The Great North
a Web Quest by
Andrew S. Basler
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Teachers | Credits
The Great North is a generalized term for all of the lands that surround the arctic circle. These lands include Alaska, Northern Canada, Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden, North Russia and Siberia. These lands are very cold in the winter and covered in ice and snow. During the summer, the ice thaws and miles upon miles of land turns green for a short period. Life flourishes and native people hunt reindeer, elk, bears, whales, seals and walrus. In this Web Quest, you will explore the traditional lifestyles of the people who live in the Great North.
You will be divided into groups. Each group will pick a topic to research using provided links to websites and the Google search engine. You will research your topic to learn about traditional lifestyles. After you have finished researching, you will compile the information into a class report that you present orally to the class. The presentation will reinforce what you learned and share your knowledge with your classmates. The oral presentation will be between 8 and 10 minutes long, and must include some sort of visual aid. For more information on your grade, you may skip down to the Evaluation Rubric, or ask your teacher. Listed below are the available topics to research. In addition, each topic is linked to a website that will get you started:
Whaling in Alaska
Kamchatka (A Siberian Peninsula)
Reindeer Herding in Alaska
Traditional Inuit Education
Reindeer Herding and Forestry in Sweden
1. First, you will watch the Imax dvd The Great North. This movie will give you an introduction to the people who live in the north, as well as their traditions and customs.
2. After watching the movie, you will be divided into groups of no more than five. Each group will choose a topic listed above to research. Begin the research by clicking on your topic which will link you to an educational website.
3. Also, use the Google Search Engine to perform your own customized internet searches.
4. In your research you will seek to answer the following specific questions: What is unique about your northern region? What different groups of people live there? What customs or traditions are found in your region? Are they still practiced today? What resources exist in your region? How have the native people adapted to survive? What challenges face the region today? What is the projected future of your northern region?
5. Create a visual aid for your oral presentation. It might be power point, poster board, class handouts, etc.
6. Teamwork is very important, so make sure that everyone in the group contributes, and that everyone is working together. All group members must present in the class presentation as well.
7. Helpful search hints: when using the internet for research, there are many useful tricks. One is to be creative in the keywords you use for search engines. Second, search the provided web sites for links to other relevant websites. Finally, make sure you don't skip over internal links within websites. Often there is much information that can be had if one is willing to dig in and find it.
8. After completing your research and visual aid, you will give a class presentation 8 - 10 minutes long. Again, all group members must present. In this presentation you will teach the class what you learned as well as outline the answers to the questions from step 4.
Students will be evaluated on the following rubrics:
|Oral Presentation Rubric||Possible Points||Self-Assessment||Teacher Assessment|
|Provided depth in coverage of your region or specific custom. Answered all questions||50
|Presentation was well planned and coherent. (Evidence of rehearsal)||10
|Visual Aid (helpful, neat)||15
|Stayed within the time limit. (8 to 10 minutes)||10|
|Communication Skills (eye contact, posture, clear voice, appropriate volume, transitions between speakers smooth, and all members presented)||15
|Total Possible Points||
Note that half of your grade is based on the content of your presentation, or essentially what you learned from your research. The other half is based on the presentation itself. If you have any questions about how you will be graded, ask your teacher.
Studying the native people of the North shows how important traditions and customs are to preserving heritage and unity over time. In addition, all these people have different lifestyles than others around the world. Their lifestyles are adapted to cope with the extreme environments of the North. Today, many customs and traditions play a practical role as well. In Sweden for example, the herding of reindeer insures the protection of that species for generations to come. The vast expanses of the north also contain inviting prospects of potential economic growth from the abundance of natural resources. Hopefully in this Web Quest, you not only learned about the people of the north, but you also learned about using the internet for research, and developed good teamwork skills. Most certainly knowledge and teamwork are two attributes that have ensured the preservation of the native northerner way of life for centuries.
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Grade Band: 9 - 12 Social Studies
Tennessee State Curriculum Standards: World Geography
1.1 understand the complex nature of culture and how cultures influence the characteristics of places and regions.
1.2 understand the relationship between physical environments and culture
2.3 understand the changes that occur in the nature, use, distribution, and importance of resources
3.2 know the location of places, geographic features, and patterns of the environment, both physical and human, locally, regionally, and globally
3.7 understand how physical systems and environments affect human systems
5.1 understand the patterns of human settlement
1.2 understand the development of culture
3.1 understand that people adapt to their physical environment
Preceding and Ensuing Events of Instruction:
Before students begin the Web Quest, the teacher should show the IMAX dvd Great North (Available through Slingshot entertainment or at buy.com). Instead of Great North, the teacher may substitute another film that focuses on the Arctic circle, the Inuit, traditional hunting, etc. After the movie is finished, the teacher is responsible for dividing the students into six groups of no more than five, and making sure that each group has computer access. While the students complete their research, the teacher may want to give tips for searching the internet for relevant information. After the process is finished, the teacher may want to substitute a less formal class discussion for the formal class presentations.
Purpose of Web Quest and Learning Improvements:
The purpose of this Web Quest is to introduce students to the native culture and traditions of the different peoples of the Arctic circle, to promote an understanding of Arctic geography, to promote an understanding of the natural resources of the Arctic area, to promote team work through group projects, to promote oral presentation skills through class discussion and/or presentation, to promote the use of the internet as a viable research tool, to promote awareness of different cultures. The students should learn about the varying cultures of the people who live in and around the Arctic circle. In addition, this Web Quest should promote critical thinking skills by providing choices of what to include in a presentation, and by requiring students to use the information they learn in a setting where they teach others.
Explore North (2002). Thar She Blows! Whaling in Alaska. Retrieved March 15, 2004 from www.explorenorth.com/library/yafeatures/bl-whaling.htm
Alaskool (2002). Reindeer Herding in Alaska, & Traditional Life. Retrieved March 15, 2004 from www.alaskool.org/projects/reindeer/reindeer_ind.htm
Last Flight of Bomber 31 (2003). Tour Kamchatka. Retrieved March 15, 2004 from www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bomber/kamchatka.html
Olof T. Johansson Homepage (1999). Reindeer Herding and Forestry in Northern Sweeden. Retrieved March 15, 2004 from www.oloft.com/casestudy.html
Friends and Partners (2002). Siberia: Culture, Economy, Business. Retrieved March 15, 2004 from http://www.friends-partners.org/oldfriends/siberia/
Slingshot. (2000). The Great North [dvd]. Toronto, Canada: Imax.
Google (2004). Search Engine. Retrieved March 15, 2004 from http://www.google.com
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