Our Grade 6 study of Canada's Links to the World examined several different aspects of the topic. The Learning Goals are shown below:
During this unit, Grade 6 students:
-- engaged in a "webquest" (guided search for information on the internet) about Canada's Trading Partners http://linktolearning.com/trade/partners.htm
-- read relevant sections of our Nelson Literacy text
-- watched and discussed a thought-provoking video entitled "The Story of Stuff" http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-stuff/
-- analyzed posters about the life cycles of three products
-- researched and mapped the location of the raw materials needed to make these products (see map below)
-- brainstormed a list of global issues that might impact us in Canada, and researched what impacts these issues might have on our lives
Since it also tied in with the Grade 5 Science unit "Conservation of Energy and Resources," the Grade 5's also watched and discussed "The Story of Stuff" and examined the map that the Grade 6's created (shown below).
During this unit, we learned that trade between nations is much more complex than, for example, Canada buying oranges from Florida and Canada selling maple syrup to Japan. Many of the manufactured products in our homes, such as cell phones, CD/DVDs and soccer balls are made from raw materials that are harvested all over the world and shipped to factories, which are typically in China. Then the finished products are shipped halfway around the world to stores near where we live.
Through "The Story of Stuff" we also learned that many manufactured products that we purchase are thrown away within a year. So when we buy disposable products, or products with a short lifespan, we are in essence channelling energy and resources from all over the world into our local dump. This has HUGE implications, in terms of trade links, our economy, energy usage and the environment.
Here are some images of our large wall map, which illustrates the flow of materials required to bring a cell phone, CD/DVD or soccer ball into your home:
These are the products we examined.
Each was assigned its own colour of wool for our map.
Raw materials from all over the world are shipped
to factories, typically in China.
Our base map, showing the flow of materials required to make and ship to North America each of the products we examined.
At the bottom are the stages in a product's life cycle.
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