“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble. Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Linda Silverman~Gifted Development Center Denver

Friday, 7 June 2013

Outside the Box Projects-Canada's Links to the World

Canada's Links to the World

A few months ago I was looking for a new way to teach the social studies topic "Canada's Links to the World".    The grade six students are asked to identify and describe Canada’s economic, political, social, and physical links with the United States and other regions of the world. Students need to use a variety of inquiry methods and research tools to investigate the importance of international connections for Canada’s well-being and influence in the world. Students also identify current international issues that concern Canada, and describe Canada’s response to them.

For the past few years I have had the students each create their own wiki project online.  It is really intense and meaningful for the class to create and collaborate in this way.  Unfortunately, this year, a lack of access to the computers in our school, combined with the timing of the annual standardized testing in math and language meant that there was no way the students would be able to complete the project the way I had presented it in the past.

Click on the image above to go to the product on TpT.  

Enter the Outside the Box project from Mr. Hughes of  "An Educator's Life" .  This hands-on project is meant to allow students the chance to get to know a geographical region or area, such as a country, state, county, or province.
Everything I needed was included except the student reference materials for research!  My students used a variety of sources for research. Some of the research was done at home and the rest done during class time.  I used the research recording sheets found in the packet, and I reminded students that their sources had to be written in proper MLA bibliographic format.

By using this great project my students researched and learned about a region of the world with a focus on:
-Map skills (longitude/latitude, hemisphere, etc.)
-Economy (Imports/Exports)
-Interesting Facts

I added a new section to one of the circles.  I asked my students to research a plant and an animal indigenous to the country they were researching.  This was a link to the BIODIVERSITY unit we are studying in science.

After my students completed the research guide (included in the package), they transfered the information to the 6 included circles.   They then cut out the circles and glued them to cardstock and cut them out again.  Finally they turned those circles into a cube..hence the OUTSIDE the BOX title!

This student chose Romania for his project. You can see how much work went into his map.

This student chose to research France.  You can see he has glued all his circles to cardstock, cut them out and is ready to assemble them.

Students carefully folded the tabs before they added glue and assembled the boxes.

Students carefully laid out the project pieces before they glued them together.  It was important to orient all the pieces correctly so they would be legible once hung from the ceiling.

Almost finished!
Getting the pieces just right!

The section I added about a plant and animal indigenous to the country being researched.  This linked nicely to our science unit on Biodiversity.

The view from below.

Carefully folding the tabs.  I recommend that students use a ruler to get a nice, crisp edge.
Using a ruler to make a nice, straight fold.

I suspended all the finished projects using fishing line from a rope strung across the ceiling of my classroom.  You can see I also have some beach themed bunting up.  
It all looks very festive!

I hung the projects 14 to a clothesline.  
The kids LOVE that they are hung low enough to read.
The finished products look amazing and the students had a great time researching their country and constructing their project.
The finished products all look amazing!  
The students are really proud of the job they did!
I varied the lengths of fishing line to give a staggered view of the projects once hung.
It looks like a party in my room!  We have travelled all over the world in less than 80 days!  I gave the students a month to complete the project.  Most of that was spent on research and writing the rough copy.  

The final versions took several days in class to assemble, but they were worth it!

Mr. Hughes has lots of fantastic products in his TpT store.  Here is a great FREEBIE that you can grab while you are checking out his Outside the Box project.  His prices are very reasonable!

Click on the image above for your own FREE copy!

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

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  1. Thanks for this great post. It was so fun to see the project completed and hanging in your classroom. :) Have a great day!
    -Mr. Hughes

  2. John,
    Loved it! I will use it again next year I am sure! Thanks for sharing your creative and unique creations!

  3. WOW, what an incredible project! Thank you for sharing everything :)
    The Techie Teacher

  4. Julie,
    Thanks for stopping by! It was an incredible project and I am really pleased with the outcome, as are my students! Be sure to check out all of Mr. Hughes' great ideas on TPT or at his blog!

  5. First of all, great post! Secondly, I can't believe that testing got in the way of your original vision! That is beyond annoying and is yet another example of how all of this testing hysteria is getting in the way of learning. Thirdly, your end results look amazing as does your classroom!
    Justin Knight- Writing Pad Dad
    Writing Pad Dad Blog

    1. Why thank you for the kind words Justin! I haven't seen you around here for awhile! I guess you were too busy with that disaster in the kitchen! By the way I would have given you an award, a medal and a banner! Great work!
      It is sad that the testing mania going on in education continues to interfere. At our school, we can't use the computers in the school lab/library for over two weeks while the testing is being administered. Some children write in the library, and some use the assistive technology on the computers. That combined with the amount of writing the students have to do has changed the way I want to teach. Hopefully next year the timing will work out better.
      You're done for the year correct? And you lovely wife is still teaching? Hope you are having a great holiday! Say hi to Katie for me:)

  6. I love your blog! I found you on Manic Mondays. Your Outside the Box project is awesome!
    Susan Morrow

    Keep 'em Thinking!

    1. Why thanks Susan! I am glad you found me via Manic Monday. You gotta love some freebies! Are you done for the year or are you like me and still teaching? I have 13 more school days with kiddos to go!

  7. Beautiful project! The idea of "links to the world" and "outside the box" are very inspiring to me - thank you for sharing!

    Mrs. Harris
    Mrs. Harris Teaches Science!

    1. Why thanks Mrs.Harris! I think the project "shape" could be used for almost any project. As you read, I integrated science with mine. I could see doing an entire science based project on circles like this...or a language project, or a health project, the opportunities are endless! Now, you have inspired ME!

  8. I love your freebie and the wonderful pictures to go along with it.

    Glad I found your blog through Classroom Freebies :)

    1. Breanne,
      Thanks for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment. I am glad you found me through Classroom Freebies!

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  10. I love that Tiffany Blue and the apples... the apples are gorgeous! Where did you get them????

  11. Thanks Katie! You would need to check with Barb Leyne at RubySlippersBlogDesign about the apples. She found them for me! I love them too! Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

  12. This is really creative and beautiful! It makes me want to be a student in your classroom! btw My better half is Canadian. We're to visit Halifax as his daughter lives up there. Back to this...You have added magic to learning. Impressive!

  13. Hi! I came over from the link you left on my blog and may I say "wow!" These projects are top-notch! I can see the "giftedness" in them without a doubt. I suppose my idea might be a good lead-in to this project or a way to modify your project for those with learning challenges. Either way i can definitely see some great connections! You've got a new follower in me! :)