Canadian Studies Videoconference: Wikispaces Archive

Since Wikispaces is closing down, I’m moving my collaborative videoconference projects over to my websites and blog for archiving. Great project formats can still be used and adapted!

Canadian Studies Videoconference Project

This videoconference project was written for Michigan 6th grade classes required to learn about Canada. We will match Michigan classes with classes in Canada to share what they have learned, compare and contrast geography, culture, government; or to discuss economic and environmental issues that impact both countries.

Map of Canada

History: This project ran February 2011 between Berrien RESA and schools in the Simcoe County District School Board; Barrie, Ontario; and Bert Edwards Science and Technology School, Kamloops, BC. Another similar project occurred between Berrien RESA schools and Peace River, Alberta schools and with Edmonton, Alberta in 2007.

Videoconference Agenda

Maple Leaf Bullet Introductions
Maple Leaf Bullet Each class takes a turn leading the interaction
Maple Leaf Bullet Question & answer time

How To Create Posters for Videoconferencing

This VC Poster Handout for students gives simple tips for clear presentations via posters.


Teachers! Please discuss with each other what you would like to present, interact, and share with each other!

Michigan Curriculum Focus on Canada
North America: People, Places and Issues Unit from Michigan Citizenship Curriculum

Potential Points of Discussion and Comparison

  • Issues related to the Great Lakes, including invasive species, water diversion, and pollution.
  • Trade patterns associated with NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement
  • Compare the governments of the United States and Canada and analyze their geopolitical relationships
  • Examples of conflict and cooperation in North America and categorize and make generalizations
  • about the types of and reasons for each of these.

Potential Focus Questions

  • In what ways are the countries and cultures of North America alike and different?
  • How do modifications to the environments of North America affect economic and social systems?
  • What global patterns exist between the past and the present in North America?
  • How does economic activity lead to the exchange of cultural and political ideas in North America?

Potential Presentation Topics

  • A presentation comparing the two governments (then discuss to see if both classes agree on the comparison).
  • Present how your country/state/province uses the Great Lakes and what issues are hot topics right now. What is being done to address the issue?
  • Present about a product that your country/state/province sells to the other country and how it is used
  • Present about a way that your country cooperates or is in conflict with the other country. What are the issues? What ideas do you have for a solution?
  • Create a presentation about Canada and it’s geography: languages, religion, economic system, governmental system, cultural traditions.
  • Create an illustration of imports and exports and economic interdependence between Canada and the U.S.
  • Michigan students: Have students share individually something they learned about Canada, and where they would like to visit, and their favorite hobbies (getting to know you activity).
  • Michigan students: Present about a book that you read about Canada, and then discuss the book with the partner class.

Potential Interactive Activities

  • Both classes present about their own government, then compare by having students use a venn diagram individually to find the similarities and differences. Then take turns having students share what they see as a similarity or difference.
  • Create a quiz on the geography and culture of Canada to quiz the partner class (topics can include: languages, religion, economic system, governmental system, cultural traditions).
  • Test the concept of cultural diffusion. Create a quiz for your partner class to see how close the culture is between Canada and the U.S.: (Identify and explain examples of cultural diffusion within the Americas (e.g., baseball, soccer, music, architecture, television, languages, health care, Internet, consumer brands, currency, restaurants, international migration).
  • Create a Conflict / Cooperation quiz for the partner class. List an issue and the other class has to say whether Canada and the U.S are in conflict or cooperation on that issue.

Can you think of other ideas? Discuss with your partner teacher what works best.

Michigan Curriculum Standards

(As of 2011 when this project last ran.)

  • 6 – H1.4.3: Use historical perspective to analyze global issues faced by human long ago and today. See also 7 – H1.4.3.
  • 6 – G1.2.6: Apply the skills of geographic inquiry (asking geographic questions, acquiring geographic information, organizing geographic information, analyzing geographic information, and answering geographic questions) to analyze a problem or issue of importance to a region. See also 7 – G1.2.6.
  • 6 – G1.3.1: Use the fundamental themes of geography (location, place, human environment interaction, movement, region) to describe regions or places on earth. See also 7 – G1.3.1.
  • 6 – G2.2.1: Describe the human characteristics of the region under study (including languages, religion, economic system, governmental system, cultural traditions).
  • 6 – G4.1.1: Identify and explain examples of cultural diffusion within the Americas (e.g., baseball, soccer, music, architecture, television, languages, health care, Internet, consumer brands, currency, restaurants, international migration).
  • 6 – G4.3.2: Describe patterns of settlement by using historical and modern maps (e.g., coastal and river cities and towns in the past and present, locations of megacities – modern cities over 5 million, such as Mexico City, and patterns of agricultural settlements in South and North America).
  • 6 – G4.4.1: Identify factors that contribute to conflict and cooperation between and among cultural groups (control/use of natural resources, power, wealth, and cultural diversity).
  • 6 – G5.1.1: Describe the environmental effects of human action on the atmosphere (air), biosphere (people, animals, and plants), lithosphere (soil), and hydrosphere (water) (i.e. Great Lakes) See also 7 – G5.1.1.
  • 6 – C3.6.2: Compare and contrast a military dictatorship such as Cuba, a presidential system of representative democracy such as the United States, and a parliamentary system of representative democracy such as Canada.
  • 6 – C4.3.2: Explain the challenges to governments and the cooperation needed to address international issues in the Western Hemisphere (e.g., migration and human rights).
  • 6 – C4.3.3: Give examples of how countries work together for mutual benefits through international organizations (e.g. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Organization of American States (OAS), United Nations (UN)).
  • 6 – E3.1.1: Use charts and graphs to compare imports and exports of different countries in the Western Hemisphere and propose generalizations about patterns of economic interdependence.
  • 6 – P3.1.1: Clearly state an issue as a question or public policy, trace the origins of an issue, analyze various perspectives, and generate and evaluate alternative resolutions. Deeply examine policy issues in group discussions and debates to make reasoned and informed decisions. Write persuasive/ argumentative essays expressing and justifying decisions on public policy issues. Plan and conduct activities intended to advance views on matters of public policy, report the results, and evaluate effectiveness.


This project used this Google Spreadsheet evaluation form for feedback.

Facilitator Confirmation Email Template

To: Teachers & techs on both sides
Subject: Canada Studies VC Project Confirmation: [date]

Greetings and welcome to our Canada Studies Videoconference Project. The goal of this project is increase the understanding of Canada for our Michigan students, and to more fully understand and appreciate the interdependence between Canada and the United States.

Dates & Times
[date & time in both time zones]

Technical Information:
[who] will dial.
[IP address]
If there are problems, please call [phone].

The lead teacher for this project is [local teacher name, email, phone, school name, city, state, country].
The other participating school is:
[local teacher name, email, phone, school name, city, state, country].

Preparation materials and resources are available [here]

For the actual connection, I recommend this format as a rough guideline:
5 min. Introductions (be sure to prepare a map for each other)
10 min. One class leads the interaction
10 min. The other class leads the interaction.
10-15 min. Ask each other questions.

Action Items
Here’s what needs to happen next.

  • Teachers: Please email each other to discuss further.
  • Techs: Please sign up for a test call here: [ADD LINK]

Let me know if you have any questions along the way. We really appreciate you participating in this project with us!


Wikispaces to Blog Conversion Feedback

Thoughts on the conversion of wikispaces videoconference projects to this blog format? This conversion is a summer project for me, and feedback is welcome.

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