Students learn about factors, such as geography, resources and climate, that influence quality of life, to determine the most important influence on quality of life in their community and in a community in another Canadian region.
Review landforms, natural resources and climate in Canadian regions
To review the geographical features of the regions, you may want to use activities in Canada's Regional Treasures (Critical Challenge), A Land of Riches (Critical Challenge) and Canada's Worst Natural Event (Critical Challenge).
Introduction to concept: Quality of life
Begin by asking students to generate a list of positive aspects in their lives, such as leisure activities, healthy food, comfortable dwellings, quality education and warm clothing. Invite students to share their ideas with a partner before reporting to the class. Use students' contributions to introduce the idea of quality of life. Help students appreciate that quality of life is not the same as the economic standard of living. People with less wealth can be more fulfilled than those with considerable material possessions.
Quality of life may include features such as:
- recreational opportunities; e.g., physical activities, arts, sports, hobbies, travel, socializing
- plentiful, fresh, nutritious food
- suitable housing; e.g., affordable, not crowded, made from quality materials, good location
- clean environment; e.g., free of pollution, clean air, waste disposed of
- quality education
- access to medical care
- sufficient availability of good jobs
- strong family and social network
- safe environment.
Identify factors affecting quality of life
Explain to students that location, surrounding geography, availability of natural resources and climate often affect quality of life.
For teaching strategies using Winnipeg as an example, see Factors Affecting Quality of Life in Winnipeg (Background Information), which includes a web of effects.
As part of this discussion, highlight the importance of major waterways in the establishment of Canadian communities; e.g., St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, Red River.
Create a web of effects on quality of life in your local community
With the students, create a large web to show the chain of effects on quality of life in their community. To begin, ask students to brainstorm 8 or 10 factors that affect the quality of life in their region. Refer students to the list of quality of life features developed earlier (see above). Help them identify local factors; e.g., What factors contribute to our ability to enjoy recreational activities or to find jobs? Encourage students to work in pairs to add to their lists.
After students prepare their lists of factors, ask them to categorize the factors according to the type of influence—geography, resources or climate. Direct them to record these features on a web, perhaps using mind mapping software. Consider how each category of factors affects the local quality of life.
You may want to adapt the materials in Web of Effects (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Select the dominant influence on your quality of life
After students complete the web, ask them to decide which factor—geography, resources or climate—most strongly influences their own quality of life. Invite students to provide reasons to support their decision.
You may want to adapt the materials in Ranking Options (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Research quality of life in another community
Ask students to use print and online resources to research the features affecting quality of life in another region of Canada. You may want to adapt the materials in Web of Effects (Support Material) to record the effects of each feature.
Encourage students to interview an individual in the assigned community by e-mail or telephone. You may want to refer to the materials in Asking Powerful Questions (Modelling the Tools) to help students formulate their interview questions.
In addition, encourage students to examine the similarities and differences between the factors in their home community and in the assigned community.
Extension: Locate mystery communities
Invite students to write clues to the location of a mystery community. To write clues, suggest that students use the scale on a map of Canada to determine the distance between the two communities. Ask them also to determine the latitude and longitude of each community. Students may write directions by using distance and the cardinal points of the compass. Arrange for other students in the class to use these directions to identify the location of the mystery community.