Are you on the hunt for ways to make teaching Canadian geography fun? Do you want your upper elementary students to love learning about Canada’s geographic regions?
Providing students with memorable learning experiences is one way to make knowledge stick. I am a HUGE fan of making learning fun because I have seen time and time again that when something is fun, engagement is up and more students are able to demonstrate their understanding.
Geography is one of those topics that traditionally can be a bit boring. Learning about the landforms, natural resources and climates of the physical regions that most Canadian adults can’t even name is not exactly what I would classify as fun and student motivation tends to be low. You get questions like “why do we even need to learn this”.
However, as soon as you bring some engagement to the party, all of a sudden the kiddos will LOVE learning about Canadian geography.
Tip 1 for Teaching Canadian Geography: Go on a Trip Across Canada
I HIGHLY suggest framing your geography unit as a trip across Canada (or Alberta, Ontario, etc.). By making the learning about a trip, kids will automatically buy-in! You can even add a little bit of excitement by giving students “tickets” for their trip.
On the first day of your unit, why not set the stage to engage by giving students boarding passes and having them pretend to board an airplane, on their way to your first geographical region? There are tons of videos of airplanes taking off. Why not play one of those on the SMART Board? It adds so much fun and is a really inexpensive, low-prep way to add engagement.
Want to take students on a “trip” across Canada but don’t have time to plan the whole thing out? I’ve got you covered teacher bestie! Click HERE to check out my Travel Canada unit! It includes everything that you need to make this your best Canadian Geography unit ever!
Tip 2 for Teaching Canadian Geography: Use Candy!
Another way to spice up your geography unit is to use candy! I LOVE making landform maps out of different candies and so do the kids. You can use Hershey’s kisses as mountains, cookies as islands, licorice as rivers, etc. Anytime candy is brought into the classroom, even if it’s not to eat, engagement goes up!
Tip 3 for Teaching Canadian Geography: Use Picture Books
I love to incorporate picture books into each and every unit of study. Big kids LOVE to be read to and I find that students learn just as much through the pictures as they do through the words. Plus, if you have any English Language Learners in your class, showcasing the illustrations in picture books can really help them to develop a deep understanding of the concepts.
My favourite picture book for teaching Canadian Geography is Carson Crosses Canada. It is a precious book about a dog and his owner who travel across the country and witness Canada’s geographic beauty. I love it so much that I created an entire Interactive Read Aloud unit for the book! Click HERE to check it out.
PS. Want to add some more picture books to your Canadian Geography Unit? Check out THIS blog post all about the best picture books for teaching Canadian geography!
Tip 4 for Teaching Canadian Geography: Provide Opportunities for Student Voice and Choice
Finally, remember that student voice and choice are keys to engagement. If you are asking students to complete a final project or activity, allow them to choose how they present their information. Will they create a play? Write and perform a song? Create a diorama? The options are endless and providing choice will allow your students’ creativity juices to flow. Want a great rubric for your final project? Check THIS out!