Lesson 2: In the Mouth of the Amazon

The Brazilian city of Belem at the mouth of the Amazon is a showcase of products from the great river basin. Now the famed açai berry is expanding Belem’s reputation Reclusive river people, called ribeirinhos, harvest the berries by climbing the tall palms where they grow and rush the produce by boat to the port. There they trade for other goods, and quickly escape the city to return to their tranquil, timeless lives at the edge of the world’s greatest river. Host David Yetman takes us through Belem and visits the homes of the river people.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about life in the Brazilian city of Belem on the Amazon River.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places & Environments F, G, H, J

Discussion Prompts

  • What is the role of water in Belem? How does it affect the daily lives of the people who live there?
  • Compare your life to that of the people in Belem, keeping in mind the weather, geography, transportation and daily life of your home with that of Belem.
  • What are the pros and cons of being a ribeirinhos in Belem? Justify your reasoning.
  • If you lived on the Amazon River, what would you enjoy most about your daily life?

Lesson Activities

  • Create an informational chart describing the economy and industry of Belem focusing on açai and cacao.
  • Write a personal narrative describing what your life would be like if you were a ribeirinhos, or river person, living in Belem.
  • Create a brochure or infographic that lists at least ten facts from the video.
  • Research the Amazon River including the animals, vegetables and fruits mentioned in the video. Create a mind map or poster that includes visuals and words.


  • açai
  • cacao
  • commerce
  • enterprise
  • entrepreneur
  • industry
  • labyrinth
  • merchant
  • reclusive
  • tranquil