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## Don’t Go To The Galapagos…Check Out Brazil’s Pantanal Instead

The first guess for a remote place in South America teeming with wildlife, primordial in its wildness? Likely the Galapagos Islands. They offer outstanding biodiversity and an appealing setting to see animals in their habitat. The problem, though, is that secret has been out for a while now. The Galapagos suffers from overtourism , with throngs of visitors surrounding every tortoise they can find or getting way too close to resident sea lions, hoping to get that Instagram-worthy shot no matter the shock they cause. Pollution, environmental damage, and draining resources are all side effects. So, where can you go instead? Try the Pantanal in Brazil, where you can find much of the fascinating appeal of the Galapagos while limiting your impact on the land and local culture.

## About Brazil’s Pantanal

The Pantanal is massive. It is the world’s largest tropical wetlands, covering an area of more than 42 million acres. Located primarily in Brazil, it sprawls into parts of Bolivia and Paraguay, providing water, land, and countless resources to millions of people and animals. The significance of this type of land is underappreciated, and half of the world’s wetlands have quietly disappeared without much uproar. The Pantanal Brazil is an excellent chance for people to visit and help protect these places forever.

## Best Time To Travel To Brazil’s Pantanal

The Pantanal is largely undeveloped, and traveling around can be challenging. However, everything is easier in the dry season. From May to September, moving from one place to another is much simpler because roads stay above water, which is the best time to visit Pantanal Brazil. Also, these are the best months for wildlife viewing, as countless numbers of animals flock to limited waterholes, giving you the best chance to see those species you hope to spot. Caimans, jaguars, and the largest parrot on the planet – the hyacinth macaw – are just some of the exotic wildlife you’ll see.

## What To Expect

Most visitors fly to a city near the outskirts of the park, typically Campo Grande, Cuiabá, or Corumbá, and then travel to a remote lodge or ranch that serves as a base camp to explore the Pantanal. These rural spots have the basics you’ll need, usually providing all the food and drink during your stay. These lodges range from rustic to luxurious, from simple tents to air-conditioned suites with private verandas.

- Language : Portuguese is the primary language, but Spanish is widely understood, so if you can speak essential phrases in either, you should get by okay.
- Wi-Fi and Cell Phone Service : You will find Wi-Fi at the lodges, but cell service can be spotty in much of the Pantanal.
- Currency : American dollars are a good idea for tipping guides, but the main currency throughout Brazil is the Brazilian real.
- Card Use: Most places accept credit cards, particularly MasterCard and Visa. American Express is generally accepted, but Discover and others may not be.
- Plugs : The electric plugs are often compatible with North American devices, but you can contact your specific lodge in advance to see what types of plugs they have.
- Health : Once you are out in the wilderness, you may encounter wild and dangerous animals, so sticking with a guide is the safest bet. Additionally, you should get a yellow fever vaccination and take malaria pills before visiting the Pantanal.

## Top Places To Visit Brazil’s Pantanal

The Pantanal wetlands are vast and diverse, and where you choose depends on your interests. Many people want to center their trip around finding the elusive jaguar, and the Porto Jofre and northern Pantanal regions are ideal for spotting these big cats. Most visitors focus on the northern and southern portions of the wetlands for easier access and the probability of finding exotic plants and animals in high concentrations. The Estrada Parque is the main pathway if you come into the region from the south. If you enter from the north, the Transpantaneira runs deep into the area, giving you access to prime, unspoiled wilderness. In the wet season, visitors need to take a boat or small airplane, opening up the potential to go anywhere they can dream. You won’t be disappointed if you seek Pantanal Brazil alligators, river otters, coati, or toucans.

## Sustainable Travel Destinations

As an alternative to the Galapagos, the Pantanal is perfect if you want to decrease your footprint when traveling. Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia have significantly increased sustainability in their lodging, tours, and transportation methods. Some examples include:

- G Adventures partners with local farmers who open their doors to tourists. You can sit with these Pantanal natives, tour their farms, see how they live off the land, and understand their rich history and deep connection to the region.
- The Pousada Santa Clara employs native guides who know the area well to go on any excursion. You can support the local economy while gaining knowledge only a local would know.
- Wild Planet Adventures offers jaguar safaris with sustainable practices. They use local guides, limit tours to one small boat for brief times, use radio-free tracking to monitor jaguar movement, and access special-permit locations to keep tourist numbers down.
- The Hyacinth Macaw Research Project in southern Pantanal lets visitors get up close to these birds, educating tourists and encouraging support so the macaws can continue flourishing.

## Bucket List Experiences

The Pantanal wetlands give tourists endless bucket list potential. This area offers the densest concentration of jaguars in the world, and your odds of finding one (or more) are very good. You can:

- Go on a jaguar safari to see these predators in the wild, a rare experience you will never forget.
- Take a boat, canoe, or kayak the endless rivers of the Pantanal to observe giant otters, capybara, and the impressive caimans, with hundreds of them lining the banks at a time.
- Fish for piranhas with a local fishing guide, frying them up for dinner – with their teeth intact!
- Take a 4×4 off-road safari at night to find caimans, giant anteaters, and many other creatures.
- Go on an exciting horseback ride deep into the wild for a unique adventure.

No matter how you spend your time in the Pantanal, you can do it responsibly and sustainably without negatively impacting local communities and the planet. So, the next time you consider a wildlife-rich, exotic South American destination, skip the Galapagos – check out the Pantanal instead.

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## Problem Solving: Guess and Check

## Teach students the same technique research mathematicians use! (Seriously.)

Need more tips and tricks for teaching math? You can find them in our math resources center .

## What Is It?

"Guess and Check" is a problem-solving strategy that students can use to solve mathematical problems by guessing the answer and then checking that the guess fits the conditions of the problem. For example, the following problem would be best solved using guess and check:

Of 25 rounds at the regional spelling contest, the Mighty Brains tied 3 rounds and won 2 more than they lost. How many rounds did the Mighty Brains win?

## Why Is It Important?

All research mathematicians use guess and check, and it is one of the most powerful methods of solving differential equations, which are equations involving an unknown function and its derivatives. A mathematician's guess is called a "conjecture" and looking back to check the answer and prove that it is valid, is called a "proof." The main difference between problem solving in the classroom and mathematical research is that in school, there is usually a known solution to the problem. In research the solution is often unknown, so checking solutions is a critical part of the process.

## How Can You Make It Happen?

Introduce a problem to students that will require them to make and then check their guess to solve the problem. For example, the problem:

Ben knows 100 baseball players by name. Ten are Red Sox. The rest are Blue Jays and Diamondbacks. He knows the names of twice as many Diamondbacks as Blue Jays. How many Blue Jays does he know by name?

When students use the strategy of guess and check, they should keep a record of what they have done. It might be helpful to have them use a chart or table.

## Understand the Problem

Demonstrate that the first step is understanding the problem. This involves finding the key pieces of information needed to find the answer. This may require reading the problem several times, and/or students putting the problem into their own words.

For example, "I know there are twice as many Diamondbacks as Blue Jays. There are 10 Red Sox. The number of Blue Jays and Diamondbacks should equal 90."

Choose a Strategy

Use the "Guess and Check" strategy. Guess and check is often one of the first strategies that students learn when solving problems. This is a flexible strategy that is often used as a starting point when solving a problem, and can be used as a safety net, when no other strategy is immediately obvious.

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## Solving Problems Using Guess and Check

Welcome to the last week in my series on problem solving strategies ! There are so many different ways to approach math word problems, but it’s important that we share these various methods with kids so that they can be equipped to tackle them! This week I’m explaining a strategy that doesn’t sound overly mathematical, but can be extremely useful when done properly: solving problems using guess and check ! As with the other strategies I’ve discussed, it’s important to help kids understand how to use this method so that they are not randomly pulling answers out of their head and wasting time.

–>Pssst! Do your kids need help making sense of and solving word problems? You might like this set of editable word problem solving templates ! Use these with any grade level, for any type of word problem :

## Guess & Check Math Strategy:

You may hear the name of this strategy and think, “Guess? Isn’t the whole point of math instruction to teach kids to solve problems so that they’re no longer merely guessing ??” While it is certainly true that we don’t want kids to simply guess random answers for every math problem they ever encounter, there are instances when educated guesses are important, valid and useful.

For instance, learning and understanding how to accurately estimate is an important mathematical skill. A good estimate, however, is not just a random guess. It takes effort and logic to formulate an estimate that makes sense and is (hopefully) close to the correct answer. (For fun and easy estimation practice, try this Mummy Math activity !)

Similarly, solving problems using guess and check is a process that requires logic and an understanding of the question so that it can be done in a way that is organized and time saving.

So what does guess and check mean? To be more specific, this strategy should be called, “Guess, Check and Revise.”

## The basic structure of the strategy looks like this:

- Form an educated guess
- Check your solution to see if it works and solves the problem
- If not, revise your guess based on whether it is too high or too low

This is a useful strategy when you’re given the total and you’re asked to find the kinds or number of things making up the total. Or when the question asks for the value of two or more different kinds of things.

For instance, you might be asked how many girls and how many boys are in the class, or how many cats and how many dogs a pet owner has.

When guess and check seems like an appropriate strategy for a word problem, it will be helpful and necessary to then organize the information in a table or list to keep track of the different guesses. This provides a visual of the important information, and will also help ensure that subsequent guesses are logical and not random.

## Using the Guess and Check Strategy:

To begin, students should make a guess using what they know from the problem. This first guess can be anything at all, so long as it follows the criteria given. Then, once a guess is made, students can begin to make more educated guesses based on how close they are to the correct answer.

For example, if their initial guess gives a total that is too high, they need to choose smaller numbers for their next guess. Likewise, if their guess gives a total that is too low, they need to choose larger numbers.

The most important thing for students to understand when using this method is that after their initial guess, they should work towards getting closer to the correct answer by making logical changes to their guess. They should not be choosing random numbers anymore!

## Here’s an example to consider:

In Ms. Brown’s class, there are 24 students. There are 6 more girls than boys. How many boys and girls are there?

Because we know the class total (24), and we’re asked to find more than one value (number of boys and number of girls), we can solve this using the guess and check method.

To organize the question, we can form a table with boys, girls and the total. Because we know there are 6 more girls than boys, we can guess a number for the boys, and then calculate the girls and the total from there.

With an initial guess of 12 boys, we see that there would be 18 girls, giving a total class size of 30. The total, however, should only be 24, which means our guess was too high. Knowing this, the number of boys is revised and the total recalculated .

Lowering the number of boys to 10 would mean there are 16 girls, which gives a class total of 26. This is still just a little bit too high, so we can once again revise the guess to 9 boys. If there are 9 boys, that would mean there are 15 girls, which gives a class total of 24.

Therefore, the solution is 9 boys and 15 girls.

This is a fairly simple example, and likely you will have students who can solve this problem without writing out a table and forming multiple guesses. But for students who struggle with math , this problem may seem overwhelming and complicated. By giving them a starting point and helping them learn to make more educated guesses , you can equip them to not only solve word problems, but feel more confident in tackling them.

This is also a good strategy because it helps kids see that it’s ok to make mistakes and that we shouldn’t expect to get the right answer on the first try, but rather, we should expect to make mistakes and use our mistake to learn and find the right answer.

What do you think? Do you use or teach this strategy to students? Do you find it helpful? Share in the comments!

## And of course, don’t miss the rest of the problem solving strategy series:

- Problem Solve by Solving an Easier Problem
- Problem Solve by Drawing a Picture
- Problem Solve by Working Backwards
- Problem Solve by Making a List
- Problem Solve by Finding a Pattern

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My strategy was usually more “guess and hope for the best”. Yours sounds much wiser, lol! Thanks for sharing at the Thoughtful Spot!

Haha!! Yes, I think that’s what most people think of when they hear, “Guess and Check!” Hope this was helpful, 🙂

How exactly do you do this?

Sorry, your way was amazing…but I’m still confused:(

I’m so sorry you’re confused. Can you explain what part you don’t understand so I can try and make it clearer? The object is to make a reasonable guess, and then adjust your guess based on if your answer is too high or too low (try to be logical rather than random).

Nicely explained post and a different logic for solving problems “Guess and check”, I don’t know that how much helpful it is but I’m sure that your idea will help to change the thinking of readers. Thanks for sharing a different kind of idea for problem solving.

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