Lesson 305: Brazil’s Land of Sand

Long stretches of Brazil’s northeast coast are lined with sand dunes, some of them the size of small mountains, some of them so vast that they create their own climate. Their color, shape, and composition and their relationship with wind provide a striking variety of landscapes, each with its own ecological character, its own plants and animals. The sands are also home to the cashew tree, famous for fruit and nut. One tree in particular has become a major tourist attraction.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the vast sand dunes in Brazil and the ecological features that make them unique.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places, & Environment:
E, G, K

Discussion Prompts

  • David Yetman talks about the carnivorous meat eating plant. What is another seemingly contradictory or unexpected natural element from the video? Explain your reasoning.
  • How is the dune system creating a new and unique ecosystem that includes sea, sand and freshwater?
  • Describe how the dune buggy recreation and preservation of land work together to support the economy. What examples of this can you think of in your community?
    In the video it is stated that they can’t ship cashew juice so can only serve this drink locally.
  • Discuss a method to ship this to other locations both within Brazil and internationally so everyone can enjoy it.

Lesson Activities

  • Research the ecosystem of the sand dunes including the plants in the Atlantic Forest and the perennial lake. Describe how the sand dunes coexist with the lakes and plants.
  • Make a chart that shows at least eight types of art using sand including the examples in the video of geometric patterns, sand paintings and landscape designs. Create a color visual and notes for each type of artwork using sand.
  • Complete a research project on the unusual cultural history of São Luís. How does the city’s age and proximity to the equator factor into its culture?
  • Research and plan a trip to the Lenois dunes in the Maranhenses National Park that Yetman visited at the end of the video. What would you do there and where you would you sleep? What shoes, clothing, etc. would you need? Describe the weather conditions and land.


  • carnivorous
  • decomposition
  • dunes
  • ecosystem
  • equator
  • migratory
  • reserve
  • perennial
  • scat
  • taxonomy


Lesson Plan S03E05