Lesson 303: Colombia: Capital and Coffee

Bogota, Colombia, is the nation’s capital and its social, cultural, and economic center. At 8,600 feet elevation, its air is thin and with eight million residents, its air is dirty. To help decrease traffic congestion and air pollution, Bogotans have created a dramatically effective mass transit system and have instituted Cyclovia: each Sunday they cordon off their downtown and turn it over to bicyclists and pedestrians. Colombians love their coffee and brag about it. Most Colombian coffee comes from the Zona Cafetera to the west of the city. Traveling there gives us a glimpse of the life history of the world’s most popular beverage, coffee.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the importance of coffee as a beverage, culture and way of life in Bogota, Columbia.

Social Studies Standards

Culture: A, B, C

Discussion Prompts

  • Discuss the high elevation of Bogota and how this affects residents and improves the growing of coffee.
  • Why have the Andes brought both joy and sorrow to the region? Explain the cause of both of these.
  • Why is Bogota described the “Athens of South America?” What does this mean and what architecture is representative of this urban renewal?
  • Why is Salento a special town? How does the magic of past inhabitants, architecture and styles of clothing attract tourists?

Lesson Activities

  • Create a PowerPoint or poster of Bogota including what elements make it the social, cultural and economic center it is. Make sure to include examples of both architecture and the arts in your product.
  • Imagine you are a coffee expert presenting a talk show on the importance of coffee in Bogota. Write at least five statements from this expert perspective about how coffee is made, why it’s important economically and why it’s valued as a way of life in Columbia. Include terminology from the video.
  • If you were part of the annual National Coffee Festival described in the video, what music, art or acrobatics would you select? Plan a routine or design a costume or float that reflects the pride of the festival. List materials, designs and other relevant details.
  • Write an essay about the Cordova Women’s Coffee Association, their environmental philosophy, challenges they’ve experienced, and how their coffee ecosystem works.


  • barista
  • congestion
  • exquisite
  • fraternity
  • groves
  • harvester
  • mosaic
  • topography
  • organically
  • utilitarian


Lesson Plan S03E03