Canadian Elementary Social Studies Links
There are literally hundreds of Canadian social studies websites, each of which can be of tremendous value to the elementary social studies teacher who is looking for lesson plans, activity ideas, and resources for units in social studies, history, and geography. Presented in no particular order, the list of websites below include some of our favourites:
- The official home page of the Government of Canada is a one-stop clearing house for information about Canada and Canadian government services. This is a must-visit website for teachers who are introducing a unit about the Government of Canada. Upper elementary level teachers could also use this website as the basis for a WebQuest.
- Visit the Provinces and Territories web page at the Government of Canada website for links to the official home pages for each of Canada's ten provinces and three territories.
- Teachers will also want to bookmark the Ministry of Education website for their home province or territory. They are as follows: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. Make a regular return visit to the Ministry of Education website for your jurisdiction for updates on Ministry initiatives, policy developments, curriculum documents, and instructional support related to social studies and other subjects.
- Canada has one the best statistical data resources in the world in the form of Statistics Canada. One of our favourite StatsCan resources is Census at School, an international project that invites youth around the world (ages 8 to 18) to complete a survey and then compare their results with the survey results of youth elsewhere in Canada and around the world.
- Ever wondered if there is a dedicated encyclopedia that is totally devoted to Canada? Look no further than The Canadian Encyclopedia. A great companion website is the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
- It may not be purely Canadian, but the Wikipedia community-maintained encyclopedia contains plenty of Canadian content. Visit the entry for Canada as a starting point.
- Museum education is a distinct and important approach to social studies education. The Virtual Museum of Canada is an online museum that features over 600,000 images and other multimedia content, much of which is organized into online museum exhibits. Other well known (bricks and mortar) museums in Canada include the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian War Museum. The Library and Archives Canada website is an archival site for Canada's documentary heritage.
- One of the more unusual online resources about Canada is the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History website. In addition to chronicling a number of noteworthy events in Canadian history, the website has a valuable mini site devoted to teachers. Note in particular the "Key Concepts in Historical Thinking" section. Also visit the Virtual Historian website for more Canadian history teaching resources.
- How is Canada viewed by organizations outside the country? To answer this question, why not have older students visit the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) website to learn more about Canada from an outside point of view. The CIA World Fact Book has general geographic, population, government, economic, and military information about countries throughout the world. Search for general information about countries other than Canada at this site, but keep in mind that some of the content deals with sensitive issues, such as human rights abuses. The Amnesty International Canada website deals with similar issues, albeit from a nongovernmental (NGO) perspective.
- We all know that an image is worth a thousand words, so the Images Canada website should be a top destination for teachers preparing Canadian cultural and historical presentations for students. The CBC Archives website is a good resource for Canadian video content.
- Canadian newspapers are important resources for up-to-date information about current events. Canada's national newspapers include the Globe and Mail and the National Post. Other top English-language newspapers include: the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Sun, the Vancouver Sun, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Chronicle Herald, the Toronto Star, and the Montreal Gazette. Visit this Wikipedia page for a full list of Canadian newspapers.
- Two respected sites which explore First Nations and Aboriginal issues in Canada are the Aboriginal Canada Portal and the CBC Aboriginal website.
- There are several noteworthy websites for teaching Canadian geography. A teacher's first stop should be to The Atlas of Canada, which is one of the most comprehensive publicly-funded mapping websites for Canada.
- The Canadian Geographic Kids website is a great resource for students. Teachers can design geography lessons that utilize the kid-friendly resources found at this website.
- Amaze your students by downloading and demoing the Google Earth software. Then visit the Google Earth Education Forum for lesson ideas. Also download the free Geographic Information System (GIS) software from ESRI and use the included tools and resources to teach electronic mapping skills to students.
- The top two mapping websites on the Web are Google Maps and MapQuest. Both can be integrated into lessons that address both mapping and technological skills. To start, have a group of students use one of these sites to plan a road trip from the school to a favourite Canadian holiday destination.
- Sometimes social studies can be out of this world. Visit the Canadian Space Agency website for Canadian space-related content that crosses both social studies and science. In the U.S., the NASA website also boasts plenty of educational material for teachers and students.
- Canadian students should learn about the roles played by major international organizations as part of their social studies learning. The United Nations and World Bank websites are good places to start. Most of these organizations maintain dedicated websites for educators, such as the Cyber Schoolbus website for the United Nations.
- Social studies teachers may wish to join a number of professional organizations related to social studies. These include the U.S.-based National Council for the Social Studies, Canada's National Historical Society, the Canadian Council for Geographic Education, and the Canadian Historical Association.