Political and Physical Regions of Canada

Does the thought of teaching your Ontario Grade 4 students about the political and physical regions of Canada fill you with dread? I used to think so as well (and Grade 4 is my very favourite grade to teach!), but I deep-dove into the curriculum itself and calmed myself the heck down.

What tourist spots can your students learn about?

The 2023 Ontario Social Studies Curriculum has two strands for Grades 1-6. Strand A is Heritage and Identity, focusing more on social studies’s “history” side. Strand B is People and Environments, and it’s more geography-related.

Let’s explore the Political and Physical Regions of Canada, the Grade 4 topic for Strand B of the Ontario curriculum. We’ll focus on what YOU need to know, and what learning do your STUDENTS need to walk away from the unit with?

Teachers, Here’s What You Need to Know:

  • The 2023 Ontario Social Studies Curriculum DID NOT CHANGE the Grade 4 curriculum at all from the 2018 revision. Only Grades 1-3 and Grade 6 were affected by this revision!
  • A major focus of this strand is that the local environment affects the actions and choices of citizens and the actions and choices of citizens affect the local environment.
  • There is a focus on political maps, regional maps, and (to some degree) thematic maps.
  • This strand also includes a look at different types of government: federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and First Nations bands and reserves. The focus here is on government actions on environmental issues.

What Students Need to Know

  • Canada is divided into political regions called provinces and territories, as well as reserves.
  • Our country is divided into physical regions. A physical region is an area that shares common features such as climate, landforms, and resources. This affects clothing, transportation, recreation, housing, and jobs.
  • The actions people take can affect the local environment.

How to Make This Strand Come Alive for Your Grade 4 Students!

  • Invite a local politician (municipal, provincial, or federal) and/or a local band council member to speak to your class about local environmental issues.
  • Take some virtual field trips to explore Canada’s natural features and tourist attractions.
  • Have each student focus on ONE political or physical region, and share their learning with their classmates or other classes.

By keeping myself focused on the elements that were most crucial for my Grade 4 students, I’ve created a full social studies unit for this strand. You can check it out here:

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