Sophie, a girl from Argentina, visits with her pen pal friend, Ahanu, from the Canadian Arctic. There she learns about the harsh environment and the difficulties with which humans are challenged everyday. By experiencing different activities with his friend, Sophie learns about the Inuit culture and its games, its flora and fauna and the need to respect and protect wildlife. When she returns home, she has grown as a person, as she has enhanced her own knowledge of the Arctic and her friendship with Ahanu has strengthened.
In this chapter, students learn about the Arctic in two subject areas, Humanities and Language B, through the lens of one area of interaction, “environments.” During a guided class discussion, students consider their responsibilities in the preservation of the different environments they are part of and the need to care for their own self, their family, their school mates, their club or church acquaintances or other. Providing specific examples, relevant to the different environments they fit in, will help them develop their understanding of this area of interaction.
As young learners, they develop some of the IB learner profile qualities, caring and open-minded, both of which tie nicely with the preservation of the different environments. In relation to the environments, they develop the caring quality, as they care not only for themselves but for the other environments they are part of. Becoming open-minded allows them to appreciate a range of views and opinions about diverse issues and realize that people of different cultures and values can still work together on common projects aiming at securing a more peaceful world. This links directly to the IB mission statement.
To support student comprehension of the text:
- Locate the Arctic on the world map
- Locate and observe different types of maps (Euro-centred, America-centred, Upside down map or other that may be relevant to your own location or country)
- Estimate distance from own country to the Arctic in order to help them visualize a mental map.
Activity 1 (Page 52) Where on Earth?
Aim: To develop the power of observation. The questions guide the observation and require responses that include some specific examples to illustrate them.
Approach: Individual or small group activity. By looking at an Arctic map students identify some of these features:
- Land masses and countries surrounding the Arctic Ocean: Greenland (Denmark); Eurasia: Norway and Russia; North America: Canada and United States.
- Bodies of water: The Arctic Ocean is surrounded by the East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, Greenland Sea, Norwegian Sea, Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea.
- Towns and villages surrounding the Arctic Ocean: There are several large cities inside the Arctic Circle, including Barrow, Alaska; Tromso, Norway; and Murmansk in Russia. There are also large towns and villages that provide evidence that the region is more populated than may be imagined.
- What scale does this map show and what does it indicate? As the original map was not included in the printed workbook, students may answer the following question:
What is the meaning and use of scale on a map?
For the purpose of this exercise, use any Arctic map. The question helps students to interpret a map and understand the relation between scale and real distance. The scale is a rule that allows to read distances on a map. Scales may be expressed in different ways, for example:
- a representative fraction, e.g. 1:100,000 or 1/100,000 means 1cm on the map represents 100,000 cm (1 kilometre) in the real world
- a written statement, e.g. ‘one cm equals 50 kilometres’
- a graphic scale, e.g. a line marked with distance on the ground, in the real world, which the map user employs along with a ruler to measure distances on the map.
Students should identify the scale of one map and then, they may compare one distance to other familiar distances. E.g. the distance between the Arctic Ocean and home country, home and school or distance between school and capital city, or other.
Homework (optional): mark the features observed on a blank map of the Arctic.
Discussion Question (Page 53) How do maps show the different ways in which we can perceive our world?
Aim: By explaining different perceptions of places, societies and environments and showing an understanding of how culture and perception can affect a sense of in-ternationalism (Humanities guide, 2005, page 18), students will develop the con-cept of global awareness.
Approach: Stimulated by a class discussion, students reflect on how own percep-tion of the world may vary according to location.
Possible responses: People living in the Arctic, might have the impression that they live on top of the world. On the other hand, people living in New Zealand or Australia might share a similar opinion when looking at an upside down map of the world. Therefore, many different answers may be valid.
Discussion Question (Page 54) How does the snow inside the igloo not melt from body heat?
Aim: To develop critical thinking skills.
Approach: Working in small groups, they attempt to resolve the question while writing their answers on index cards (20 minutes). Then the groups post their index card on a poster and organize their findings (10 minutes).
- Inside the igloo people are dressed with many layers. What is the role of those layers? How do those layers act as insulation? Layers help to keep the body temperature and it does not irradiate the heat so much.
- What is insulation? The act of protecting something by surrounding it with material that reduces or prevents the transmission of sound or heat or electricity.
- What is the difference between the body temperature (36) and the outside layer? This may admit varied responses. A thermometer could help to determine the different temperatures.
Activity 2 (Page 55) A basic vocabulary
Aim: This activity is developed in the context of Language B, adapted for year 1, in order to spur communication skills by requesting and providing information in simple, familiar situations, in both spoken and written contexts.
Approach: Working in small groups and assuming they were to visit the Arctic, students make simple phrases with those words and role-play familiar situations where they would use them. Students build this basic vocabulary through three simple translation exercises into their own language B:
- translating simple words
- thinking of ten more words and translating them
- thinking of three useful phrases, if they were to visit the Arctic, and translating them
After twenty minutes, they compare their phrases by posting them on a billboard and reflect on their learning (10 minutes).
Discussion Question (Page 58) What other environments are endangered because of global warming?
Aim: To explore the concept of environments and develop awareness of how global warming is affecting local issues. In their interactions with their environ-ments, students develop awareness and understanding of how their daily actions affect their inner environments, such as their health and state of mind, their imme-diate school and classroom environments and global environments (From princi-ples into practice, 2008, page 32).
Approach: In small groups students develop understanding of the interdepend-ence of societies and explore issues facing the local and/or international community.
Students to do:
- define global warming in own words
- discuss the student’s role within a wide range of environments including natural, built and virtual
- identify environments that are endangered by global warming
- propose a simple plan of action to debate, and may be raise awareness of the problem
Activity 3 (Page 58) Discuss, debate, protect, preserve
How can you help the world become aware of the need to debate climate change?
Aim: This activity is interdisciplinary and links the Humanities concept of global awareness -to explore basic issues facing the international community- with one Language B objective, that requires students to take part in formal and informal exchanges related to cultural and international issues, e.g to take action in order to preserve threatened biomes or ecozones.
Approach: In groups and on paper, students write a letter to, either:
- The Secretary of the United Nations asking him to encourage nations to im-plement environmental policies in order to care for and preserve the Arctic environment.
- A local newspaper to encourage the development of an environment project to raise awareness that addressing the impact of climate change in the Arctic is a global responsibility.
This activity could be simplified, if needed, by asking students to write headlines for the local newspaper encouraging environmental policies, instead of a letter.
Activity 4 (Page 59) Build a model of an igloo
Aim: This activity requires students to design a blueprint to build a model of an igloo following a spiral pattern.
Approach: In small groups students collect the required materials and build the igloo.
Materials option (a):
- recyclable materials for the base and building blocks
If the school location permits it, students may build a real igloo (option b); there is a short (10’) movie explaining how to build an igloo on the internet:
National Film Board of Canada, 1949. August 15, 2008
Materials option (b):
- water-proof snow gloves
- snow boots
- snow saw (about 50 cm long)
- snow shovel
Reflection: In the context of their language B, students explain in two paragraphs how they built their igloo and refer to the problems encountered and how they were solved. They may comment upon what they would change if they were to build another igloo in the future.
The last three pages present guided reflection exercises to help students enhance their understanding and application of the MYP framework.
Bibliography – Chapter 5
Arctic Studies Centre. 10 September 2007. http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/index.html
Arctic theme page[sic]. 10 September 2007. http://www.cln.org/themes/arctic.html
Aurora Gallery. 17 September 2007
Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, 1997. 10 September 2007.
Civilization.ca: The Story of the Canadian Arctic Expedition 1913-1918 (10 September 2007.
Department of Anthropology, University of Waterloo. 10 September 2007.
Inuit Art Sculptures.com. 16 September 2007. http://www.inuitartsculptures.com/
Inuvialuit Place Names. 10 September 1007.
Labiste, Susan, How to Build an Igloo. 16 September 2007. http://www.primitiveways.com/igloo.html
New Scientist. 16 September 2007 http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2285.html
Omega Point Network Enterprises, 1999. 10 September 2007 http://www.omega23.com/books/b/Arctic.html
Polar Bears International. 16 September 2007. http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/faq/#q3
Schliebe, Scott L., Polar Bear Project Leader.U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/MMM, Anchorage, AK. Quoted in: Arctic theme page. 10 September 2007. http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_schliebe.html
Vocabulary Words in Native American Language. 17 September 2007.