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Brazil Unit Study

I am having a blast writing a column for the Old Schoolhouse magazine called the International Schoolhouse.  In the article, I get the chance to share with you about the landscape, the history and the culture of the highlighted country, in this case Brazil.  However, there is so much to tell that simply overflows a 1500 word article that I have decided to compile the remainder of the information as a unit study for you. 

If you do not subscribe to the Old Schoolhouse magazine, you can read a sample issue here -  Or better yet, subscribe here - The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC - and get the spring issue this month with the Brazil article that I have written, plus many, many more wonderful articles of encouragement from other inspirational authors.  It is their best issue yet.  Oh, and did I mention that you get 25 free gifts with your new subscription.

Okay, so now that you have read the article, it's time to dive in for some hands-on learning to cement your student's growing knowledge of this South American country.

Unit Study:

1.  READING SELECTIONS - Let's start with some extra reading.  Listed below are some great books about Brazil, or set in the South American country of Brazil, that will provide many hours of enjoyable reading.  The links below will take you to for more information, but you can find these at your local library.  Read for pleasure alone, or have your kids write a book report on one of these selections.


The first book listed above - B is for Brazil - is for younger readers. "From the wilds of the Amazon rain forest to the busy streets of São Paulo; from C is for Carnival to J is for Jangada; from football to Zebu cattle; B Is for Brazil shows this lively South American country in all its colorful diversity."  The next book - Count Your Way Through Brazil - teaches your children (ideal for ages 9-12) how to count in Portuguese (official language of Brazil) while learning about a faraway country in the process. In Brazil, Haskins and Benson present an engaging look at this vast country through snippets of information about its people, products, and way of life.

The final two books listed above are great all-around books depicting life in Brazil.  These are also geared toward 9-12 year olds.  If you would like one more book for the younger kids, check out Dancing Turtle: A Folktale from Brazil by Pleasant DeSpain.

2. HISTORY & TIMELINES - Learn more about Brazil by compiling historical facts and events from its turbulent history and adding them to your timeline.  If you do not have a timeline on the go, you can construct one by following these directions - How to Make a Timeline Easily.  Here is a link to a wonderful resource for timeline entries about Brazil -  Here is another one, a little bit more simplified for kids -   

3. MAPWORK - A unit study would not be complete without taking a good look at the lay of the land.  Click here for both a labeled and unlabeled map of Brazil.  Have your students mark some of the major cities, the neighboring countries, and the ocean to the east, at the least.  For older students, have them use your teacher's map and fill in the rest!

4. RECIPES - This is my favorite part - the food from the land!  I'm not very familiar with Brazilian cuisine, or any South American cuisine for that matter.  But these recipes sound delicious!

Here are a few favorite dishes for the locals.  Enjoy!

For an appetizer, you might want to try...

Mandioca Frita (Deep-fried manioc)

2 maniocs (also known as "cassava" or "yuca")



oil for deep-frying


1. Peel and wash the manioc

2. Cut the manioc into strips

3. Boil the manioc in water with salt

4. Drain and allow to cool

5. Heat the oil in a frying or sauce pan

6. Add the manioc and fry until golden brown

7. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt

8. Serve immediately


Salada de batata com atum (Potato salad with tuna)


5-6 potatoes

1 can of tuna

1 cup of mayonnaise

1 tablespoon of olive oil (optional)

chopped green onion

lemon juice

salt and pepper


1. Rinse the potatoes and boil them in water with salt

2. Peel the cooked potatoes and cut them into small pieces

3. Place the potatoes in a bowl and add the drained tuna

4. Add mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, green onion, salt and pepper to taste.

5. Mix well, cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Arroz Branco (Brazilian Style Rice)


Most Brazilians eat rice with beans for lunch and dinner every day!


1 tablespoon of oil

1 small chopped onion

1 clove of crushed garlic

1 cup of rice

1 1/2 cups of boiling water

1 teaspoon salt


1. Sauté the onion and garlic in hot oil.

2. Add the rice and stir-fry well

3. Add the water and salt

4. Let the water boil for a few minutes

5. Cover the pan and lower the heat

6. Once rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let it rest for about 10 minutes

7. Place rice in a bowl - it is ready to serve!


Note: Rice with carrot or tomato is also popular in Brazil.  Add either of these ingredients during the first step, while you are sautéing the onion and garlic.


Bisteca de Porco Frita (Pan-fried pork chops)


4 pork chops

1 clove of crushed garlic

finely chopped parsley

lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

oil for pan-frying


1. Place the pork chops in a bowl

2. Season with garlic, parsley, lemon, salt and pepper

3. Cover the bowl with saran-wrap and place in fridge for 1 hour or longer

4. Pan-fry the pork chops in hot oil until golden brown

5. They are ready to serve!


Banana Frita (Fried Bananas)


In Brazil, there are many types of bananas to choose from, such as banana-nanica (dwarf banana), banana-maca (apple banana), banana-prata (silver banana) and more.


2 ripe bananas

2 teaspoons of butter

cinnamon and sugar to taste


1. Peel the bananas

2. Heat the butter in a non-stick pan

3. Add the bananas and fry until golden brown

4. Place the bananas on a plate

5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar


Notes:  You may add honey and raisins to the bananas when frying them.  Fried bananas go very well with vanilla ice cream and/or whipping cream.  Brazilians also eat fried bananas with their meal, but the bananas would be coated in egg and then breadcrumbs.





The people of Brazil make some amazing and exquisite craft items that they use and sell to make a living, including weaving, beadwork and jewelry design. 

Here are a couple of fun projects that you can do with your children.  The first one is a little easier than the second.

Make a Brazilian mask:

Create an exquisite Brazilian bracelet:,,DIY_13762_3034025,00.html

And remember to have fun!

Warm Regards,

Terri Johnson
Knowledge Quest, Inc. - try our maps free! - we are looking for authors for our new book - see what we're up to. - our business helping your business to succeed!


Terri Johnson is the creator of Knowledge Quest maps and timelines.  Her mission for the company is to help make the teaching and learning of history and geography enjoyable for both teacher and students.  She has created and published over 20 map and timeline products.  Her Blackline Maps of World History have been widely recommended in the education community.  Terri resides in Oregon with her husband Todd and their six children whom she teaches at home.


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