What our Caribbean Islands lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Caribbean Islands is a fun lesson for students from 3rd through 6th grade. Students will learn all about this tropical part of the world. They will discover some of the facts and traits about this region that make it special. They will learn some of the history as well. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies you need for this lesson include colored pencils, glue or tape, and a map of the Caribbean.
Options for Lesson
You will find several additional ideas and activities to incorporate into the lesson in the “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page. Students may work in pairs or in groups for the activity. You can simply assign more than one island to each pair or group of students. Students research every island and create a small booklet with relevant information for a tourist. Plan a “Caribbean Island” day or week during which parents make food using recipes native to the islands. Invite one or more persons who have visited the Caribbean to speak with students about the experience. Students re-create some of the art or play or listen to the music of the Caribbean. Conduct a spelling bee using the island names and their capitals.
The teacher notes page provides an extra paragraph of information to help guide the lesson and remind you what to focus on. It suggests you teach this lesson in conjunction with others related to various world regions. The blank lines on this page are available for you to write out thoughts and ideas you have as you prepare the lesson.
CARIBBEAN ISLANDS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
About the Caribbean Islands
The Caribbean Islands lesson plan contains six pages of content. One of the most beautiful regions in the world is a collection of islands we often refer to as the Caribbean. The Caribbean Islands draw people to their tropical climates, beaches, diverse ecosystems, and year-round vacation temperatures. At one time, we called them the West Indies. The region is located southeast of North America, northwest of South America, and east of Central America.
These beautiful islands stretch across the Caribbean Sea. You can sort them into three main island groups: the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Lesser Antilles. There are over 7,000 islands islets, reefs, and cays. The area is usually regarded as a sub-region of the North American continent. The Caribbean is organized into 28 territories that include sovereign states (countries), overseas departments, and dependencies. Despite the number of islands, people only inhabit about 2% of them.
Most of the islands are still colonies of European nations. The islands played an important role in the Cold War during the 20th century and in the colonial struggles of European powers between the 16th and 19th centuries.
The name originates from a group of Amerindians in the region during the late 15th century called the Caribs. When Christopher Columbus landed in this region, he thought he was in the Indies. (The Indies was the name for the area back then that included all of southeast Asia.) However, he was actually in the Americas. But that is why the Caribbean Islands used to have the name, the West Indies.
Climate, Landforms, and Wildlife
The climate and landforms in the region vary from one place to another. Some islands have a relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. There are others with towering mountain ranges that formed from erupting volcanoes many years ago. The climate is sub-tropical to tropical and depends on the proximity of the island to the trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean.
Winter and summer temperatures vary little. January temperatures average from 71°F to 77°F while July’s average temperatures range from 77°F to 84°F. The biggest difference between seasons is the amount of rainfall. Climate varies widely on the larger islands where high mountains influence the weather. Hurricane season plays a large role in bringing rainfall to the Caribbean as well. The larger islands experience more rainfall due to the mountains’ effects on weather patterns.
The diverse ecosystems of the Caribbean Islands range from montane cloud forest to cactus scrublands. Sadly, deforestation and development by humans have devastated many areas. There are dozens of highly threatened species, including giant shrews and the Cuban crocodile. In all, the Caribbean is home to over 6,500 plants, 41 native mammals, 163 native birds, 469 native reptiles, 170 native amphibians, and 65 native freshwater fish.
Cuba is home to more than half of the region’s native plants. Wildlife includes a variety of turtle species, whales, dolphins, stingrays, and iguanas. In addition, there are sloths, monkeys, jaguars, river otters, pumas, and more. Bird species found in the region include toucans, manikins, and tanagers. Plus, there is a cave system where more than 500,000 bats roost during the day.
People of the Caribbean
Many of the people living on the islands are the descendants of slaves that Europeans brought from Africa when colonizing the region. English is the dominant language in the Caribbean and is the official language of at least 18 islands. Other official languages include Spanish, French, Dutch, Creole, Papiamento, and other dialects.
The 1-million-square-mile region of the Caribbean Islands includes a culture that mixes the traditions of the many ethnicities that live there. The art, music, literature and culinary achievements reflect the legacy of the African slaves who were forced to work there. The Caribbean is one of the most coveted destinations in the world. Many places boast tourism as its number one industry. Specifically, the Greater Antilles is the most-visited region.
The Caribbean Islands comprise 28 independent countries and other territories. Some are more familiar and well-known than others, such as Cuba, Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Dominican Republic. Over 40 million people call the Caribbean Islands home, but the Caribbean is a destination for millions more every year.
Facts about the Islands
Students can then review information about specific islands in the Caribbean. The lesson describes some of the popular islands and which ones belong to which of the three island groups. In the Greater Antilles, we find Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. There are three sub-groups in the Lesser Antilles: Leeward Islands, Winward Islands, and ABC Islands.
Leeward Islands include Anguilla, Antingua, St. Martin, US Virgin Islands, and Montserrat. Winward Islands include Barbados, Grenada, and Trinidad. In addition, we would also find St. Lucia, Martinique, and Tobago here. The ABC Islands are Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. The Lucayan Archipelago is where you would go if you want to visit Turks, Caicos, and The Bahamas.
Some interesting information students will learn includes the fact that the Cayman Islands had no inhabitants until the 17th century. The nation of Haiti was established during a slave revolt. Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae music and has a population from mostly African descent. Martinique is a French territory and is thus part of the European Union. It was once called the “Island of Iguanas.”
Aruba is one of four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It has a dry climate and lies outside Hurricane Alley. The Bahamas is an independent country and is the site of Columbus’s first landfall in 1492. And Montserrat has a very low population. It’s a British territory that is only 10 miles long and 7 miles wide.
CARIBBEAN ISLANDS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Caribbean Islands lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will help students solidify their grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.
TOURISM POSTER ACTIVITY
You will assign each student (or pair or group of students if you prefer) an island. They will create a tourism poster that will attract tourists to their island. They can use the internet to find more information and pictures to put on their posters. At the end, you will grade their posters using the rubric.
CAPITALS AND QUESTIONS PRACTICE WORKSHEET
For the practice worksheet, students will first match 10 capital cities to the correct island or territory. There is a word bank to the right of the cities from which students can select their answers. Next, students will answer 15 questions about the Caribbean islands based on the information in the lesson.
CARIBBEAN ISLANDS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
The homework assignment lists 10 islands and territories in a word bank. There is a list of 20 total descriptions. Students must match the islands to the descriptions that apply to them.
Worksheet Answer Keys
At the end of the lesson plan document are answer keys for both the practice and homework worksheets. Correct answers are in red to make it easier to compare them to your students’ work. Only a few prompts will yield variation in student responses. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.