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Teaching about British Columbia


A few months back I was asked by Mrs. D from "Reading with Mrs. D" to participate in her Booking Across Canada project. I, of course, gladly accepted!  Participants from nearly all provinces and territories have signed up to share a book featuring their province/territory and a lesson they've created inspired by that book.  

I immediately knew which book I would choose!

 "Combining evocative haiku, informative text and luminous illustrations, The West Is Calling is a celebration, for our youngest readers, of one hundred and fifty years of British Columbia's history. Each detail-rich illustration depicts a particular moment in the province's dynamic saga, from pre-contact Haida culture, to the natural resources-fueled economic boom in the 1960s and beyond, to Expo 86, to the opening up of the North and the growing appreciation of First Nations' traditions."
~Good Reads

 I've created the following lesson plan, which can be found on my TpT store.  This lesson sells for $2.50, but the first 3 people who comment here with their email address will receive it for free!




I wanted to leave you with a free resource as well..... this ties into the Social Studies mapping Prescribed Learning Outcomes for British Columbia in Grade 4.  

Last year, when reviewing the Canada map and exploring the Atlas's my students asked me what elevation was.  I tried to explain as best I could in several different ways, even bringing in a "bumpy globe", but they all seemed to think that B.C. went higher and higher up, to a point in the middle of the province.  To help with this misunderstanding, I decided we would make elevation maps of B.C. with playdough!

Here's the recipe I used:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 packet unsweetened Koolaid (more if you want a more vibrant color)
  • 3 TBSP oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
Combine flour, salt, oil and Kool-Aid powder. Add boiling water. Stir together. Knead mixture until it forms a soft dough. If dough is too sticky, add more flour. Mix well and play! Store in a sealed container.  
I love this recipe because it smells great (especially the orange) and doesn't stain hands or desks.  You'll have to make several batches.  I used the same colours as were shown in the elevation map in our school's Atlas for ease.  The top layer is brown, so I used cocoa powder instead here.  As for exact number of batches, it depends on the number of students you have.  I created 7 batches for the lowest elevation (as you'll use the most) and reduced by a batch for each layer from there.  This is A LOT of playdough. (I have 29 students.) Ask parents to help you out - I had many that were willing!  Any extras were donated to the kindergarten classes.

 I photocopied an outline of British Columbia onto blue cardstock.  Students followed the elevation map in the Atlas layering as accurately as they could.  As they progressed through the layers, the differences in elevations were very easy to see. Students found it best to flatten with their fingers, as this was a bit sticky to rolling pins.  They used plastic knives to help them shape.

 Lastly, I had them use toothpicks and paper flags to label the province, capital, our hometown, and another place of their choice!  You could get them to draw on the Alberta border, USA and Pacific ocean if you desire.