Locate Canada relative to the United States.
Identify the major Canadian cities: Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver.
Locate the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Classroom-size map of North America or a world map
The following books contain color photographs of the Canadian landscape and contain basic facts about the geography of Canada.
Lye, Keith. Take a trip to Canada. New York: Franklin Watts, 1983. (0531037576)
Parker, Lewis K. Dropping In On...Canada. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Books, 1994.
Sorensen, Lynda. Canada: The Land. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Books, 1995.
Tarsitano, Frank. Canada: On the Map. Austin, TX: Steck-Vaughn, 1993.
Kalman, Bobbie. Canada: the land. New York: Crabtree Publishing Comp., 1993. (0-86505-217-4)
MacLennan, Hugh. The Colour of Canada. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1978.(0-7710-5809-8)
This lesson should be completed after the history lessons this month.
Review with the students information about the hemispheres. Ask: What divides the Northern Hemisphere from the Southern Hemisphere on a map? (the equator) Have a student locate the equator on the classroom map.
Direct the students' attention to the map. Ask: Is North America in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere or both? (northern) What countries make up the continent of North America? (Canada, Mexico, and the United States) Tell the students that although they have learned about all three countries in previous grades, we are now going to focus on the geography of Canada. Have a student locate Canada on the map. Ask: What direction is Canada from the United States? (north) Tell the students that most people live in the central and southern part of the country because the northern territories are very cold and therefore without many plants or animals.
Tell the students that Canada is the largest country in North America and the second largest country in the world. Explain to the students that because Canada was first colonized by France and later taken over by England, both French and English are considered the official languages of Canada. Explain that in the city of Quebec (point to Quebec on the map) almost one third of the people speak French.
Direct the students' attention to the classroom map. Have the children recall that French explorers traveled to the area that is now Canada. The French called this area New France. At first they came in search of the Northwest Passage; later they came to set up trading posts. The French wished to trade European products for animal furs with the Native Americans who lived
there. Tell the students that a French explorer named Samuel de Champlain traveled to New France in the early 1600s to set up a colony. Champlain started a colony at a place the Algonquin Indians called Quebec. Quebec became the first permanent settlement in New France.
Explain to the students that in the same way the United States is divided into states, the country of Canada is divided into much larger areas of land called provinces. Each province is an area of the country that has its own local government. There are ten provinces in Canada.
Point to each of the following cities on the map as you discuss. Tell the students that
although the city of Ottawa is the country's capital, the city of Toronto is the largest city in Canada. Other major Canadian cities include Montreal and Vancouver.
Tell the students that because Canada is a large country, a variety of habitats can be found there. Ask: Who can name an example of a habitat? (forest, desert, mountain, prairie, river, etc.) What habitats would you predict would be found in Canada? Tell the students that a few of the habitats you can find in Canada are forests, prairies, rivers, and mountains. Tell the students that the Rocky Mountains that we have in the western United States continue up into the western part of Canada. (On the map show the students where the Rocky Mountains are located. Start in the United States and show that the Rockies go through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, into Canada through Alberta, British Columbia, and up into the Yukon.)
Have students locate on the map and name the oceans that border Canada. (the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans) Tell the students that Canada borders four of the Great Lakes that the United States also borders. Ask students to identify the four (Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake Superior). Ask: Which Great Lake is missing? (Lake Michigan) Tell the students that a good way to remember the names of all the great lakes is to remember that the word HOMES contains the first letter of each of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. Write HOMES on the board. Explain that if you take out the 'M" you have the Great Lakes that both Canada and the U. S. share. Ask for volunteers to try to name the lakes as you point to each letter. Next ask for a volunteer to name just the lakes that border both Canada and the U. S.
Explain that another important water feature is one of Canada's rivers, the St. Lawrence River. The St. Lawrence River connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Trace the path of the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean on the map. Tell the students that there is another body of water that at first looks like a lake, but as can be seen on the map, is a bay because it has an opening into the ocean--it is the Hudson Bay. Ask: Who is the Hudson Bay named after? (Henry Hudson) Have a student locate the Hudson Bay on the map.
If possible, read selections about the land and culture of Canada from the Suggested Books. These books also contain beautiful color photographs of the Canadian landscape. Show the students photographs representing different habitats and areas of Canada, so they are able to see the variety of geographic features present in Canada.