I am excited today to share discovering geography through a field trip to Incan ruins. After finally finding a home here in South America, we have all been excited about folding geography back into our school day.
You know I told you I use North Star Geography by Bright Ideas Press for two really big reasons.
One reason is that I love, love the fact that I can adapt it for both my middleschooler and highschooler.
(I love the digital version because I always have it on our computer to look over and we don’t have to haul the book around. Plus Mr. Awesome can print off just what we want to study.)
It is way easier with a high school geography resource, like North Star Geography, to tweak it to fit a younger child than it is to try to lesson plan for an older kid with an elementary resource.
The other big reason I am so passionate about it is because there are two or more activities or ideas listed to do with each lesson plan.
Geography at the middle school and high school level should stay hands-on and interactive. However, resources for interactive activities are not easy to find at this age much less providing the teacher with two or three brainstorming ideas to enhance the curriculum with.
And though I love creating our own hands-on ideas, I feel a resource should always ease the teacher planning by providing activities.
So when we studied about the biosphere, which includes learning about the flora, fauna and ecosystems, I just knew we had to do the second activity suggested in the curriculum, which is to learn about the area we live in now.
We didn’t have to go far to do this activity because we visited the local ancient Incan ruins or Pumapungo Archaeological Park, which was built in the late fifteenth century.
(inhibited child of mine)
Here we could learn not only about the native flora and fauna, but also tie in history.
It’s almost impossible to study either geography or history separately because things like the ecosystem and surroundings affected the development of a culture and it’s history.It reads “Tupac inka Yupanqui, and later his son Huiana Capac, dignified these provinces of the Canaris and what they called Tumipampa with buildings and royal houses, adorned the chambers with herbs, plants, and animals of gold and silver; the entrances were plated with gold, and settings of fine stones, emeralds, and turquoise; they constructed a famous temple of the sun, also plated with gold and silver . . .” Inca Garilosa de la Vega
Pumapungo was made of several buildings like the Palace of Wayna-Kapak, a high temple, terraces and even a cool tunnel of the northern Incan empire.
Though this isn’t quite all of the view of the ruins, I just had to pull back when taking the picture so you could get the full flavor of this majestic site.
The ancient ruins are part of an old Incan city Tomebamba. Most of the stones were carried off by the Spanish conquistadors to build the city of Cuenca.
The Spanish conquistadors left very little, but enough that one could determine each section. Inside were the Temple of the Sun and the Convent of the Virgins of the Sun.
This is where the Incan made brick. These were like underground big furnaces.
Then below this level is where they housed birds native to the area along with local fauna. Of course all of this entails different levels and much walking.
We just had to take our time walking down. This is the view going down.
And this is the view coming up. But the walk was well worth the time and oxygen needed to get back up. Look what we learned about in the walk down.
It reads “The Inca . . .had a house and patio full of birds, and monkeys and long-tailed monkeys, and macaws and parrots, and parakeets, and sparrow hawks and cururi . . . and many other birds of the highlands and the yungus . . .” Guaman Poma de Ayala
We hadn’t seen a guy like this at our zoo back home. This is a Bearded Guan.
A Chestnut Fronted Macaw.
It did help that there were signs made about each bird and text in both Spanish and English that had a bit about the diversity and whether it was endangered or not.
Bronze Winged Parrot.
We had to look at this guy for a while too. It is a Black-Chested Eagle. Everywhere along the site there were signs like the one below in both Spanish and English that helped us to appreciate where all the complexes and water sources were located.
(Water in the Andes)
It reads “Water, the essential origin and energizer of life, inspired its sacralization in Andean man. For this reason the myths of it’s origin are linked to rivers and lakes. This conception generated a network of knowledge that developed an ideology of belonging to nature, freed of individual forms of private property. Rather sustaining technologies of the environment were appropriated with systems of supportive social organizations.”
There were beautiful brooks and streams located in the park. Apparently, Wayna-Kapac ordered a qucha or moist ground to be constructed in honor of Tiksi Wiraqucha, a divinity venerated in the Andes.
(Orchards and Gardens of the Inca)
It reads “In the time of the Incas that cultivated area was a garden of gold and silver, as existed in the royal house of the King, where there were many herbs and flowers of diverse types, lesser plants, large trees, animals small and large, wild and domesticated, and creatures, such as snakes, large lizards and tiny ones, snails, butterflies and birds, and other large flying fowl . . .there was a large field of corn and the seed called Quinua . . .” Inca Garcilaso de la Vega
We ended our day of geography and history discoveries by adopting the local Ecuadorian way of eating ice cream just about each day. They are serious about their delicious homemade ice cream and parlors are found everywhere.
After all, because we don’t want to stand out, we have to blend in.
I hope you and your kids enjoyed the pictures because we want you to be able to savor this geography adventure as much as we did.
Hugs and love ya,
Check out our other activities using North Star Geography: