South America, the world's 4th largest continent, is home to twelve countries. The largest country is Brazil and the smallest is Suriname. The continent also features the world's second-longest river, the Amazon, and is home to the Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon rainforest makes up more than 50% of the world's rainforest and is home to such unique creatures as the sloth, poison dart frogs, jaguars, and anacondas. The green anaconda is the largest snake in the world!
South America and North America (home to Mexico, the United States, and Canada) are joined by a narrow strip of land called the Isthmus of Panama, where the Panama Canal is located.
Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is located 7,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains in the South American country of Peru. Machu Picchu is a compound of more than 150 stone structures built by the Incas, one of South America's indigenous people groups.
Argentina, a country covering most of the southern tip of South America, is the site of the world's tallest waterfall, Angel Falls. The Atacama Desert in the country of Chile is considered the driest place on earth.
Use the following free printables to teach your students about this diverse continent.01of 07
Word Search - Don't Mess With Us
Since the Monroe Doctrine, a ringing declaration by President James Monroe in 1823 that said the United States would not tolerate any European interference in the affairs of North or South America, U.S. history has been closely linked with its continental neighbor to the south. Use this word search to help students learn about South America, which contains 12 independent countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Vocabulary - A History of War
South America is infused with military history that you can easily use to capture students' attention as they fill out this vocabulary worksheet. For example, the Falklands War ignited after Argentina invaded the British-owned Falkland Islands in 1982. In response, the British dispatched a naval task force to the area and crushed the Argentinians, leading to the fall of President Leopoldo Galtieri, the head of the country's ruling military junta, and the restoration of democracy after years of dictatorship.03of 07
Crossword Puzzle - Devil's Island
The Iles du Salut, off the coast of French Guiana, are lush, tropical islands that were once the site of the infamous Devil's Island penal colony. Ile Royale is now a resort destination for visitors to French Guiana, a tidbit you can use to enthrall students after they complete this South America crossword puzzle.
Challenge - The Highest Mountain
Argentina is the site of the Western Hemisphere's highest mountain, Aconcagua, which stands at 22,841 feet. (By comparison, Denali, the highest mountain in North America, located in Alaska, is a "puny" 20,310 feet.) Use this kind of interesting fact to teach students South American geography after they complete this multiple-choice worksheet.05of 07
Alphabet Activity - Revolutionary Times
Bolivia, a small country compared to its neighbors Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and Chile, is often overlooked in South American studies. The country offers a variety of historical, cultural and other points of interest that might well capture students' imaginations. For example, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, one of the world's most important revolutionary figures, was captured and killed by the Bolivian army while attempting to liberate that small South American country, as students can learn after doing this alphabet activity worksheet.06of 07
Draw and Write - Apply What You Know
Let students express their artistic creativity and write about some of the facts they've found most interesting in their study of the world's 4th-largest continent with this South America draw-and-write page. If they struggle to come up with an idea for a picture to draw or a paragraph to write, have them look up any of the words listed on their vocabulary worksheet for inspiration.07of 07
Map - Label the Countries
This map offers a great opportunity to have students find and label the countries of South America. Extra credit: Have students find and label the capitals of each country using an atlas, and then show them amazing pictures of the various national capitals, while discussing some of the salient points of each one.