Chiapas, in the south-east of Mexico, is one of the most plentiful states in the country, with more different animals and plants than nearly anywhere else in the world. Jayne Constantinis explores the area and the changes that have happened, looking at the ruins of a once lost city. We meet the modern Mayan population of the Lacandon rainforest and find out about their lives as subsistence farmers.
Students could draw maps of the farm areas where the Mayan population live in the Lacandon rainforest. Students could add diagrams of the houses to their maps, annotating with notes of what materials the houses would be made of, as well as the pipe which carries river water to the village for drinking, washing and vegetable plots. The Mayans' claim to have everything they need in the village. This could provide an opportunity for students to look at the different types of farming (arable, subsistence, pastoral, mixed farming, horticulture, market gardening and viticulture). Students could look at what type of farming exists in different areas of the UK, and suggest reasons why only certain types of farming can occur in certain areas. They could then expand this further, and compare subsistence farming in the UK to subsistence farming in the rainforest. Which location is more naturally suited to this kind of farming?