Tag Archives: Writing

Activity has a writing focus

Lesson 1 Evaluating the Impact of Human Induced Changes on Communities


Teacher Note: Depending on the length of class time available, this lesson may take 2-3 sessions to complete.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • construct, interpret and use graphs, tables, scales, legends, and various types of maps
  • locate and describe current and historical events
  • analyse ways that people’s interactions with their physical environments change over time
  • evaluate the impact of natural processes and human-induced changes on communities

Steps to the Lesson

  1. Conduct a Horseshoe Debate.
  2. Discuss key vocabulary and distribute research organizer.
  3. Look at maps of region pre/post Bennett Dam construction.
  4. Make a T-Chart comparing the before and after effects of the Bennett Dam construction.
  5. Examine articles regarding the construction of the Bennett Dam.
  6. Watch a video from Fort Ware, B.C..
  7. Complete a Graphic Organizer while viewing the video.
  8. Complete a mind map (see Demonstrate Understanding).
  9. Conduct a second Horseshoe debate.
  10. Write journal reflections on new ideas and thinking.



  • The students will interpret a variety of geographic text to identify environmental change over time.
  • The students will analyze and evaluate the impact of human-induced change on a community and on its surrounding environment


Students will create a mind map demonstrating the connections between the Bennett Dam and effects on Fort Ware, the citizens of BC, alternate resources, and the environment.

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Conduct a horseshoe debate about “Do you feel humans have the right to adapt the environment to meet their basic needs”. Please see link on Horseshoe Debate to view instructions.

Key vocabulary to discuss: Boreal, clearcut, old growth, ecosystem, global warming, stewardship, indigenous, reservoir, consultation, Serengeti, natural resource, ice age, woodland caribou, profit, hydroelectric, Aboriginal (Definitions)

Predict: Teacher asks the students to predict the significant changes to the northern landscape over the last fifty years. (A/B partner talk suggested) Students use T-Chart to track their thinking.

Question: Teachers distribute maps of the Williston Lake Region to the students. Ask students what significant changes they notice in the three map samples. (Teacher note: Students could continue to work in A/B partners or combine into groups of three/four to analyze maps.) Students can record their map observations in the top section of the Graphic Organizer.


Distribute articles on the Bennett Dam construction:

Bennett Dam Vistors Centre Information

The Dynamo that Started it All

W.A.C. Bennett Dam

The Bennett Dam

Click to view historical Photos of the Bennett Dam construction

In groups of three/four, groups choose one article to read and discuss. Brainstorm on the board the key features of the Bennett Dam (ie. size, location, type of dam etc.). All groups need to share their key ideas.

Video: Students watch the following video and track their thinking using the Graphic Organizer.

Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the video and give students (A/B partners) opportunity to talk or respond to the video.


Students create a mind map demonstrating the connections between the Bennett Dam and effects on Fort Ware, the citizens of BC, local geography, BC Hydro, and the environment (wildlife, natural resources).


Conduct a horseshoe debate for a second time using the same topic “Do you feel humans have the right to adapt the environment to meet their basic needs.” Students will be able to make a more informed decision based on the new information they have learned.

Students complete a journal activity to explain their new ideas and thinking. Encourage students to discuss the new ideas they have learned and whether mind mapping supports their learning style.

Extend learning or next lesson

  • Conduct a structured debate on the issue of human induced changes to the environment.
  • Write a letter to a local newspaper on the issue of hydroelectric dams.
  • Write a letter to persuade a local politician for or against a new dam in the area.
  • View a BC Hydro web page promoting the Peace River Site C Hydro Project.
  • Read a newspaper regarding the proposed building of the Peace River Site C Hydro Project.

Lesson 1 Assessing Human Needs for Survival


Assessing Human Needs for Survival

Learning Outcome

Students assess survival needs and interactions between organisms and the environment.

Steps to the Lesson

  1. Brainstorm and compare survival skills and knowledge from both a historical and modern perspective.
  2. Watch a video of a Sinixt creation survival story.
  3. Create a written piece identifying and ranking survival skills needed in the aftermath of a disaster.
  4. Reflect on the process.



Students will be able to identify the important skills and knowledge that human beings require to survive.


Students will list skills and knowledge that are important to preserve as a group of people struggling to survive.

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Teachers give students an opportunity to discuss the kinds of skills and knowledge that would be important today if a group was faced with challenges to survive (ie. medical knowledge, hunting skills etc.).

In groups of four (two A/B partners groups), students generate what they feel are important survival skills and knowledge and report out to the class. One A/B partner group will brainstorm historical survival skills/knowledge (ie. before first contact with Europeans) and the second A/B partner group will brainstorm survival skills/knowledge needed in the 21st century. Students track their thinking on a Survival Skills/Knowledge T-Chart. Teachers create a class T-chart on the board and compare student responses on survival skills/knowledge from both the historical and modern perspectives. Students then complete the other column of their T-Chart.

Note: This is a comparison and analysis practice that is not about right/wrong answers, but more focused on the discussion an important element to the lesson.

Predict and Question: Have students review the survival skills/knowledge ideas generated in the previous exercise. What skills/knowledge are the same when comparing the historical and modern contexts? What are different? What questions do the students have about survival? What are the students wondering about?



Inform students they will be watching a video on a Sinixt land survival story which was based on a severe drought. Ideas about skill sets and knowledge are only one aspect of this story.

Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the video and give students (A/B partners) the opportunity to discuss ideas they may have about how people adapt to change and what skills might change in the process of adapting. Students track the survival skills/knowledge used by the Sinixt people on the back of their Survival Skills/Knowledge T-Chart.

Reviewing the Sinixt creation story, in A/B partners, students discuss what historical survival skills/knowledge may exist in modern society. How have some of these skills adapted and changed over time?


Students consider the following scenario:

They are survivors of a plane crash, in a very remote, mountainous region on the west coast of British Columbia. The area is covered in a thick layer of trees and brush; making the crash site difficult to locate. It will be at least 4-5 days before rescue teams can reach the crash site as foul weather is making it difficult to conduct search and rescue by air. A number of passengers have survived but all of their belongings were burned in the plane wreckage.

Students now create a written piece describing what essential skills/knowledge they, and other crash survivors, will need to survive the in the wilderness before search and rescue teams arrive. They will need to identify and rank the various skills needed; including reasons which justify their choices.

The length of this writing piece can be determined the teacher (ie. essay, paragraph) but the intention is for students to demonstrate their understanding and individual thought.


On the back of their Survival T-Chart, students reflect on how their thinking has changed regarding survival skills and knowledge. What skills would they consider to be the more important?

Extend learning or next lesson

Students could conduct internet searches to discover where similar survival situations have taken place since 2000 (ie. Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina) and what skills/knowledge were crucial during those times of crisis.

Lesson 2 Writing and Representing

(Writing and Representing)

Beasts and Berries Story Grammar

Compare and Contrast Beast and BerriesTeacher Note

Beasts and Berries, The Story of Tasdliz Bin, is a local Witsuwit’en legend. The setting, characters, and plot are centred around a local landmark known as Lake Kathlyn.

Depending on the length of class time available, this lesson may take 3-4 sessions to complete.

In addition, before proceeding with this writing lesson, students should also have completed the Beasts and Berries, The Story of Tasdliz Bin (Part 1) to build a better understanding of legends and their story elements.

Learning Outcome

Students will generate imaginative writing featuring strategically developed ideas, sentence fluency, effective word choice, authentic voice, and effective story organization.

Steps to the Unit

  1. Brainstorm the various myths and legends known by students.
  2. Watch a Witsuwit’en legend titled Beasts and Berries.
  3. Brainstrom criteria for students writing their own legends.
  4. Students write a rough draft of their own personal legend.
  5. Students edit their rough drafts.
  6. Students complete a final draft of their personal legend.
  7. Students present their legend to the class.
  8. Reflect on the process.



Students will write a legend based on a natural local landmark.


Students will:

  • write a rough draft of their own personal legend.
  • edit and proofread another student’s legend.
  • write a final draft of their own personal legend.

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Legends are an important and effective way of obtaining information regarding people’s beliefs about how they explain the spiritual and physical world around them. Legends are told to entertain, explain something, or teach a lesson. Also, some legends belong to clans or families and can only be shared with permission from the owners.

Teachers conduct a class discussion and brainstorm on the board what local legends the students are already familiar with (ie. Local creation stories, Great Flood stories).

Predict and Question:

As mentioned, legends are very important in global cultures as people attempt to explain the world around them. Some questions the teacher should ask the students to consider include:

  • Who were the stories told/written for?
  • Thinking of the students’ local environments, what natural landforms would a local legend describe?
  • What are the students wondering about legends?


Using the story grammar template provided, have students identify the elements of the Beasts and Berries story, as seen in the video link below. This same template may be used for students to organize their own story.

Note: If the students have already completed the previous lesson Beasts and Berries, The Story of Tadliz Bin (Part 1), students have the option of watching the video portion of this lesson again or moving onto the Transform section of the lesson.

Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the video and give students (A/B partners) opportunity to talk or respond to the video.



Note: A large amount of class/partner discussion time may be needed to provide the students with a starting point for their legends. Students will need a very clear picture of what local landmarks are prominent and worthy of a creation legend. In addition, students will also need a clear picture of what characters, setting, and problem to include in their story. Referring back to their story grammar sheet from Beasts and Berries: The Story of Tadliz Bin, will help them develop their ideas of what to include in their legends.

Secondly, teachers will need to conduct a class discussion of what criteria will be expected for the final written copies of the student legends. Teachers and students will need to define the expectations (ie. using a four point rubric scale) for story elements such as character development, setting, plot, grammar, and spelling etc.


Writing the Rough Draft

Using the another copy of the story grammar template provided, or a regular writing framework, students prepare a rough draft of a personal legend. Students may start this part of the writing process either individually, or in A/B partners. Possible formats for the rough drafts include:

  • typed, printed copy using a word processing program.
  • drama presentation
  • radio play
  • video presentation

Students will need to refer to the class generated criteria, while writing their rough drafts, to ensure they are including the required elements of local creation legend.

Once the students have begun their rough drafts, teacher may need to give the students at least 1-2 lessons to generate their story drafts.

Editing the Rough Draft

Using A/B partners, have students take turns going over their rough draft. During rough draft review, the students need to make sure that all story elements are present, as well as check for correct grammar and spelling. As mentioned previously, students need to refer

Writing the Final Draft

Students complete the final drafts of their legends. Possible formats include the following:

  • typed, printed copy using a word processing program.
  • drama presentation
  • radio play
  • video presentation

Once completed, students present their legends to the class.


On another sheet of paper, students reflect on their writing and consider the following questions:

  • What parts of their writing are they most proud of? Why?
  • What challenges did they find while writing their personal legends? Why?
  • What elements of their writing could they improve?
  • What student legends did they enjoy most?

Extend Learning or Next Lesson

There are many possibilities for students to extend their study of legends. Some activities could include:

  • Illustrating their own legends.
  • Studying more Aboriginal/world legends and comparing them with local legends.
  • Interview a local author on their writing process.