Lesson 802 – Medellín- A Colombian Transformation

David Yetman visits Colombia where he explores the town of Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia, and shares its transformation from one of violence to one of agricultural prosperity, tourist attractions and redemption. He visits sites in the surrounding areas and shares the remarkable unique aspects of these Colombian towns and the people who live there.

Learning Objective

Students will learn how Medellín, Colombia has changed from a city with a challenging history to one that is a vibrant cultural center that attracts tourists.

Social Studies Standards

Culture: A, C, D

Discussion Prompts

  • What might be some of the highlights and challenges of climbing the staircase to the top of the rock structure, El Peñón de Guatapé? What is your estimate of the number of steps? Would you be interested in going to the top? Why or why not?
  • How do you think Medellín transformed its city from a history of violence to a vibrant cultural center that attracts tourists? How long do you think it takes to make such radical changes?
  • How does the high altitude of 5,000 feet create a climate of “perpetual spring”? How does high altitude affect the climate? 
  • Why do you think Fernando Botero donated all 23 of his sculptures to the Plaza Botero? It is stated that the artist is interested in “exalting reality” through his sculptures. How might this result in a different type of art than an artist focused solely on realism?

Lesson Activities

  • Research the artist Fernando Botero and review his 23 sculptures that are in the Plaza Botero in Medellín. Select five of your favorites and create a brochure for potential tourists.
  • Write a podcast speech explaining the environmental and social positive effects of the transportation and infrastructure improvements in Medellín. Include the metro system, air cable system and pedestrian and bicycle friendly areas closed to cars. 
  • You are the mayor of a city of similar size and population to Medellín with a history of violence. You are in charge of creating an urban renewal plan to revive your city and improve its reputation so that it is safe and attracts tourists. Write an action plan of which steps you’d take to make this happen.
  • Create a tourist pamphlet that illustrates how Medellín has been beautified. Showcase the art, music, dance and other recreation from the video.


  • colossal
  • hydroelectric dam
  • kilometers
  • prosperous
  • redeem
  • renowned
  • replica
  • sentimental
  • traumatic
  • transformation


In the Americas Season 8 Lesson Episode 2