In this culminating challenge, students review what they have learned about the influence of the environment on our quality of life, and celebrate these influences by writing and performing a creative work that highlights those features and resources that affect the quality of life of Canadians the most.
Set the context
Begin by playing a song about Canada's diverse land, such as Mike Ford's version of "I've Been Everywhere," the Arrogant Worms' " Canada's Really Big" or "Canada Is" by Roger Whittaker. Ask students what region or geographical features they would be most interested in seeing if they went on a trip across Canada. Explain that students will explore how these features affect the quality of life of Canadians.
Identify geographical features and natural resources
Provide students with a list of 15 geographical features and 15 natural resources, such as the following:
- Niagara Falls
- Great Lakes
- Rocky Mountains
- Appalachian Mountains
- mineral deposits
- iron ore
- natural gas
- hydro-electric power.
Ask students to work alone or in groups to select five geographical features and five natural resources to research in order to determine their impact on quality of life in Canada.
You may want to adapt the materials in Collecting Information (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Rank impact on quality of life
As a class, discuss what would make one feature or resource more significant than others. Criteria for most significant might include the following:
- how much it affects people; e.g., a little or a lot
- the number of different effects it has; e.g., affects leisure, food and beauty
- how many people are affected by it; e.g., a few people in one area or many people across the country.
Invite students to use these criteria to rank the significance of their assigned features and resources.
You may wish to adapt the materials in Ranking Options (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Create and perform a work on Canadian geography and natural resources
After the ranking is complete, ask students to compose and perform a creative work acknowledging Canada's most significant geographical features and resources. This may take the form of a poem, a song or a choral montage (similar to a collage but done with a rapid succession of spoken words or phrases). As a class, develop criteria for an effective performance:
- focuses on the top features and resources
- is informative and convincing about their impact on quality of life
- is engaging and well presented.
If appropriate, encourage students to share their performance with the local community by presenting at a seniors' home, shopping mall or community hall.
Extension: Play the game Cross Country Canada
Involve students in playing the game Cross Country Canada, a game that can be downloaded for a nominal charge (see References). This game puts students in the role of a truck driver who deals with the challenges of Canada's geography while travelling across Canada to pick up and deliver goods.