Sample Lessons

Sample Lesson: Inquiry Ignition

Lesson Plan – Geography

Teacher:Jesslyn Wilkinson Grade:Grade 4
Curriculum Area:Social Sciences – Geography Date/Time:Initial Lesson – although may change
Lesson Topic/Title          Inquiry Ignition on Canada’s Geography – A Discovery Day
Lesson Focus          Use a variety of resources and tools to determine the influence of physical factors on the economies and cultures of Ontario and the other provinces and territories.
Learning Expectations (Specific Curriculum Expectations)         

2.5: use media works, oral presentations, written notes and descriptions, drawings, tables, and graphs to identify and communicate key information about the regions, provinces, and territories;         

2.4: use graphic organizers and graphs to sort information, clarify issues, solve problems, and make decisions

 2.3: use primary and secondary sources to locate information about natural resources and their uses

Lesson Objectives

  1. SW brainstorm facts they currently know about Canada, geographically.
  2. SW, as a class, create 3-6 questions about Canada’s geography.
  3. SW, individually, use research stations to find answers to at least three questions.
  4. SW discuss the purpose of a KWL chart in their inquiry process as a class.

  1. Students will be assessed, using the handout provided, on the accuracy of their answers o the class generated questions.
  2. SW be assessed by observation during the learning activity, on their ability to use and locate information with the resources.
Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills Students can:

–        use primary and secondary resources to locate key information

–        consult map legends when looking for geographical features.

–        Recognize a range of features that may be represented by different colours on maps.



  1. Handout – Inquiring about Canada.
  2. Computers/iPads/Laptops set up with Google Earth or National Geographic maps.
  3. Atlases of Canada, Class set, one per student.
  4. Large map of Canada, displayed in class.

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2004). TheOntario Curriculum, Social Sciences, Grades 1 ~ 6,

History and Geography Grades 7 ~ 8.  Ontario:

Queen’s Printer. 


The Lesson

Est. Time

Anticipatory Set – Hook











5 min.













5 min.












 On the projector/whiteboard: projected Google Earth image of Canada, on Satellite mode.  Students will be asked to identify what they are observing on the board.Student Response (SR): It’s Canada.The teacher will continue the conversation by asking students to remember to think geographically.


Teacher Prompt (TP): When we think geographically, what are we going to think about?


SR: Maps, Spaces, Mountains, Land, Cities, Roads, etc.


TP: I want you to write down as many things you already know geographically about Canada. It can be a word, a sentence or otherwise, but anything you already know about this country.


Students compile a short list of a few things they know. 


Next, they will be instructed to Walk and Share with a neighbor something they know about Canada.  They will be asked to share and listen at least twice. 


TP: Who would like to share something they know or something they learned about Canada?


Teacher compiles information on a KWL chart at the front of the class. 

Teacher Modelling

Teacher will conduct a guided model the use of the Google Earth or National Geographic program, indicating the zoom and distance tools, as well as the various map interfaces (satellite, conventional map and topographical).  The teacher will remark on various observations made.  For example: “When I switch to topographical mode, I notice I can see the high and low points on the map.  This makes me think “topographical” means a map that shows me what the ground looks like.  I can see some mountains on the east coast in this kind of map.”














Students unable to write may have their responses scribed for them by e teacher or a neighbour.  Students may also think of things they know, and verbally report these to a friend.




During the Learning Activity

 20 min.  




TP: Now, what are some things you want to learn about Canada?  Using our geographer’s caps, what questions can we come up with? Teacher adds questions to the KWL chart, accepting approximately 3-6 questions.  The questions should be specific and focused on Canada’s geographic structures or context. 

Resource Stations

Next, point out the three resource stations set up around the class.

  1. a map (two if available)
  2. atlases
  3. computers with a mapping program set up on it (Google Earth or National Geographic Online).

 Relying on a timer or bell, the students will transfer through each station at least once. Using a handout, they will record the answers they have discovered, and should use each resource station to locate at least one fact or piece of information to answer 3 of the class generated questions.  The should work cooperatively, sharing resources, and perhaps working strategically, depending on what they already know about the uses and functions of various geographic research tools like maps, atlases, and programs.  

S’s with limited writing capacity may write their questions on an Alpha-Smart, or use a voice recorder to verbally report their findings. If finished, s’s may extend their learning by answering all the questions, helping another student or continuing to explore the resources.


 10 min. KWL Chart CompletionStudents will offer the information they have learned as responses to finally complete the KWL chart TP:  When researching, or inquiring, why might we want to start with a question in mind that we might like to answer?

SR: To look for specific information, to help us look in certain locations, to know what you’re looking for, etc.


TP: How did the KWL chart help us do this? 

SR: By thinking about what we know, and what we want to learn, to make questions, etc.


TP: How might we extend this learning today? What else can we learn about Canada?

Teacher compiles ideas into a brainstorm to inform next steps in planning.

RationaleThis lesson is intended as a diagnostic and introductory activity.  The intention is to better understand students’ current abilities, and knowledge on the topic, as well as to prime their inquiry skills.    The lesson combines well with technology lessons, and the unit will integrate with Language Arts in a final project showcasing knowledge by advertising for a province of Canada.HookThis hook has multiple engaging points for a variety of learners.  It has a visual, a written, and a kinesthetic component.  The intent is to grab students’ interest in the topic from the start, and to encourage a multi-sensory approach to geographic learning experiences.  The Walk and Share is intended to relieve kinesthetic students during the activity, and to give the chance for students to show some insight or knowledge on the topic before starting.  The guided practice is intended to at least introduce the students to a popular technology, and may be built upon in future classes as well.  Further, by integrating the KWL chart, students are encouraged to not only be curious, but to intelligently structure that curiosity into a learning plan.

Learning Activity and Consolidation

This activity offers the opportunity to observe students’ use of the various resources, and to gain understanding of their current skills in using these.  The teacher will observe students skills with geographic resources and record competency levels on a checklist carried along (using the criteria: gets it, getting it, working on it).  The handouts will also help indicate which resources students choose to use, and their ability to locate the correct answer from the source.  The lessons may be extended to include some investigation as to the effectiveness of various resources, and the best purposes to use each for.  The KWL chart will act as an exemplar in future lessons, and can help consolidate and review knowledge.





One thought on “Sample Lesson: Inquiry Ignition

  1. This lesson represents my strengths in creating lessons that appeal to a variety of intelligences, and also to an inquiry style approach to a topic. By allowing students to explore materials prior to using them, I hoped to create prior knowledge and experiences for them to draw on for later discussions. This lesson may also be adapted to suit other topics, and relies on my strong classroom management skills.


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