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Banner: The Kids' Site of Canadian Settlement
IntroductionExplore the Communities
  Section title: Educational Resources

Description of Project

Students will learn more about the people who have made Canada one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. They will use a variety of organizers (student handouts) to help them collect and organize data from a number of primary and secondary documents. Creative and critical thinking skills are emphasized in the learning activities.

Learning Objectives/Expectations/Outcomes

Social Studies (History) and Language Arts, Grades 4-6

These activities will help your students to

  • identify the history and daily lives of the various cultures that make up Canada;
  • gain a better understanding of the challenges and hardships of life in early Canada;
  • demonstrate creative and critical problem-solving skills;
  • demonstrate cooperative learning;
  • demonstrate research skills while examining primary and secondary documents;
  • demonstrate the use of Internet sites for research and learning enjoyment;
  • communicate the results of their inquiries and their creative ideas using a variety of media.


Grade 4 - (Alta., Man., Que., B.C. and Yukon, Sask., N.S.)
Grade 5 - (Alta., Man., B.C. and Yukon, Sask., Ont., Que., N.B., N.S., P.E.I., Nfld. and Lab., N.W. T., Nun.)
Grade 6 - (Alta., B.C. and Yukon, Man., Ont., Que.)
Language Arts (Reading, Writing and Oral and Visual Communication)
Grades 4-6
Technology (Computer Skills)
Grades 4-6


Each learning activity includes its own evaluation rubric. The handouts also include a unit evaluation rubric that can be used to evaluate the overall achievement of the students.

Suggested Activities

Note: The suggested activities can be used as a unit or separately. Students can complete them independently or in small groups. The activities, other than the first one, can also be used as stations that groups can rotate through or each activity can be used by the entire class at the same time.

Activity 1 - Thinking Creatively

This activity should be used before the students go to The Kids' Site of Canadian Settlement. It is meant to get students thinking about what a settlement is, the obstacles and challenges the people in Canada's early settlements faced and the ways they overcame these challenges. Students will complete creative thinking tasks using William's Taxonomy. The tasks may be completed individually or in small groups. The handouts and accompanying rubrics can be used as is or can be modified to delete, modify or add tasks. Before students begin the tasks the terms "settlement" and "challenges" should be discussed and the use of a PMI chart introduced or reviewed as needed. To ensure students stay on track and try all the activities the teacher should allow 10 to 15 minutes per task then remind students to move on.

Activity 2 - Getting Down to Research

Before starting this activity students need to be introduced to The Kids' Site of Canadian Settlement and assigned a settlement group. Depending on the class and your objectives you may have all students work on one settlement group or divide the class into small groups and have each group study a different settlement group. If the class has never used a KWL (What you already know, What you want to learn, and What you learned) Chart before, introduce it. In order to streamline the research you may want to have students fill in the first column about what they already know* and then fill in the second column as a class so that all individuals or groups would be looking at the same research questions.

*Teachers should point out to students that they may not be able to fill in anything in the first column.

In order to focus the questions even more, have the students examine the content, especially the headings, on the site before creating their questions. As an extension or enrichment to this activity you may have students use other sources such as the Canadian Encyclopedia online at to find additional information.

Activity 3 - Learning from Someone Who Was There

Depending on the experience of your class, spend some time defining and examining primary sources. Then have the students go to The Kids' Site of Canadian Settlement and examine the pictures and other primary sources for their settlement group. Use the handout to direct their learning.

Activity 4 - A Trip Through Your Settlement Group's Past

In this activity students will make a graphic representation, on paper or using a computer, of their settlement group's history. They can write 1- or 2-sentence texts about important events and link these events using arrows to indicate chronlogical odrer. They can add pictures and symbols to show what life was like for the settlement group. Students could also choose to make their presentation into a game like snakes and ladders that other students could play to learn more about the settlement group. Students will display their final products or share them with the class.

Activity 5 - Drawing Conclusions

In this activity students will use The Kids' Site of Canadian Settlement to research their assigned settlement group and decide the major problems or challenges the people in their settlement group faced (for example, finding food, discrimination, or in the case of Aboriginal groups, contact with Europeans). Students will then find facts in the text that talk about these challenges and record them in the pyramid chart provided in the handout. Finally, students will look at the facts they have collected and draw a logical conclusion about their settlement groups' challenge based on the facts. You may want to use an example to demonstrate the use of the chart:

Challenge: Finding food for their people
Fact 1: The settlers hunted for deer and elk.
Fact 2: They planted crops of wheat and barley.
Fact 3: They fished for cod and salmon.
Conclusion: The settlement group used a variety of ways to find food.

To make this more interesting and to encourage students to complete more than one challenge, create a point system and turn the activity into a game. Give one point for each challenge, one point for each piece of evidence they find in the text, and bonus points for finding information in the site's primary sources or if they go outside the site for additional information.

An interesting follow-up to this activity would be to share the challenges as a class and see if there are any patterns to the way different settlement groups solved their challenges.

Activity 6 - Showcasing Your Settlement Group (Culminating Activity)

Encourage your students to be creative and to use a variety of media to communicate the results of their research. Have them create a poster to showcase the most important aspects of their settlement group. When completed the posters can be shared with and explaine to the class accompanied or they can displayed in the classroom or other appropriate venue.

To provide enrichment and/or variety you might encourage students to create a multi-dimensional component -- play, video or model -- as an add-on or as a replacement for one of the paper activities.

Activity 7 - Comparing Settlement Groups (Enrichment Activity)

Introduce the students to a Venn diagram and explain how it can be used to compare two settlement groups. If your students worked in groups and studied different settlement groups pair them up with someone who studied a different settlement group and have them share their research findings and discover the ways their two groups are similar and different. If your entire class researched the same settlement group you may want them to look at another settlement group and compare the two. It would be interesting to compare an Aboriginal settlement group with a non-Aboriginal group.

To enrich this activity have three students work together to compare three different settlement groups. They would look not only at similarities of each settlement group with each of the two other groups but also at similarities, if any, that all of the settlement groups studied shared.

Activity 8 - Settlement Dwelling Games

The six interactive computer games of The Kids' Site of Canadian Settlement can be used as an introduction to the unit, as a break between activities or at the end of the unit. The games are a lot of fun but they also include information that will help the students learn more about the early settlement groups of Canada.

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