Canada is our northernmost neighbor with whom we have many treaties and agreements.The idea of overlooking learning about an important country--which happens to be a neighbor-- is simply ridiculous!
To reconcile what isn't with what is was simple: I planned a short unit to study Canada before we finished our novel and moved to the next unit. We are reading Hatchet, which is set in Canada. Where in Canada I don't know, nor does Brian, the main character. When the pilot of this very small, two-seater airplane had a heart attack, his jerking movements knocked the plane miles off course. How far, neither Brian nor the reader knows, except that it's just far. So, I located a map of Canada and started trying to deduce where in Canada Brian is. I took the question the next day to my sixth-grade Gateway students. We started in Hampton, New York, as provided in the novel and moved northwest, aiming for the tundra oil fields, where Brian's dad works. One course took us over Hudson Bay. There is no mention of such a huge body of water in the novel. We finally concluded that there simply is no way to figure it, except through approximation.
That led me to creating a short unit on Canada. I ordered a coloring book of Canada with provinces, lakes, towns, and maps of Canada. First, students colored the provinces, learning them as we colored, Next, they cut out the provinces, creating smallish puzzle
pieces which they put together, learning the geographical placement along the way. Then they quickly researched a province for its capital and one tourist site.
I took notes as they presented their brief reports of their provinces. Here are some of their findings:
Hotel Frontenac in Quebec City is the most photographed hotel in the world.
New Brunswick is the Lobster Capital of the world.
Nova Scotia has the most extreme tidal range in the world.
Yukon was the site of gold mining in the late 1800's.
Northwest Territories experiences the aurora borealis.
British Columbia has 25% of all grizzly bears in North America.
Prince Edward Island produces the most blueberries in Canada.
Alberta and British Columbia are sites of the Canadian Rockies.
The next day I gave them a surprise quiz: smallest province, largest, most islands, an island province, the most western, one bordering New York (our character's home and starting place), one bordering other states, and so on. Nearly everyone made an A.
Today I found calendars on sale at our local shopping center. One had gorgeous photos of the aurora borealis, two taken in the Northwest Territories. I bought it to so I could place those photos on our bulletin board. Another calendar depicted "majestic mountains." I'm hoping that the locations are named and Canada's Rockies are among them. Just checked, and they aren't!
|aurora borealis over the Northwest Territories|
So, we've learned a bit about Canada. I'm glad to report it.