Lesson 6: Peru: A Train to the Clouds

Once each month a train departs the coastal mega city of Lima, Peru, bound for the highlands. Along the way the railroad passes through numerous tunnels and over trestles, crowning out at nearly 16,000 feet elevation. Host David Yetman hops on the train to arrive at its destination, the indigenous city of Huancayo, high on the Altiplano of the Andes and as different from Lima as any two cities in the world.

Learning Objective

Students will understand that geographical differences in Peru influence
lifestyle, traditions, and economy.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places, & Environments B, D, E

Discussion Prompts

  • How might geography influence growth among megapolis, cosmopolitan, and small cities?
  • What are some of the factors that are impacted by elevation and must be taken into account for residents in this area of Peru.
  • In what ways might global warming affect successful crops and lifestyle in this region of Peru? Justify your response.
  • Food is believed to be medicine for the indigenous people of Peru. Elaborate on this concept with examples and explain why you agree or disagree.

Lesson Activities

  • According to the video, elevation affects height. Construct an argument with facts, and your opinion that supports or disproves this theory. Display findings in a graph.
  • Imagine you and a visually impaired friend joined David Yetman on the train ride. Your friend asked you to describe what you’re seeing. Write a personal narrative telling your friend what you saw during the train ride, including how and what you felt.
  • Create an infomercial promoting ecotourism in that region.
    Illustrate the story of the people from the Altiplano, reflecting their traditions, lifestyle, and economy.


  • altiplano
  • cochinilla
  • cosmopolitan
  • economy
  • elevation
  • highlands
  • lifestyle
  • megapolis
  • traditions
  • trestles