A letter from Kanata:
A Grade 6 WebQuest
about Canada’s First
Nations and European
Welcome to the early 1600s, a fascinating time to be
alive in this enormous land that stretches from one
ocean to another! Encounters are about to
happen…which will change the fate of many, many
people and their descendants. You and your team
will help us understand the stories of some of these
people, as they might have told them themselves, in
A couple of years ago, a small group of people arrived
from Europe in the new world. They soon realized they
could not hope to understand this vast land all by
themselves. They didn’t speak the language, they knew
none of the local customs, and they were not prepared
for the geography, the weather or the way people did
They decided to hire a group of young natives to act as
their guides and interpreters, to help them figure out
what life might be like if they stayed and settled down.
It has been two years, and the Europeans and the
natives have learned a lot about each others’ ways.
The Europeans are putting together a package of
information to send back home to their friends and
family, telling them how things are going. At the same
time, the young Natives are doing the same thing!
You and two teammates
are either the Europeans
or the natives, and
together, you will
assemble a document
telling your friends and
family what you have
learned about these
strange people over the
past two years.
You’ll describe some
aspects of their culture,
how it’s different from
your own, and your
thoughts and concerns
about the future for you
and them, together in this
With your team, explore
the resources listed.
Together, choose your
group’s identity. Use
Inspiration to map out
your individual roles, and
If you’re Europeans, you
might be explorers, labourers,
fur traders, wives or
daughters, nuns, priests …
Are you from a First Nation
community? Which one?
Learn about about where
“you” are from – which
region? What does that
mean, in terms of how you
As you proceed, I will provide you with a progress checklist, character and note-taking charts,
guidance with Inspiration, and examples of good student work. Make sure you consult the
rubric to be sure you’re meeting expectations!
In role, each of you will
research at least three
areas from the list, or
another area that interests
you. Try not to overlap with
your team members’
Choose three topics from:
food, fashion, housing, art,
music, religion, health,
attitudes about land,
money, education, values,
government, family life,
What others can you think
Consider the following:
Here are questions to guide your
research, as you investigate your
How are these strange
people different from
How are they the same?
Why might that be?
Your friends and family want to know what
might happen if you and the other group
continue to be involved in each other’s lives.
In what ways could your
own lives change?
Why might that be?
What are the possible
advantages to each of
you if you continue to
live together in this
territory? What could go
wrong?What do you most want your friends
and family to know about your
On your own, complete comparison charts for
each of your research areas (I will give you
Back to your team! Share all your findings with
What do your findings have in common with
Together, plan your product.
The ProductTogether, you will
create a “letter
home” in any format
Combine all your
team’s findings in
some way to put
• a narrated slideshow
• a video interview
with your characters
• a Glogster using
graphics and text,
• an actual package of
• a Storybird.
You have copies of the class text, and we’ve
learned the basics – who came here, and who
was already here. Now, here are online
resources for you to use: articles, maps, virtual
museums, videos, music and games !
o http://www.canadiana.ca/hbc/intro_e.html This website shares stories about
exploration, the fur trade, and the Hudson’s Bay Company – with lots of
images and sections on characters in our past
o http://kidsspace.torontopubliclibrary.ca/genCategory15933.html This site
from the Toronto Public library has links to First Nations games, sites where
you can hear different native languages, Canadian Geographic historical maps
o http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/ Stories about first contact between
native and explorer groups, with some good photos of artifacts
o http://www.civilization.ca/ The virtual museum of the Canadian Museum of
Civilization, with exhibits of native art, artifacts and early Canadian life
o http://eciexplorerproject.wikispaces.com/Explorer+Resources An exploration
wiki with links arranged under the names of many different explorers
o http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVY8LoM47xI This video is the “other
Canadian anthem,” Stan Rogers’ “The Northwest Passage.”
Check out this video of aboriginal music!
The short film at this site will teach you a lot about
native spirituality, including creation stories.
o http://www.etfo.ca/Resources/This one is a
resource full of classroom activities based on native
life: transportation, dwellings, First Nations heroes,
r_embedded&v=R-x5QOSqP3E This BBC video
shows how an iglu is built.
…and more resources!
s8plo&feature=related This video shares the
Ojibway creation story.
Heritage Minutes here about exploration
and native culture.
o Finally, there is a wonderful collection of
short animated videos on topics like “I Wish
I was an Explorer,” “The Vikings are
Coming!” and “The Age of European
Exploration.” You’ll need to use your
password for the Ontario Educational
Resource Bank to get to these at
The next page shows the
rubric we will use. Note
that part of your mark is
yours alone, but your
group will also receive an
overall mark based on your
achievement as a team.
You and I will each
complete a rubric to
evaluate your success.
Success Criteria: 1=Rarely 2=Sometimes 3=Usually 4=Always 1 2 3 4
In role, I gather relevant information to identify, describe and compare three areas in native and
European life, and explained how differences might lead to conflict.
I organize my information, together with my own ideas, to demonstrate understanding of
differences and/or similarities between these cultures, and show understanding of possible
explanations for those differences and similarities.
I demonstrate understanding of three possible impacts of contact, both positive and negative, on
members of both groups.
Our team demonstrates effective use of collaborative skills —we share the workload, we encourage
accountability in team members, and we resolve conflicts fairly.
We demonstrate effective time management skills; we share resources, ideas and information.
We choose an appropriate format for team presentation of our team’s findings and ideas, and use
it effectively to communicate the results of our inquiries.
Our product demonstrates creativity, and engages its audience through effective use of graphics,
sound, video or other media.
We use appropriate conventions (spelling, punctuation, capitalization) accurately.
We employ relevant vocabulary with accuracy.
Our ideas and information are organized for maximum clarity.
All required elements are present; we have answered all assigned questions.
In your journal, consider this:
whenever two groups of
people encounter each other
for the first time, they will
both be changed in some way.
When we consider Canada’s
current relationship with its
First Nations peoples, how
does what you learned on this
WebQuest help you?
Well done — you’ve nearly
completed your first WebQuest!
You’ve developed good
teamwork skills, improved your
technology skills, and built
understanding of the period of
first contact between European
explorers and First Nations
The WebQuest model was
developed by Professor Bernie
Dodge, at San Diego University,
with assistance from Tom
March. This WebQuest is
modelled on their work, as
they describe it at
Useful guidance for creating
WebQuests can be found at
Kathy Schrock’s website for
and on Ellen Finkelstein’s
blog post, Create a
WebQuest in PowerPoint, at
Fischer, a grade
Arts and Social
This is my first
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