In this two-part challenge, students consider the contributions made by people in various communities through the use of photographs and/or stories, past and present. Explain that through careful observation and listening, students will be able to tell how different people contribute (or have contributed) to a community.
For the initial critical challenge, you will need pictures depicting various community helpers (e.g., pioneers, firefighters, teachers, doctors, chiefs, tribal police) actively participating in Inuit, Acadian and/or prairie communities. (A search of Google™ Image Search "prairie (Canada)," "Inuit (Canada)" and "Acadia (Canada)" will produce many hundreds of colour prints for each region.) Point out that good detectives try to answer the 5W questions when solving mysteries: who, what, where, when (i.e., past or present) and why (i.e., focus attention on altruistic motives: on the benefits the person is providing to others). Explain that students are to look for clues in the photographs to uncover how these individuals contribute (or have contributed) to the community. The emphasis is on helping students recognize how occupations, industries and services help communities function and grow. See Investigating Pictures (Modelling the Tools) for detailed suggestions on how to teach and assess the tools for interpreting the main actions in a picture.
The second challenge depends upon locating one or more stories about people, especially historical individuals and groups, who have contributed to Inuit, Acadian and/or prairie communities. These kinds of stories are available in trade books and historical biographies prepared for young readers. You may find it useful to use the 5W questions to structure students' examination of the story. After answering these questions based on the clues from the story, direct students' attention to the "why"particularly the altruistic motives (i.e., how the person or group might have hoped to contribute to the growth and vitality of the community). Elaborate on the various contributions made by the individual or group to the community's development, emphasizing different ways in which the community benefited (e.g., people feel proud of their community, have things they need, makes people want to live in the region, allows them to continue their customs). Develop criteria for determining the importance of a contribution (e.g., makes the community unique, helps it to grow, makes it good place to live). Invite students to identify three or four contributions that a particular individual made and select one aspect that is the person's most important contribution. (If studying several individuals or groups, do not invite students to compare the various contributors, but focus on each person's most important contribution.) Ask students to draw a picture of each contributor's most important contribution and the effect on the community. You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Selecting the Best Thing (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.