Geography, Climate, and Community in the Dominican Republic
- The Caribbean, Dominican Republic
- Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
- Language Arts & Literature, Social Studies & Geography
Students will begin to familiarize themselves with the geography and culture of the Dominican Republic.
- Students will be able to use primary source materials on the Dominican Republic to explore the question: How does where you live influence how you live?
- Students will be able to describe the geography and climate of the Dominican Republic.
- Students will be able to describe ways in which life in the Dominican Republic is similar to, and different from, life in the United States.
- We'd like to suggest that you introduce the geography of the Dominican Republic to your students by using scenarios that add purpose, curiosity, and importance to their study. Scenarios invite students to step into a real-world situation and ask: What do I need to know about this place? How will this place affect how I live? You'll find some scenarios below. Or you and your students can come up with your own.
Scenarios. Ask students what they would want or need to know if
- They just learned that their family is moving to the Dominican Republic.
- They were going to participate in a student exchange program and live in the Dominican Republic for a summer or a semester.
- They were about to graduate from college and begin their first job working for an international business that is sending them to work in the Dominican Republic. Have students jot down items individually. Follow with a class discussion. Make a list on the chalkboard or an overhead projector of frequently mentioned items.
- Inform students that they are now going to learn about life in the Dominican Republic from the real-world experience of Peace Corps Volunteers who have served there. Mention that these are primary source documents. Volunteers were either interviewed or asked to complete a questionnaire that focused on what life was like in the Dominican Republic.
- Provide each student with a copy of one of the two Primary Source Packets. There is one packet for middle school students and another, more extensive one for high school students. The packets contain primary source material that summarizes Peace Corps Volunteers' impressions and feelings about the location and the community where they served—and also about the geography and climate of the Dominican Republic.
- We suggest that you organize this learning experience as a cooperative learning "jigsaw" activity. Divide students into groups of three. In their groups of three, each student will be reading different material in the Primary Source Packet. Designate students in each group as #1, #2, or #3. Student #1 will be reading about "My Location," Student #2 will be reading about "My Community," and Student #3 will be reading about "Geography and Climate."
- Have all #1s move to one table; have all #2s move to another table; and have all #3s move to another table. Ask students to read their section silently and then, at your signal, have them discuss what they have learned with the others at their table.
- Provide each table with enough copies of the graphic organizer on Worksheet #2 (find link above) for all students. Ask students to record notes on the organizer as they are reading and discussing their assigned section of the Primary Source Packet.
- After students have read about their assigned topic and recorded their findings on the graphic organizer, ask them to return to their original group of three with their completed graphic organizer and share their responses with the other two students in their group. As they are listening to and learning from their partners, ask students to take additional notes on their graphic organizers.
After listening to their partners and searching the Peace Corps Volunteers' information for answers, the class should come together to discuss:
- What picture is emerging of the Dominican Republic?
- Is it a complete picture?
- How would your life be different if you lived in the Dominican Republic? How would it be the same?
- How accurate were your initial assumptions about the Dominican Republic as compared with what you have learned?
- Have each student add additional information under each question on Worksheet #2.
Journal Entry. Ask students to reflect on the following two questions and to record their answers in their journals:
- Compare your life in the United States with life in the Dominican Republic, based on the categories provided in the two graphic organizers you've completed (Worksheets #1 and #2) and the Volunteer quotes.
- Describe what you've discovered about how "where you live influences how you live."
Journal entries; Completion of graphic organizers
Frameworks & Standards
- Where we live influences how we live.
- How does where you live influence how you live?
National Geography Standards
How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on the Earth's surface.
Language Arts Standard
The learner will demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies for reading a variety of informational and literary texts.