Image of a black and white drawing showing early explorers arriving in the Arctic in a boat

La Vérendrye inspires students to become explorers themselves.

Royal Canadian Geographical Society
c. 2013
© 2013, Royal Canadian Geographical Society. All Rights Reserved.


Canadian Explorers: A Physiographic Expedition

Lesson overview

Students will be inspired by La Vérendyre to become explorers themselves. Students will embark on a research expedition to discover the physiographic regions of Canada. They will share their findings with fellow explorers in the class and determine who found the most prosperous land.

Grade level

Québec Secondary III, IV, V

Time required

Two 75 minute periods

Curriculum connection (Province/Territory and course)

Québec, Geography of Québec and Canada III

2.1 To describe the main physiographic regions of Canada.

Additional resources, materials and equipment required

*Story of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye, example at http://www.cbc.ca/history/EPCONTENTSE1EP6CH2LE.html
*Texts and/or computer and internet access to information on physiographic regions. A useful website with a map and links to the regions is here: http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/maps/environment/land/arm_physio_reg/1
*Explorers handout (included)
*Chart paper and markers

Main objective

The main objective is for students to examine the features of Canada’s physiographic regions. Students will compare and contrast features of each region, including resources, climate, wildlife, vegetation and water sources to determine which region would prove to be the most prosperous to settle.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

*identify the features of physiographic regions in Canada
*participate in a role play and discussion about their research expedition across Canada and the findings they gathered
*compare features of physiographic regions and justify which region would be the most prosperous to settle

Introduction


Introduce Learning Object to students and ask if they can recognize the area. Explain that these are forts established by the La Vérendryes as they searched for the ‘Western Sea’.

Share a short story about La Vérendrye or another explorer. Ask students why so many were eager to discover a passage to the West.

Students will share any names or landmarks you recognize on the map.

They will use previous knowledge to explain why countries, or individuals, were eager to explore Canada and find a passage to the west.

Lesson Development

Part 1 - Exploring

Show students a map of the main physiographic regions of North America and describe their locations.

Assign each student to one of the following physiographic regions: Western Cordillera, Interior Plains, Canadian Shield, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands and The Appalachians. Try to assign similar numbers to each group.

Students will ‘explore’ their region by researching and gathering data to complete the handout. They will be sharing their expedition with other explorers.

Part 2 – A meeting of explorers

All students assigned the same region form a group and collate their findings. They can create a list on chart paper.

The class of explorers gathers for a meeting, and each group shares the discoveries of their expedition across a physiographic region.

Students will examine map of physiographic regions and make connections to geological formations that mark each region.

Students will research your assigned physiographic region and complete the handout. Remind them to use reliable sources.

Students will work in groups to collate the information they collected and record it on chart paper to share with the class.

Encourage students to participate in discussion of expeditions and discoveries, sharing the information they learned about a physiographic region.

Conclusion

Ask students to review what resources they discovered across Canada.

Ask students which group discovered the most prosperous region, why?

Students will share what resources are available in your physiographic region.

Have them compare what they learned about each region and decide which region they would want to settle if they were an explorer.

Lesson extension

* Explore how each of the physiographic regions has been developed and how the resources have been used. Examine if our use of resources is sustainable, and how it has affected the physical and natural landscape as well as human populations.
*Discover how each physiographic region was formed over the geological history of Canada, including origins of landforms and periods of glaciation.
*Now that students have a brief knowledge of the location of different resources across Canada, more detailed instruction can be given about these resources, including minerals, water, fisheries, forests, agriculture and energy. These are topics included in Units 2 through 4 of the curriculum.

Assessment of student learning

Students can be assessed on an ongoing basis based on their participation and quality of comments during discussions. Build on previous knowledge to determine where students need more help. Explorer handout can be evaluated based on accuracy of information, organization of ideas and detail of answers. Participation during ‘meeting’ and discussion can be based on understanding of content, synthesis of information, expression of ideas and making connections between contexts.

Further reading

The Canadian Encyclopedia – physiographic regions
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/physiographic-regions

Natural Resources Canada – sustainable development
http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sustainable-development/home/2444

Link to Canadian National Geography Standards

Geographic Skills:

*Systematically locate and gather geographic information from a variety of primary and secondary sources.
*Make inferences and draw conclusions from maps and other geographic representations.
*Use the processes of analysis, synthesis, evaluation and explanation to interpret geographic information from a variety of sources.
*Formulate valid generalizations from the results of various kinds of geographic inquiry.

Six essential elements:

1) The World in Spatial terms

*Map, globe, and atlas use

2) Places and Regions

*Physical and human processes shape places and regions
*The importance of places and regions to individual and social identity
*Changes in places and regions over time
*Critical issues and problems of places and regions
*Regional analysis of geographic issues and questions

3) Physical Systems

*Components of Earth’s physical system
*World climate regions
*World patterns of biodiversity

4) Human Systems

*Impact of human migration
*Changes in human settlement patterns over time

5) Environment and Society

*World patterns of resource distribution and utilization
*Use and sustainability of resources
*Environmental issues

6) The Uses of Geography

*Influence of geographical features on the evolution of significant historic events and movements

© 2013, Royal Canadian Geographical Society. All Rights Reserved.

Canadian Explorers: A Physiographic Expedition


Name: _____________________________ Date: _____________________


You are a great explorer, about to embark on a noble journey across unknown territory. As you explore you will take notes on this sheet about the features you see. Which explorer will find the most prosperous land? Your discoveries are eagerly awaited. Bon Voyage!


1. Physiographic region I am exploring:__________________________________

2.Terrain:_____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

3. Bodies of water:_______________________________________________­­____

___________________________________________________________________

4. Types of rocks: ______________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

5. Relief (sunken, flat, hills, mountains, etc.): ______________________________

________________________________________________________________

6. Vegetation: _______________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________


7. Climate:__________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

8. Wildlife: _________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

9. Natural resources: _________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

10.Interesting information: _____________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

Explorers had the help of Natives to guide them and teach them about the land. What were your sources? _____________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________


© 2013, Royal Canadian Geographical Society. All Rights Reserved.

Image of a map showing the exploration of Canadian explorer, La Vérendrye

A map showing the exploration of Canadian explorer, La Vérendrye.

Canadian Geographic Education

© 2013, Royal Canadian Geographical Society. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The main objective is for students to examine the features of Canada’s physiographic regions. Students will compare and contrast features of each region, including resources, climate, wildlife, vegetation and water sources to determine which region would prove to be the most prosperous to settle.


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