Lesson 5: Brazil: The Diamond Range

Far inland from the tropical beaches of Brazil’s Bahia state lies an ancient escarpment that juts into Bahia’s vast interior. Host David Yetman takes us on a tour of the Chapada Diamantina, once a rich source of diamonds, now an increasingly popular recreation region. The sheer cliffs and steep mountainsides intercept moisture from the distant Atlantic. The resultant rainfall brings flow into the arid sertáo and waters the great swamp where runaway slaves hid from their owners.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the diamond range in Brazil, including ecological highlights of the area.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places & Environments E, F, K

Discussion Prompts

  • Why is the Chapada Diamantina considered an oasis? Why is this area so important as a source of water?
    How did the discovery of diamonds in the area change the economy and industry over the years?
  • If you were a spelunker giving a tour of the cave in the video, what highlights would you focus on? Include the light, sound, formations and other relevant details.
  • Compare the ecology, climate and weather of the Chapada Diamantina with that of your hometown. What aspects from the video stood out to you as most appealing and how do these compare to the area where you live?

Lesson Activities

  • Create a brochure highlighting the Chapada Diamantina area of Brazil and the diamond industry for the purpose of attracting tourists to the area.
  • Create a 3-way Venn Diagram or chart that lists facts about the day in the life of a townsperson, miner and tourist. How might their day-to-day activities differ?
  • Create a booklet that lists 10-15 environmental highlights of the area. Include terminology, definitions and drawings.
  • Write a factual report on the caves of Chapada Diamantina. List some of the specific features that make these caves unique.


  • adjacent
  • arid
  • ecosystem
  • escarpment
  • intercept
  • limestone
  • geology
  • plantation
  • spelunker
  • travertine