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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG): the heart of geography
Where is Brazil? An identification of the human and physical features
The Brazilian climate
Urbanisation: the great tug of war
A city of two halves
The indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest
What is life like in Brazil?

Brazil - The indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest

This lesson was created to develop pupils’ understanding of the indigenous people of Brazil. It is important when learning about Brazil,  to understand that not all people choose to live in the urban environment and that the indigenous people play an important role in Brazil’s culture.

The lesson also provides cross-curricular links to literacy by encouraging pupils to write at length. 

Within this lesson, the working wall can be developed to include key vocabulary, terminology and definitions. Pupils’ work should be displayed on the working wall following the lesson.

Key questions

  • What does the term ‘indigenous people’ mean?
  • Who are the Awa tribe?
  • What are lives of the Awa tribe like?
  • What are the threats facing the Awa tribe?
  • To develop a knowledge and understanding of the indigenous people of Brazil
  • To understand the similarities and differences between the lives of the indigenous people and other people living in Brazil.
  • To understand the threats facing the indigenous people of Brazil.

Subject content areas

  • Locational knowledge: locate the Amazon rainforest using maps and focus key physical and human characteristics. 
  • Place knowledge: understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of the Amazon rainforest. 
  • Human and physical geography: human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water.
  • Geographical skills and fieldwork: independent research into the Amazon rainforest and Awa tribe.


Additional links


The lesson will begin with a question posed by the teacher:

  • Do all people living in Brazil want to migrate/live in the urbanised areas?

The pupils should be encouraged to discuss this question in pairs before reporting back to the class
for a whole class discussion.

Bulding on from the previous question (if the pupils have not already brought up the indigenous
people of the Amazon), pose the following question:

  • Does anyone live in the Amazon rainforest?
  • Who are the people that live in the Amazon?

The pupils should be encouraged to discuss this question in pairs before reporting back to the class
for a whole class discussion.

Following this, share the footage of the Awa tribe with the pupils.
Go to Youtube website and go to Survival International website for information about the Awa tribe.
Allow the pupils to watch this footage without interruption before posing the following questions:

  • What do you think the lives of these people is like?
  • How do you think they felt when they saw the plane filming them?


 At this point, develop a teacher-led discussion with the whole class. See below for more detailed

  • Explain that the film footage they watched was of the Awa tribe.
  • Explain that the Awa tribe are an uncontacted tribe which live in the Amazon.
  • Brazil is home to the highest number of uncontacted tribes in the world. Explain that uncontacted means that the tribes have no contact with the outside, modern world.
  • There are thought to be over 77 isolated groups living in the Amazon. 

Following the discussion, pose the question:

What is meant by the term, indigenous people?
People who originate from a particular region or country who choose to remain living in their ancestral home.

What does the term, uncontacted tribe mean?
A group of people who choose to live a traditional lifestyle. They have no association with the modern world and have no contact with it. 

Main Activity

In the main activity, the teacher should explain that the pupils are going to research and find out more information about the indigenous people of the Amazon.

The teacher should explain that the pupils will be focusing on developing their knowledge and understanding of the Awa tribe who they were introduced to in the starter.

Using the Indigenous people of the rainforest PPT and the Awa Tribe information page, the pupils should collect information about the lives of people in the Awa tribe.
This task can be extended to include internet searches, if access to the internet is available in the lesson. Go to BBC website (Newspaper report about the Awa tribe).

Using the information they have collected the pupils should create a short fact file about the lives of the tribe.

Whole class discussion:

The teacher should draw the class back together to discuss the following questions:

  • What factors may be affecting the lives of the Awa tribe?

Show pupils images (see Indigenous people of the rainforest PPT for more information).

Discuss the consequences of: cattle ranching, farming, logging, disease and road building on the lives of the Awa tribe (and also the lives of those undertaking these activities) as a class.

Extension activity (the lesson can be extended into two lessons using the extension task):

Using the information they have collected about the Awa tribe, pupils are to imagine that they are a member of the tribe.

Pupils can watch the footage again, use the information in the PPT and images to plan and write a diary entry in the role of one of the members of the Awa tribe.

The pupils should write a diary entry describing what it would have been like to have seen a plane in the sky/ loggers/ cattle ranchers around their home for the first time. They could create Senses boards (see downloadable resources) to plan their ideas and develop their use of descriptive vocabulary.

This activity could be planned in table groups or pairs.  


What can be done to help to protect the tribes of the Amazon Rainforest?

Pupils to discuss this question within their table groups before reporting back to the whole class.
Teacher to encourage pupils to use the internet to research this further. Pupils could be encouraged
to discuss the following points to develop their thinking.

  • People could support charities who aim to protect the indigenous people
  • Improved communication with the companies and government who are making changes to the Amazon


This task could be extended by allowing the pupils to write persuasive letters to the Brazilian
government explaining how they could further protect the indigenous people of the Amazon.

Mayor of London

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