Native Africans    Inuit woman and girl ice fishing

The world in which we live has many different environments.  The geography of the landscape changes greatly as we move from place to place.  We may also find a very different climate, as we travel around the world.  This is one reason why communities around the world have very different lifestyles, or ways of living.  People adapt, or get used to, their environment and weather.  They can live in places that might seem very harsh to us.  In this lesson we will explore some different communities around the world.  We will see how location and climate affect their lifestyles.

dog sled  Glaciers and icebergs

We will begin our journey here, on the continent of North America.  We will travel way up north to a very cold and distant land.  In the northern part of Alaska and Canada, live the Inuit (In-you-it) people.  The Inuit have adapted to one of the harshest climates on earth.  The weather is very cold for most of the year.  The people must be prepared for long winters.   The Inuit people dress very warmly.  They must have enough food stored to last during the long winter storms, and periods of extreme cold.  Most Inuit live in houses, like ours.  A very few, however, still live in igloos.  We may also see Inuit being pulled on sleds by teams of dogs.  Most Inuit use modern forms of transportation. Many Inuit use snowmobiles to get from place to place.


 tornado  students practicing a tornado drill Right here in the United States, we have places where people have learned that they must plan for a certain type of weather.  In the Midwestern states, communities must be ready to deal with tornados.  There are many things that people in these areas do to prepare for tornados.  For example, students in parts of the Midwest, practice tornado drills.  This way they will be safe if a tornado should strike while they are in school.  Many people also keep underground shelters, or special basement areas for their families, in case of a tornado.

Mt. Everest

Nepal is a very small country located in Asia.  It is about the size of our state of Tennessee, here in the United States.  Most of Nepal is made up of high mountains.  In fact, the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest, is located in Nepal.  Most of the people living in Nepal are very poor.  Nepal does not have much contact, or do much trading with other countries.  Nepal is too remote.  The people of Nepal must get what they need to live from their land.  Winter in the mountains is very cold.  The growing season is very short.  Food is hard to find.  People in Nepal have a very different lifestyle than we do, here in the United States.


desert nomads with goats   Oasis

We have seen that people have learned to live in some of the coldest places in the world.  Well, there are also people living in some of the hottest places on earth.  The Sahara Desert is located on the continent of Africa.  It is one of the driest and hottest places in the world.   The Sahara receives only about 3 inches of rain per year. Temperatures have reached 136 degrees!  It might surprise us that there are groups of people who can live in this desert.  They are called nomads. Nomads are always on the move.  They must search for food and water for themselves and the small herds of cattle and goats they raise.  The only place to find water in the Sahara Desert is in an oasis.


hurricane coastal storm building boarded up in preparation for storm

The Bahamas are islands.  They are located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Florida.  The people of the Bahamas enjoy beautiful weather most of the year.  However, the people who live there have learned to deal with very powerful storms called hurricanes.  Many people keep sheets of plywood in their homes in case they need to board up their windows.  Food, water, candles, flashlights, and other supplies, are often stored during hurricane season.  For people in the Bahamas, preparing for a hurricane is part of their lifestyle.  Hurricanes are part of the environment in which they live.  This is similar to how the people of the Midwestern United States prepare to live with tornados.

Native American child with kayak

In this lesson, we have learned that different communities around the world practice certain lifestyles.  One of the reasons for this is because of the very different environments and climates in which people live.  We have learned that people must adapt to their environment and climate, in order to survive.  

photographs and clipart used with permission
from and 


environment:  the land, water, air, and living things that surround us  
geography:  the physical features of the land of a certain area  
climate:  the average weather of an area over a long period of  time  
adapt:  to make changes in order to survive 
igloos:  houses built in the shape of a dome, sometimes made out of blocks of ice for temporary shelter  
tornado:  a violent storms with strong swirling winds, where a funnel-shaped cloud travels over land destroying things in its path
remote:  far away from other places or civilizations  
nomads:  people who are always traveling from place to place, and have no permanent home
oasis:  an area in the desert that has water and plant life, and provides relief for  travelers
hurricanes:  tropical storms with swirling winds that start over the ocean, if they  move onto land they can cause great damage

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