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Finding Our Way in the Community

Create guide books about destinations in your community.

Outcomes References Related Resources

Suggested Activities

In this challenge, students learn to locate and give precise directions by creating guide books about key destinations in their community. The activity is based on the book, Jasper's Great Canadian Adventure Book 1: Jasper Explores the Rocky Mountains by Doug and Shannon Chapman. Before reading the book, explain that the story is about a bear that gets left behind in the Rocky Mountains and does not know how to find his way home. Discuss the following questions:

  • Can you remember a time when you got lost? What happened?
  • What do people use to get from one place to another so they do not get lost?
  • What features in his surroundings might a bear that is lost in the mountains use to help him know where he is going?

Read the book aloud, taking time to examine the photographs for objects or symbols that provide useful directions for people to follow (e.g., natural landmarks, human landmarks, signs, direction words, maps, a compass rose). Create and post a list of aids to directions.

Invite students to work within groups to make their own great community adventure guide books, starring their own stuffed animals. Before setting students to work on their own destination, work through an example with the class. Using a simple, enlarged map of the surrounding area (e.g., neighbourhood, rural community, Métis settlements, First Nations community), together decide on a destination close to the school. Model how to plan the route on the map by identifying the starting point and the final destination, then look for route options (e.g., streets, landmarks, paths) that will help you reach your destination. Sketch one or two routes on the map. As a class, determine the criterion for the best route (e.g., fastest, easiest to follow or most scenic). Record the directions on the "Planning our route" chart (see below). Review vocabulary for providing clear directions:

  • ordinal numbers (e.g., first, second)
  • sequential words (e.g., next, then, after)
  • positional concepts (e.g., beside, top, under)
  • directional words (e.g., left, right, straight ahead).

Using the class-developed plan, take students on an "adventure" in the community. Stop en route and take pictures of students in front of various landmarks. Adjust your plan as needed.

Using the class example, demonstrate how to sequence the photographs in order of the landmarks so they depict the planned route. Show how to write a caption for each picture to help establish clear directions to the destination (e.g. "The animals walked under the willow tree on the corner"; "They stopped in front of the mailboxes for a rest"). Then ask the class to evaluate the sample guide book by asking the following questions:

  • Are the pictures in the right order?
  • Do the pictures show key landmarks?
  • Could someone read the captions on the page and get to the right place?

When students understand what is required, assign each group a different destination (e.g., park, bowling alley, movie theatre, river valley, hill, field). Provide each group with a copy of "Planning our route" to assist in planning the best route to the destination. Refer to the criterion for establishing the best route to decide which option to take. When each group's plan is complete, help students take digital pictures of their stuffed animals, sitting beside various landmarks in order to document directions. Before books are compiled, determine the criteria for a helpful guide book (e.g., pictures are sequenced and key landmarks represent a useful path, captions are clear and accurate). Bind the pages into individual books with titles such as, How do you get to the bowling alley? You may want to create a PowerPoint version of the guide books with assistance from parent helpers, older students or teaching assistants. Share the guide books with others in the class.

As an extension, "test" the effectiveness of the guide books by exchanging books and working with older buddies to follow the directions to the destinations.



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Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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