Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mass Wastage Case Studies

Find a natural disaster which has affected humans, preferably related to one of the types of mass wastage studied in class, and which is documented on the internet. This could be a landslide, avalanche, rockslide, mudflow, etc. Avoid tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, seaside erosion, etc., unless they directly include an element of mass wastage (we deal with these elsewhere in the course).

Using the comment feature on this blog post, provide the following:
  1. Name/date of event
  2. Summarize or describe, briefly, the causes and patterns at play for this mass wastage event (origins, physical processes involved)
  3. Summarize or describe, briefly, the significance and impact of the mass wastage event (human cost, affect on cultural features like buildings or roads)
  4. What is your personal response to the source (opinions, reactions, analysis, conclusions)? What would be your plan for prevention or response if you were in charge of emergency services?
  5. Record the Web location (full url) of your source/s (a second source is one way to check for accuracy); do not use wikipedia as a final source (although it is a good start for orienting yourself to the event)

Monday, September 12, 2016


What is topophilia?

"The word 'topophilia' is a neologism, useful in that it can be defined broadly to include all of the human being's affective ties with the material environment. These differ greatly in intensity, subtlety, and mode of expression. The response to environment may be primarily aesthetic: it may vary from the fleeting pleasure one gets from a view to the equally fleeting but far more intense sense of beauty that is suddenly revealed. The response may be tactile, a delight in the feel of air, water, earth. More permanent and less easy to express are the feelings that one has toward a place because it is home, the locus of memories, and the means of gaining a livelihood" - Yi-Fu Tuan, Topophila, p. 93

Affective ties with the material environment... in other words, the love of place. This is an important idea that impacts the way humans interact with the world. Special places make us more connected to ourselves, other people, and the environment. This will be the subject of a short writing assignment.

What is a place that you love? A special area in nature that brings back strong memories, a place you love to visit because of the things that have happened there. Maybe it's a built-up space, like the home of a grandparent or an amazing restaurant? Maybe it's a natural location like a beach, mountain vista, bike trail, or fishing spot. Or in between, like a cabin. Maybe you'd like to write about your earliest experience with a natural world, a powerful memory in nature. What is the inventory of this location -- the topography, components, objects, characteristics? What do your senses remember? Consider the visually elements, but also smells, textures, and sounds. What is the story of this place... what is your history with it?  Think about this and write leave a comment below with your response. Start with a word document -- do your writing there (no more than one page) and then copy/paste into a blog comment here. You can also submit a hard copy if there is some reason you do not want your writing piece online.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Contemporary Aboriginal Issues

First Nations in Canada face ongoing challenges related to justice, land, equity, and the legacy of residential schools. Within these challenges are the same themes as our course: identity, economy, environment, politics, autonomy, etc.  We have explored these issues in class, sometimes in details and sometimes in the context of other topics.

Here is a chance to explore one or more on your own.  Please choose an option below and respond with a comment.  Your comment can simply be about what you learned from exploring this issue.  Think of it like a paragraph response -- probably best to type it up first then pasted it in to the comment section.

Option 1: Land
Reference: Oka Crisis Remembered: -- articel and video. You can also find other references with a quick search -- perhaps look for other viewpoints on the Oka Crisis.

Option 2: Residential Schools
Reference: Where are the Children: -- lots to work with here, including video testimonies of residential school survivors. Warning: potentially disturbing content

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Climate Change

To add to what you've already learned about Climate Change, check out one of these Ted Talks:

Pick one (or more) to watch, and then provide a summary of what you learned: main ideas of the talk, what the presenter was trying to get across, your reaction, etc.  Leave your summary as a comment in the comment section of this blog post.  Include your first name!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Shake Hands with the Devil - Rwandan Genocide

Shake Hands With the Devil.  This documentary sticks with you -- the idea that human life could be valued so little by so many is shocking.  One hopes that the global community can learn from horrific events, but sadly we seem to repeat them too often.

Good reference on the genocide (read this if you still have questions after watching the documentary):

Having just watched the documentary based on the book, and discussed a bit of the background to the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, what do you think?

Why do you think it happened? What might have prevented it? What could prevent it from happening again somewhere else? What do you think of Dallaire?

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Cold War Nuclear Detonations

Here is a timelapse video showing all known nuclear explosions from 1945-1998 by Isao Hashimoto

Some other links connected to this topic:

Hiroshima memorial project

...and the Google Earth layer that goes with it

Ground Zero simulator - pick a location and nuke it

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

WWII Links

Social Studies 11
Hey class,  there are a thousand directions you could go on the interwebs to learn about WWII and in particular Canada's role in WWII.  Let's start out with a great site: Help me add more quality websites to the list -- I'll update this blog post with them.  Leave your suggestions in the comment section. Find/pick ones that included primary sources and a Canadian connection.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Becoming a Country

Here are a variety of activities for Wed., Apr 13th, 2016.  Please don't be shy about asking the substitute teacher to come over and see what you are up to.
The Confederation Era is the time period where Canada became a country or "confederated." This happened in the 1850s-1870s when Queen Victoria ruled over Britain (thus we also call it the Victorian Era) and the British North American colonies decided to join together.
Options.... try as many of these activities as you can -- if you don't like one, move on to the next.

Offline activities:
  1. Complete questions from class handout "3C Need for Reform"
  2. Read a bit about the "Confederation Era" in Canada.  Suggestion: Horizons textbook (basically anything in Chapter 3)
Online activities:
  1. Complete your "New Home" journals
  2. Check out Early Settlers Life in Upper Canada 1800's (activities) --
  3. Try this game to get an idea what life was like during the "Victorian Era":
  4. Read an article about Confederation (encyclopedia article) --
  5. Drag and drop the flags of the 13 provinces and territories in the order of when they joined the Confederation (game) --
  6. Road to Canadian Confederation (quiz) --
  7. Fathers of Confederation (trivia game) --
  8. Fathers of Confederation (info/facts) --
  9. Try doing a video search for Canadian Confederation and see if one of the results interests you. Use headphones, please. I thought this "intro to Canada" by Rick Mercer was quite good, funny, too:
  10. Take a look at the cartoon below. What do you think is the message? Who do the men represent? The baby is called Confederation but what does that mean? Who doe the baby stand for? What does it matter who the "father" of the baby is?  If you like you can leave your response in the comment section below.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Life in the Trenches

A Canadian trench on the Western Front of WWI
In SS11 class, you've heard or read some "letters from the front." You've taken notes on WWI, watched clips, reviewed posters and other primary sources, and hopefully gained a sense of what life in the trenches was like. Now, take about 20-30 minutes to explore the following sites to get a new feel for some of the details of the front lines in Europe as experienced by Canadian soldiers, then begin the assignment:

Canadian Letters & Images Project

Letters from the front

First World War Project

Historica's Canada at War

Calgary Highlanders

Interactive Trench Game

Canada’s War Museum on WWI

Artwork of World War One


Option 1
Write fictional letter home from a Canadian man on the front lines or a Canadian woman actively involved at or near the front lines. Assume the person has served at least one of the Battles of Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, and Passchendaele, and perhaps knows about the other three or maybe different battles that Canada participated in, like the 100 Days Offensive.

Your interview or letter should aim to inform your Canadian audience at home about the conditions of war and include details about a minimum of 5 of the following:
  • trench warfare 
  • life in the front lines 
  • the roles of technology in the war 
  • the quality of military leadership 
  • morale of Canadian soldiers 
  • the effectiveness of Canadian troops 
  • the impact of war on civilians and towns 
  • hospitals and medical treatment 
  • the roles of women in the war 
Write your rough draft on a word file -- save it to your home folder when you start to avoid grief later. This is a detailed account, not just a quick note to tell your folks that "war is hell." Weave in some personal research on Canada & WWI from your classwork, the Canadiana Scrapbooks, and the weblinks above (or other websites).

Optional: if you have a relative or person your family knew that served in WWI, you may wish to consider them as a "test subject" for this assignment -- e.g. write the letter from his/her voice or construct an interview with this person. This may require additional research on your part.  You could also write this letter as an exchange between a reported and a soldier if that helps you with the writing -- maybe the question and answer formate appeals to you. Poetry is also an option.

Option 2
Instead of a letter home informing your audience about the conditions of war, maybe you'd like to make a work of art instead.  This could include: sketches, painting, sculpture, or carving. It should directly relate to some aspect of the Canadian experience in WWI and be done in a style that is (arguably) believable for the time period.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Battle of Quebec activity

Now that you have attacked or defended Quebec City during our recreation of the Battle of Quebec, I'd like you tell a bit of a story about it. Imagine you were a commander or a soldier involved in the battle -- the one you invented as a group rather than the one that actually took place -- and write about the experience. What happened? What was your role? What did you go through, what did you feel and think about the events? What observations or comments can you make about Quebec, the surrounding area, the steps leading up to the assault on the fortress, or anything else of importance in September 1759? How did it turn out? Your response could take many forms -- for starters, you could simply write it as a journal entry. Use a word file for this. If you'd like to share it with others, copy it from your word file and paste it as a comment on this blog entry. Use the big 11x17 map you used in class to record notes, jot down comments, add details, and so on. It can be rough, it is just a planning map, but I'd like you to hand it in with your journal entry or battle response.

By the way, here is an interesting map that show more of the Quebec area than the map we used for the class activity: