Ontario Grade 4/5 Blended Social Studies: Strand B

Teaching a split grade always has its challenges, but it can be done less painfully than some people think!  Let’s take a look at the 2018 Ontario Social Studies Curriculum Strand B foci for Grades 4 and 5!  

Strand B is the People and Environments strand.  This strand asks students to explore the “geographic, social, political, economic, and environmental issues in the context of local, regional, national and global communities” with a goal to “develop an understanding of the social and environmental responsibilities of citizens and of various levels of government.”

The two separate units are:

Grade 4:  Political and Physical Regions of Canada

Grade 5:  The Role of Government and Responsible Citizenship

What are the big ideas?

By looking at the Strand B “big ideas” for each grade, we can find commonalities to create blended big ideas.  Check out this chart:

By focusing on these big ideas, teachers can help  students:

  • explore environmental issues that affect Canadian regions and provinces.
  • look at how governments, groups, and citizens respond to these issues

Taking this approach allowed me to create a unit where both grades looked at:

  • a variety of environmental issues in Canada’s regions, provinces and territories.
  • how humans actions (by individuals, industries and governments) affect the environment.
  • how the environment affects humans, organizations and governments. 
  • different perspectives on the issue.
  • how Indigenous groups have been affected by these issues.
  • future governmental actions that may address these issues in a positive manner.

Each student examines an environmental issue from one province or territory (I provide three issues per territory). and as a culminating activity creates a poster, scrapbook, report, brochure or cube detailing what they have learned.  Students include images and recommendations for the future.  

By using the big ideas in the curriculum in this way, it becomes easy to see how alike the two grade level expectations are, and to create a plan that allows both grades to look at the same issues with slightly different foci:

Grade 4:  What ARE the issues, and how have the environment and humans interacted with each other?
Grade 5:  How have levels of government affected these issues either positively or negatively, and what can be done in the future?

If this sounds like a direction you can see you and your students embracing, check out my Strand B unit.  (Good news:  I created both printable and digital versions, which can be purchased separately or as a bundle!) 

This printable version has complete lesson plans and examples of completed student work!

The digital version contains the same student texts and tasks in full colour with movable pieces and interactive texts, perfect for distance learning or meeting IEP accommodations.
The best of both worlds is the bundle, which makes it possible to have some students working with printable materials while others cover the same texts and tasks in digital form:

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