In this two-part challenge, students learn about the interconnections between Canada and four profiled countries (India, Tunisia, Peru and Ukraine) by examining headlines and brief notices in print and electronic newspapers for indications of the nature of their interactions. In preparation for this activity, find headlines of articles, advertisements, travel features and employment opportunities that deal with interactions between Canada and the profiled counties in various areas, including:
- People moving between countries (immigration)
- Personal or family connections
- Pollution/ environment
- International assistance
- Cultural exchanges or arts
- War or trouble between countries
- Business or trade (imports/exports)
A search of Google™ News Canada for "Canada and [one of the four profiled countries]" will generate hundreds of news headings with cryptic descriptions. Initially, you may want to download the title of the piece and prepare a two-sentence description to help students get the gist of the article. Eventually, students may be able to conduct their own online search (e.g., "Canada and Peru") and decipher the headlines using the cryptic clues. The following are illustrative of the headlines and sample descriptions:
Canada should pave way for India to join G-8 group
In July, the G-8 Summit of world leaders will take place in Scotland. Prime Minister Paul Martin should launch a campaign to invite India to become a member of this exclusive democratic club. The G-8 should become the G-9.
Canadians remember Air India victims
Hundreds of local mourners gathered last night to pay their respects to the victims of the Air India disaster. Political leaders from both countries laid a wreath below the 329 names of the people who died in air crash.
Introduce the lesson by locating Canada and the four profiled countries on a large world map. Pose two questions for students to consider:
- What kinds of connections might Canada have with these four countries?
- Which of these countries would be most connected with Canada? (i.e., based on the number and importance of the connections)
Suggest to students that they are going to research these questions by reading news reports about our connections with these four countries.
Demonstrate the process that students are to follow using a sample headline (e.g., "Canadians remember Air India victims") and ask students to look for clues to answer the following questions:
- What countries are involved?
- What event or action is described?
- Is the event something in the past, present, or future?
- What type of connection is this (e.g., trade, cultural exchange, tourism)?
If students are unable to answer these questions based exclusively on the headline, provide a brief description adapted from the article (e.g., "Hundreds of local mourners gathered last night to pay their respects to the victims of the Air India disaster. Political leaders from both countries laid a wreath below the 329 names of the people who died in air crash."). Help students use the clues in this additional information to answer the three questions. Repeat the process as a class until students develop some facility in uncovering the clues.
In groups, provide students with 10 headlines for each of the four profiled countries and a chart for them to record their answers to the three questions listed above. You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Supporting Conclusions (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity. As indicated above, you may want to encourage students to generate their own headlines using a Google™ News Canada.
When students have interpreted their headlines, direct them to attach their headlines on a wall map of the world, drawing lines from each headline to the countries it connects to. Invite students to label each headline, using colours or key terms (e.g., trade, cultural exchange, tourism) to indicate the type of connection between Canada and the four profiled countries. Students might classify the headlines under topics you provide or they may devise their own categories to indicate the types of links.
After all the headlines have been attached to the map, invite the class to look for patterns by discussing the following questions:
- What countries did you find the most links to?
- Were there any countries to which you found few or no links?
- Why might this be so?
- What types of links were most common? Why?
After the discussion, ask students individually to answer two questions:
- What is Canada's most important link with each of the four countries?
- Which of the four countries is most connected to Canada?
In making their decisions, suggest that students consider the number of connections and the nature of the impact.