Educators' corner

A selection of useful resources and ideas for teachers and students.

Compiled by Mark Lowry

One of the exciting aspects of the Historical Atlas of Canada Online Learning Project is as a resource for students and teachers to enhance the teaching and learning of Canadian Social Studies, Geography, and History. The Online Learning Project will allow teachers and their students to critically discover the patterns and relationships within the Canadian landscape and the issues inherent in the evolution of Canada as a nation and as a society.

Online Learning Project - Components

The Historical Atlas of Canada Online Learning Project (HACOLP) as an Interactive Mapping Site (Internet Map server)

The HACOLP is an interactive map serving site. The benefit of this as a teaching tool is that it allows the teacher and student to add and subtract spatial layers of information to see different views of a subject. In many cases this may help to grasp the complexities of Canadian landscape and society. For more background on the Online Learning Project see About this project.

Along with the interactive maps, each chapter has a number of other components and resources that will be of utility to both students and teachers. For more information and trouble-shooting, the Help popup pages are always accessible.

Map Tours

These are guided explorations of selected Chapters in the Atlas, giving users some examples of how to navigate through the interactive maps and other information, and demonstrating some of the interesting pathways these tools may be used to discover. They can be accessed through the Maptours page or individual Chapter pages.


Each "Chapter" in the Online Learning Project is modelled after a thematic "plate" from the original printed Atlases. The original text and some supplementary text can be accessed through the individual Chapter page or from the Related Materials dropdown along the top of each map page.
Overview: A textual introduction of each HACOLP chapter, setting the context and highlighting individual maps or other components.
Authors and Sources: A description of the Authors and Sources that were used to research the original Historical Atlas of Canada maps and other components. These are edited to highlight information available in the Online Learning Project.
Text from the Atlas: The text from the original printed Atlas.
Essay from Concise Atlas: The Concise Historical Atlas of Canada is a volume of 67 of the best and most important plates selected from the original three volumes. Revised essays were written to accompany this new volume. These essays are reproduced here, edited to highlight information available in the Online Learning Project.

More Resources

Related resources on this site: Links to related chapters within the Online Learning Project
Links to other sites: External links to websites containing good information complementary to the chapter contents.


Curriculum links

Role of Historical comprehension and Critical Thinking

To engage in historical analysis and interpretation students must draw upon their skills of historical comprehension.

Social Science Critical thinking

Critical thinking is best understood as the ability of thinkers to take charge of their own thinking. This requires that they develop sound criteria and standards for analyzing and assessing their own thinking and routinely use those criteria and standards to improve its quality.
Elder , L. and Paul, R. "Critical thinking: why we must transform our teaching." Journal of Developmental Education, Fall 1994.

What is Critical thinking?


CCGE Canadian Geography Standards

The Canadian Council for Geographic Education (CCGE) has published Canadian National Standards for Geography: A Standards-Based Guide to K-12 Geography in 2001.

This Standards-Based Guide contains broad learning objectives and sample learning activities that are based upon six essential elements of geography: (1) the world in spatial terms (location); (2) places and regions; (3) physical systems; (4) human systems; (5) environment and society; and (6) the uses of geography.

1 The World in Spatial Terms. Geography studies the spatial relationships among people, places and environments. Maps reveal the complex spatial interactions that touch the lives of all citizens

2 Places and Regions. The identities and lives of individuals and peoples are rooted in particular places and regions, each of which has distinctive human and physical characteristics.

3 Physical Systems. Physical processes shape Earth's surface and interact with plant and animal life to create, sustain and modify the cultural and natural environment. Physical systems include such things as wind and ocean currents, plate tectonics, erosion, deposition and the water.

4 Human Systems. Earth's surface is shaped by human activities. The spatial organization of society is a mosaic of population movements, settlement patterns, economic activity, transportation, communication and political organizations.

5 Environment and Society. The physical environment has been modified by human activities. In a traditional sense, early settlers cleared the land to plant crops and graze livestock. Today, air and water pollution and the management of solid waste and hazardous materials are a serious problem. The physical environment affects human activity as well. Soil types and water availability help to determine which crops will prosper. More dramatically, natural hazards (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes and floods) have resulted in substantial loss of life and property.

6 The Uses of Geography. Understanding geography content and how to use the tools and technology available for geographic study prepares citizens for life in our modern society. Individuals, businesses and government entities use geography and maps of all kinds on a daily basis. Geography students have a wide choice of interesting and rewarding career opportunities.



Individual provinces' learning outcomes in Social Studies, History and Geography

British Columbia

BC Ministry of Education: Curriculum Guidelines

Social Studies Social Studies Integrated Resource Packages

  • BC First Nations Studies 12 (2006)
  • Civic Studies (2005)
  • Comparative Civilizations 12 (2006)
  • Geography 12 (1999)
  • History 12 (1997)
  • Law 12 (2006)
  • Social Studies K to 7 (2006)
  • Social Studies 10 (2006)
  • Social Studies 8 to 10 (1997)
  • Social Studies 11 (2005)


Current Programs of Study: Identify what students are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level.
Alberta Education: Curriculum - Social Studies

Junior High
Social Studies, Grade 7 , 2006
Social Studies, Grades 8 and 9 , 1989
IOP Social Studies, Grades 8 and 9 , 1992
Knowledge and Employability Social Studies 8 and 9 , Interim 2006
[Use of new programs of study is mandatory in 2007 for Grade 8 and in 2008 for Grade 9.]

Senior High
Social Studies 10–20–30 , Revised 2000
Social Studies 13–23–33 , Revised 2000
Social Studies 16–26 , 1992
Knowledge and Employability Social Studies 10-4 and 20-4 , Interim 2006
[Use of new programs of study is mandatory in 2007 for Social Studies 10-4 and in 2008 for Social Studies 20-4.]


Saskatchewan Education: Social Sciences: Curriculum Guides and Information
Social Studies Curriculum Guide: History 30

The Basis for Curriculum Reform in Social Studies and History

Canadian Studies is part of a series of curriculum reforms in the social studies undertaken by Saskatchewan Education.

The Aim of Social Studies Education:
a study of people and their relationships with their social and physical environments. The knowledge, skills, and values developed in social studies help students to know and appreciate the past, to understand the present and to influence the future. Therefore, social studies in the school setting has a unique responsibility for providing students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and values to function effectively within their local and national society which is enmeshed in an interdependent world."

The Canadian Studies 30 requirement will be fulfilled by taking:
  • History 30: Canadian Studies,
  • Social Studies 30: Canadian Studies, or
  • Native Studies 30: Canadian Studies


Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth is developing new social studies curricula for Kindergarten to Grade 12.



Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum Documents

Elementary: Social Studies

Secondary: Social Sciences and the Humanities

Elementary Social Studies Curriculum Documents

Resource Documents Specific to this Subject

Secondary Canadian and World Studies Curriculum Documents

Resource Documents Specific to this Subject



Atlantic Provinces

Atlantic Provinces: Social Studies K-12

In the Atlantic Canada Social Studies Framework, media literacy outcomes are included under the broader categories of Citizenship, Power and Governance; Groups and Institutions; Culture and Cultural Diversity; Individual Development and Identity; Global Connections; Individuals, Societies and Economic Choices; Participating in Social Studies; and People, Science and Technology.

Click on a grade level under Social Studies for a list of media-related outcomes and links to supporting resources from the Media Awareness Network site. (Note: as many of our lessons can be adapted to suit different grade levels, specific lessons may be listed for more than one grade. Teachers should also note that individual lessons often satisfy a number of learning outcomes.)

Social Studies 7-9

Social Studies 10-12

Nunavut/Yukon/Northwest Territories

Council of Ministers of Education, Canada
Course transfer Guide:
Nunavut/Yukon/Northwest Territories

Social Studies: Grade 7–9

These Nunavut Education courses are based on the NWT (1993) Social Studies and Civics curricula. They focus on the development of social responsibility and relationships and take an inquiry approach to topics of northern/cultural knowledge, human rights and freedoms, current events, social change and development, and globalization. The content is organized into three strands: the circumpolar world; the changing world and the growth of our nation; and the socio-political systems that have supported this development. In addition, the WNCP Common Curriculum Framework for Social Studies is a support document.

Social Studies: Grade 10–12

Social Studies 10 – 20 – 30
This Alberta Education course sequence prepares students academically for entry into postsecondary level humanities programs. At the 10 level, this course has two topics: Challenges for Canada: the 20th Century and Today, and Citizenship in Canada. Social Studies 20 has two themes: the development and interaction of nations: 19th Century Europe, and Interdependence in the global environment. Social Studies 30 has two themes: political and economic systems, and global interaction.

Social Studies 13 – 23 – 33
This Alberta Education course sequence prepares students for postsecondary college-level programs. At the 13 level, there are two topics: Challenges for Canada: the 20th Century and Today, and Citizenship in Canada. Social Studies 23, focuses on the development of the modern world and challenges in the global environment. Social Studies 33 themes are political and economic systems, and global interaction.

Northern Studies 10
This Nunavut Education course has three units of study. One is a study of Inuit language, the second of the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement, and the third is a study of a topic in Inuit culture. This course will be retired and will no longer be required for graduation credits.

Overview of the Common Curriculum Framework for Social Studies K-9: Western Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Basic
, 2002, Sheila D. Rose, CM, PhD


Other Resources

Other Canadian resources for history and geography

The Atlas of Canada: The Atlas of Canada Online

The Atlas of Canada has been in existence for nearly 100 years with the First Edition published in 1906 and the latest paper edition closing in 1993. With the closing of the fifth edition came a period of experimentation with changing content development approaches and vastly different communications avenues. The Atlas was transformed into one of the very first interactive atlases on the web.
The Atlas' mandate is to provide a reliable summary of national-scale geographical information. The challenge is to prepare content, which allows users to see the "big picture" on a particular subject. Although it cannot provide community-level information, the Atlas can direct users to organizations and on-line services, such as the Canadian Communities Atlas, which provide more detailed information at the local level.



Historica will carry out its mission by encouraging the best possible Canadian history education and by providing or supporting programs and resources that inspire Canadians to explore their history.
In carrying out its mission, Historica is committed to working in all provinces and territories, in both French and English, and with organizations and individuals of all origins.
Historica also contains a Teaching and Learning component, with Lesson Plans, School Programs and Professional Development sections.


Statistics Canada: Statistics Canada

StatsCan offers Learning Resources, including support for teaching and learning in schools.
Find data and programs to support in-depth research, teaching and learning, including the Data Liberation Initiative ( DLI ) and Research Data Centres ( RDCs ) .


Canadian Geographic: Canadian Atlas Online

Features interactive maps and graphics on themes such as Canada 's geophysical regions and climate zones, industries, weather extremes, and more. Also includes games and quizzes to test and improve your knowledge, plus the fun and interactive CG Kids' Atlas Online.


Canada Year Book: Canada Year Book Online

For the first time in its 136-year history, the Canada Year Book is now available online. It contains pictures, graphs, statistical tables and sound about the land, people, economy and government of Canada.


Geographical Names Board of Canada: Geographical Names of Canada

Searchable by name, coordinates, or feature description, includes current and historical names. The Origins of Canada's Geographical Names explains the origins of the names of Canada, its provinces and territories, cities, national parks, and some aboriginal communities.


British Columbia Integrated Land Management Bureau: BC Geographical Names

Current and historical placenames, and in future, their origins. Search by name, coordinates, or feature/location description.


Dictionary of Canadian Biography: DCB Online

We invite you to explore the history of Canada 's inhabitants and their culture, thanks to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. There, you will meet people who played an important role in the formation of what is now Canada.
This first phase presents persons who died between the years 1000 and 1930 or whose last known date of activity falls within these years. We are certain that this new means of consulting the Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada (DCB/DBC), a major research and publishing project launched by the University of Toronto and the Université Laval in 1959, will provide a much easier access to the published biographies and the information that interests you. Integrated into the country's largest archival repository, the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online even paves the way to more extensive research.

Other Interactive Atlas Projects

Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century
Features maps, many of them interactive, statistical tables, and timelines, which show historical developments around the world throughout the 20th Century in areas such as systems of government, socio-economics, population, and war. Other maps, etc., for individual places and events are also included.

National Atlas of the United States
Interactive atlas of the US , with a large number of socio-political, geophysical, and economic variables to choose from for display.

National Geographic Society Map Machine
Interactive atlas of the world with political and physical maps, and satellite images.

Other Canadian History and Geography Organizations


Royal Canadian Geographical Society


Canadian Council for Geographic Education


Association for Canadian Studies


Canada’s National History Society


Canadian Historical Association


Canadian Cartographic Association


Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives


Online Learning Project - Teachers' forum

This section is devoted to lessons plans and ideas of teachers from across Canada

Please send your lesson plans or teaching concepts developed for the Historical Atlas of Canada Online Learning Project to:
and the documents or links will be posted here.



Online Learning Project - Feedback

The Historical Atlas of Canada Online Learning Project Feedback form

We welcome feedback on the Historical Atlas of Canada Online Learning Project site.
We are interested in who uses this website and your impressions of it,
so we would be grateful if you could take the time to fill in this Feedback form.
The information you provide will help us to improve our site.