How has the Geography of the West Shaped Who We Are? This was the driving question of our first Humanities project of grade nine. The project was called The Power of Geography and it pushed my questioning skills to the next level. How did I answer this question? Keep reading to find out.

This project focused on two main topics: geography and the Canadian West. The project was enhanced with evidence collected on a 9 day field trip through the West. At the end of the project, we hosted a mini-exhibition where we showcased our work to all of the PLP 9 parents.

To kick off the project, we did a small amount of research on geography, specifically the five themes, which I go over in my book. Then, half of the class, including me, went on a field trip. We drove all throughout the West and collected evidence for our book. We visited parts of British Columbia and Alberta. We visited many locations, but we stayed in Golden, Banff, Calgary, and Revelstoke. Here are some extra photos that I took on the trip that are not in my book:

Soon after we returned, the other half of the class left on a similar trip. While they were gone, we learned more about the geography of Canada. We also created a comic about the five themes of geography. This is my comic:

When the rest of the class returned, we learned about the history of the West. Specifically, we learned about the Canadian Pacific Railway, the buffalo, and how BC developed as a colony. We also learned about the economics of the West and how activities such as agriculture and mining impacted helped build a thriving economy. We input all of this research into our books along with photos we captured on the trip. As our books developed, our understanding of the topics did too.

With our new knowledge, we crafted our answers to the driving question. We then took a look at these answers and divided everybody into three groups based on what their answer focused on. The three groups were economy, history, and diversity. I focused on the history aspect. With everything that we learned, we created our final ebooks. This is mine:

Once our books were finished, we started planning for our mini-exhibition. Each of the three groups would have a room where we would present in. We prepared wardrobe, decorations, and layout to ensure the parents would have a good time.

Something I haven’t posted about yet, is that this year in Maker, we are focusing on our video making skills. To prepare for the exhibition, we took a break from our current Maker project to create videos to be shown at the exhibition. I worked on the intro video. Our video was made to introduce the exhibition and welcome the parents. This is the video we created:

On the night of the exhibition the parents gathered, the intro group did a presentation and our video was shown. The parents then walked around and watched as the students presented their books. At the end of the night there was cake and groups that made “fun” videos showed their videos. The night went great and hopefully the parents enjoyed.

The project really pushed my questioning skills. I had to gather information from a variety of sources and use them to answer a big question. I had to make meaningful personal connections to the place I live through text and photo. I am really happy with how my book turned out. I was also happy with how the exhibition night went. I was able to really shine in both my connections to the West and its history as well as my ability to communicate and help lead my groups. In future projects, I will work on my ability to make these personal connections to events and locations.

To sum up my answer to the driving question, the Geography of the West affects us in way more ways than we realize. If the area didn’t have such harsh physical conditions, people might have started living there sooner. This could also be said about the location of the West, and how far away it is from where people first started exploring. Historical events such as Britain claiming land on Vancouver Island or construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway help increase the population and culture of the West. I believe that the West is how it is because of the events that happened many years ago, as well as it’s geographical characteristics.