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Hillside Elementary School Students See South American Country from Classroom

Hillside Elementary School students in their Carnival masks.Some Hillside Elementary School students are taking a trip to a big South American country this spring, right from the comfort of their own classroom.

In Beth Margalit’s third grade class, students are learning about Brazil, the largest country in South America. Previously this year, students had learned about China and Russia. Now, they are both excited and eager to learn more about Brazil including its climate, animals, foods and culture.

“I want to learn more about the Amazon Rainforest and all the different animals and plants,” said Rowan C. “I definitely want to visit Brazil someday.”

“I'm excited to learn about the Amazon River and the species living in it like piranhas and dolphins,” added Clementine K.

According to Margalit, the Amazon Rainforest and the Amazon River tend to be a fan favorite among the third grade students with the wide array of animal and plant life populating the areas. Margalit likes to highlight the habitats with a special assignment following the end of the unit.

“We do a big Amazon Rainforest project at the end of the year,” she said. “The students make posters about the four layers of the rainforest and all of the animals and plants that you would find in each layer.”

As another special assignment, the students got to mask up, but a little more creatively than usual. Studying other details about the country, such as their different customs and celebrations, students found out about the country’s most popular holiday: the Brazilian Carnival. While learning about the background of the celebration, students were able to make their own masks which would fit right in on any street in São Paulo during the annual celebration.

Beth Margalit's third grade class's bulletin board showcasing studies on Brazil.“I loved making the masks and wearing them,” said Hanling D. “I think it's cool that they can show their personality and have fun for Carnival.”

With their homemade masks on parade on their Brazilian bulletin board outside the classroom, students are now excited to dig further down into Brazil, and hopefully, to dig in as well!

“I want to learn more about the food in Brazil because I love baking new things and I’m really excited to bake something from there,” added Lila S.