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Nunavut: Land of Beauty and Wealth

Elementary, Middle

Description

In this ESD lesson students focus on one of the primary resources in northern Canada.  They consider the potential of mining for the northern economy as well as the environmental concerns this industry brings to an ecologically fragile region.

The students locate points of interest and label a map of Northern Canada. Afterwards, they visit the Canadian Atlas On-line to explore the issue of  mining in Nunavut. After completing their research, students write an essay entitled "Mining, Mineral Potential and the Environment of Northern Canada". The essays will be shared in class and act as a springboard to a discussion of mineral exploration and ecosystem protection in Canada's north.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The students will learn to:

  • locate human and physical features on a map of Nunavut.
  • use research skills to locate and collect geographical data regarding mining.

Strengths

Some strengths of the document are:

  • the integrated use of technology in the lesson
  • the lesson extension activities are good

Weaknesses

Some weaknesses of the document are:

  • there are a limited number of activities
  • lack of information on the environmental impact of mining
  • lack of case studies of mining companies that are environmentally aware

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada: The Land, Histories and Stories: Physical Geography of Canada
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Economics
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Our Northern Land and Its People: The North's Resources
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Circumpolar World: Connections: Canada & the Circumpolar World
        • The Circumpolar World: Geography of the Circumpolar World
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Our Northern Land and Its People: The North's Resources
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Relationship to the Environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Circumpolar World: Connections: Canada & the Circumpolar World
        • The Circumpolar World: Geography of the Circumpolar World
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Natural Resources around the World: Use and Sustainability
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Native territory
        • Regional territory
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Native territory
        • Regional territory
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada: Resources and Wealth
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 6: Canada & Our Atlantic Neighbours -Resources and Wealth
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada and Its Pacific Neighbours and Northern Neighbours: Resources and Wealth

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (3)

    • Endangered Species
    • Habitat Loss
    • Wildlife Protection
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Rocks and Minerals

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This document is very open in terms of the points of view it presents in terms of mining and its effects in the North. The students are left to draw their own conclusions.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

The document describes very well the interplay of all 3 dimensions (economic, environmental and social) of the issue of mining in the North.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Satisfactory
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

This is not the focus of this resource.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

Once the students have investigated the topic they are a given an essay to write on "Mining, Mineral Potential and the Environment of Northern Canada".  Within this essay the students have a platform from which to express their beliefs.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This is not the focus of this document.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

This resource does not provide opportunities for activities outside but it does help the students consider the beauty of the North and the environmental impact of mining.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

This document allows the students to explore a part of their country.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

The information provided in the resources addresses all three aspects.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

The resource does a good job of intergrating Language Arts, Social Studies and Geography into its activities.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The resource is structured in such a manner that the students are left to discover on their own the impacts of mining.  They are simply provided with the topic to investigate.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Poor/Not considered

The only chance for learning from others is with the sharing of the essays and the class discussions.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

A rubric is provided for the evaluation of the essay.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

The only chance for learning from others is with the sharing of the essays and the class discussions.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Satisfactory

The descriptions that are provided about the mining practices in the North are not in-depth.  A more relevant case study might be one of a company who is striving to lessen the environmental impact of mining.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

There is limited choice given to students in terms of the activities or elements of the program content.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.