In this challenge, students learn about sites, attractions and events that have economic, cultural, historical or recreational significance by creating a multimedia presentation, such as a PowerPoint, travel brochure or website, that promotes the location or activity to a visitor to Alberta.
Ask the class to brainstorm important places or sites in the province that visitors might go to learn about Alberta's economy, history and diverse cultures and to enjoy its natural resources and environment. Identify, with coloured thumbtacks, the locations on a large wall map of the province. Depending on the number of places or sites generated, encourage students to find additional sites by contacting local visitor information centres, chambers of commerce and town/city offices or by searching the Internet. Suitable websites include Travel Alberta, Alberta Culture and Enjoying Alberta (see References).
Arrange students in groups and assign each group a specific region of Alberta: Northern Alberta, Edmonton and area, the Heartland, the Rockies, Calgary and area or Southern Alberta. Direct students to research 8 to 10 sites in their region. (If the class is not familiar with the physical geography and climate, natural and nonrenewable resources, historic or cultural influences of their regions, provide a brief overview of these features before students begin their research.) For each site, students should note information, such as:
- name of the site or attraction
- description of what it contains
- primary theme or focus
- main facts or features.
Before students begin their research, discuss the criteria for effective notes; e.g., relevant, accurate, written in the student's own words, contain key words or phrases. Consider using the location profile chart in Collecting Information (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Ask groups to select the top three to five hot spots that best represent their region. As a class, generate the criteria for a hot spot, such as:
- geographical beauty or importance
- historical significance
- cultural significance
- recreational uses; e.g., a lot of interesting and varied activities
- interesting to children and adults.
For example, Southern Alberta has many lakes, rolling hills and unique landforms, such as hoodoos. It is rich in First Nations culture, contains many important palaeontological sites and has many ranches. The top three sites selected to represent these features might include Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Bar U Ranch and Royal Tyrrell Museum. Consider using the charts and strategies in Considering Options (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Direct each group to create a multimedia presentation that advertises the selected sites in its region as the hottest spots in Alberta to visit. Encourage students to use a minimum of five key facts and one visual for each site. Reinforce geographic thinking by encouraging students to include directions and distances from major locations in their region to the recommended hot spots. Identify criteria for a persuasive multimedia presentation, including:
- visually appealing
- original or novel elements
- strong image and message for intended audience.
See Creating Persuasive and Effective Visuals (Modelling the Tools) for detailed suggestions on how to teach and assess the tools for creating effective presentations.
Invite groups to locate their sites on the wall map and share their presentations with the class.
Discuss ways in which the interests of tourism and the natural environment sometimes conflict. Invite students to debate the following question: Should the Alberta government spend more money promoting or preserving Alberta's natural resources? You may help students prepare by listing advantages of greater tourism and potential negative implications for the national environment. Encourage students to look for solutions that might maximize the advantages and minimize the environmental costs; e.g., require that people stay on designated paths, limit the number of people in certain spots, create long-range viewing places. Point out the importance of fully examining both types of solutions in reaching a decision or compromise or proposing a win-win solution for all stakeholders; e.g., the government, the public, the natural resources.