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Improving Math & Science Learning: Oh, Canada
Project URL: Oh, Canada

Purpose of the project:

This unit will provide students with an overview of Canada through research and map-making. A minimum of five one-hour sessions is needed to complete this unit.  Begin by generating a list from the students of what they know about Canada (K-W-L model). Use names of cities/provinces to begin a list of the 10 provinces and 3 territories. Students pair up and select a territory or province to focus on (one per pair).

During the next four sessions, students will be researching their territory or province and making one large map of Canada. For two sessions, one member of the pair will be a map-maker and the other will be a researcher. After two sessions, they will switch roles. Students will learn about types of maps and select one to make (i.e. physical, political).

Researchers use CD-ROMs, the Internet, and books to find information. Their research will be compiled and put onto information cards using PowerPoint, Student Writing Center, or other word processing software.  Map-makers work together to create a large map of Canada (approximately 6' x 4'). Beginning with a simplified map of Canada, they will learn to divide it into quadrants and utilize knowledge of latitude and longitude around the borders to create the final map. Information cards for each territory or province will be included with the map.

Standards addressed by this unit:

1. Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the interdependent world in which we live, including the distribution of people, places, and environments.

2. Students will investigate why people and places are located where they are located and what patterns can be perceived in these locations.

3. Students will ask geographic questions about where places are located.

4. Students will gather and organize geographic information from a variety of sources and display in a number of ways.

5. Students will study about how people live, work, and utilize natural resources.

6.  Students will appreciate regional differences and cultural diversity of Canada.

Software materials used:

Grolier Encyclopedia CD-Rom
Microsoft Power Point
Student Writing Center


150 5th-grade students over the course of the school year, in 7 five-week cycles, were involved in this project. They were of mixed ability levels and worked in pairs on their research projects.


Children gain a greater understanding of our northern neighbors. They develop spatial relationships through making the map. Internet research is motivating and fun for the students. They develop communication skills as they work with their partner as either a researcher or a mapmaker.


Basic knowledge of Canadian geography and culture is necessary. Internet access is helpful and the websites provide loads of useful and interesting materials that will motivate the children in their research.

Dawn Falcone is a fifth grade teacher at P.S. 6 and has been teaching for three years. She loves math and is presently involved in an action-research project through Mathematics in the City at City College.  In her spare time, Dawn loves to travel, read, and sew. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked as a designer specializing in bridal gowns.  She even designed and made her own wedding gown.  Dawn's interest in map-making for this unit comes from her background in design.

E-mail: dawnrenae1@aol.com

Estimated class periods to complete: 5

Subject areas: Social Studies

Beginning grade level: 5

Ending grade level: 5


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