, and little growing on the dimly lit forest floor.
  5. Students' travel guides will vary.

Go To Student Web Activity


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Glencoe World Geography, 2005
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