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Educational Materials

The primary purpose of The Coppermine 2012 Expedition was to develop educational materials that bring the journey into Canadian classrooms, contributing in a positive manner to the understanding and appreciation of Northern Canada through various forms of media, such as film and photography.

The educational lesson plans (downloadable PDFs below) are meant to expand our appreciation of the geography and knowledge of this remote region of Canadian wilderness, encouraging thoughtful debate and discussion on both environmental and economic themes. Students and teachers will be able to explore the route and find a range of materials appropriate to their grade level.

The lesson plans have been created in accordance with the Canadian National Standards for Geography: A Standards-Based Guide to K-12 Geography. The guide was created by the Canadian Council for Geographic Education and contains a broad set of learning objectives based upon the six essential elements of geography listed below:

  1.  The world in spatial terms
  2.  Places and regions
  3.  Physical systems
  4.  Human systems
  5.  Environment and society
  6.  Use of geography

The Coppermine River Expedition Team is grateful to all those who so generously gave their support and words of encouragement, without which we woudn't have been able to embark on such an incredible journey. We are thankful for the support of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. The Society's mandate to make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world was an integral component of our expedition.

Please enjoy and share the curriculum with educators who may be interested in exploring this project in conjunction with their own curriculum objectives. I hope these materials provide an insight into our travels and an understanding of the diverse history and geography of Canada's north.

Best Wishes,
Stefan Superina


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The Lesson Plan Documents

Click a PDF filename to view / download:

Coppermine Lesson Plans, Grades 1-8

Coppermine Lesson Plans, Grades 9-12


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Lesson Plans: Grades 1-8

Click on lessons below to find individualized plans for your grade level:

Lesson #1: Grades: 1-4

Content Focus: (a) The world in spatial terms. (b) Maps as representations of local and distant places.

Lesson #2: Grades 2-5

Content Focus: (a) Physical environmental influences on human activities. Describe ways in which people/animals depend on the physical environment. (b) Concept of an ecosystem: illustrate a food chain, or webs of food chains, by sequentially ordering pictures or samples of a variety of living things.

Lesson #3: Grades: 2-5

Content Focus: (a) Map elements (title, symbols, legend, scale, cardinal and intermediate directions). (b) Draw a map with pencil and paper that uses lines for streets, points for houses and other buildings, and shows specific area of the local community.

Lesson #4: Grades: 4-5

Content Focus: (a) Students Identity and discuss in writing which human activities have the greatest potential to damage the environment.

Lesson #5: Grades 4-5

Content Focus: (a) The importance of places and regions to individual and social identity. (b) Perception of places and regions. Compare ways in which people of different cultures define, build and move places and regions. (c) Interpret how people express attachment to places and region.

Lesson #6: Grades 6-8

Content Focus: (a) Limits and opportunities of the physical environment for human activities. (b) Collect information on ways in which people adapt to living in different physical environments. (c) Write vignettes summarizing how the physical environment affects life in each region, how people in high latitude places deal with the characteristics of tundra environments.

Lesson #7: Grades 6-8

Content Focus: (a) Territorial dispute and conflict. (b) Explain the reasons for conflict over use of land and propose strategies to shape a cooperative solution.

Lesson #8: Grades 6-8

Content Focus: (a) River systems of Canada and the world. (b) Map major river systems of Canada and analyze their watershed drainage patterns. (c) Identify and explain major ecological communities and the differences between them, using photographs and other media as illustration.

Lesson #9: Grades 6-8

Content Focus: (a) Evaluate the relative merits of maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies in terms of their value in solving geographic problems.

Lesson #10: Grades 6-8

Content Focus: (a) Develop a collage of pictures that depicts how people in the province/territory adapt to their physical environment at different times of the year. (b) Describe and compare the traditional ways of life of different groups of First Nations/Inuit who lived in different areas of Canada. Draw conclusions about how they adapted to natural resources available to them.

Lesson Plans: Grades 9-12

Click on lessons below to find individualized plans for your grade level:

Lesson #1: Grades 9-12

Content Focus: (a) Influence of geographical features on the evolution of significant historical events and movements. (b) Analyze the ways in which physical and human features have influenced the evolution of significant historical events and movements.

Lesson #2: Grades 9-12

Content Focus: (a) Changes in places over time.

Lesson #3: Grades 9-12

Content Focus: (a) Expanding locational technology.

Lesson #4: Grades 9-12

Content Focus: (a) Use map grid referencing to determine the absolute location of places.

Lesson #5: Grades 11-12

Content Focus: (a) Changes to place over time. (b) Use maps to illustrate how regional boundaries change, causing shifts in production and market patterns, such as the addition of the territory of Nunavut to the map of Canada. (c) Use maps drawn from memory to answer geographic questions.

Lesson #6: Grades 11-12

Content Focus: (a) World patterns of resource distribution and utilization. (b) Critical issues and problems of places and regions.

Independent Study Unit #1

Content Focus: Food Security in the North

Independent Study Unit #2

Content Focus: Devolution Dynamics in the Northwest Territories

The ExpeditionFinanced in part with a grant from The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, The Coppermine River Expedition took a team of six educators and outdoorsmen by canoe from Yellowknife, N.W.T. to Kugluktuk, NU, during the summer of 2012. Following an old trade and exploration route plied by Aboriginals and European explorers, the team set out to craft educational materials that would bring Northern Canada into Canadian classrooms.


Click the image below for a look at our Expedition Photography:

Photography Galleries


In trested in Northern Canada?
We've put together the Coppermine 2012 Reading List for those who would like to dig deeper into the Aboriginal history, European exploration, mapping, and evolving cultural landscape of the awe-inspiring Canadian north:

Coppermine Reading List

The indomitable spirit of the individuals and cultures whose ingenuity, mental and physical strength, and insatiable appetite for discovery gave them the courage to persevere and survive in one of the earth's harshest climates is truly something to be marveled at.

The Coppermine 2012 Reading List includes such books as:


Book Covers
The Royal Canadian Geographic Society Voltaic Systems Headwater Canoes Mountain Equipment Co-Op