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Canada Unit Study

I am having a blast writing a column for the Old Schoolhouse magazine called the International Schoolhouse.  In the article, I get the chance to share with you about the landscape, the history and the culture of the highlighted country, in this case Canada.  However, there is so much to tell that simply overflows a 1500 word article that I have decided to compile the remainder of the information as a unit study for you. 

If you do not subscribe to the Old Schoolhouse magazine, you can read a sample issue here -  Or better yet, subscribe here - The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC - and get the summer issue this month with the Canada article that I have written, plus many, many more wonderful articles of encouragement from other inspirational authors.  It is their best issue yet.  Oh, and did I mention that you get 25 free gifts with your new subscription.

Okay, so now that you have read the article, it's time to dive in for some hands-on learning to cement your student's growing knowledge of this 2nd largest country of the world.

Unit Study:

1.  READING SELECTIONS - Let's start with some extra reading.  Listed below are some great books about Canada, or set in the North American country of Canada, that will provide many hours of enjoyable reading.  The links below will take you to for more information, but you can find these at your local library.  Read for pleasure alone, or have your kids write a book report on one of these selections.


The last book listed above - M is for Maple - is for younger readers. There is a companion book to it entitled Loonies and Toonies - A Canadian Number Book.  The other three books listed above are targeted for kids between 3rd and 6th grade.  For some grown-up reading, you might try Canadian History for Dummies.  We Americans really do know very little about the history of our northern neighbor!

2. HISTORY & TIMELINES - Learn more about Canada by compiling historical facts and events from its turbulent history and adding them to your timeline.  If you do not have a timeline on the go, you can construct one by following these directions - How to Make a Timeline Easily.  Here is a wonderful resource for timeline entries about Canada -  Here is another one, a little bit more simplified for kids -    

3. MAPWORK - A unit study would not be complete without taking a good look at the lay of the land.  Click on this link for both a labeled and unlabeled map of Canada.  Have your younger students mark some of the major cities, the neighboring countries, and the surrounding oceans, at the least.  For older students, have them use your teacher's map and fill in the rest!

4. RECIPES - This is my favorite part - the food from the land!  I have always assumed that Canadian cuisine is very similar to American food.  However, I came across a website that delves a little bit into the history of Canadian cuisine and how it has developed through the years.  You may find this fascinating as well:

Here's another website that defines some Canadian specialties while giving geographical reference when necessary:

Now for some recipes.  Here are a few favorite dishes.  One is a family favorite of ours as well.  Enjoy!

Sauteed Fiddleheads

  • 1 bunch fiddleheads
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  1. Trim the fiddleheads so that the stem end is about 2 inches long. Rub the dry brown flakes off the fiddleheads, and rinse well.
  2. Fill a saucepan with cool water and plunge the fiddleheads into the water to rinse off any grit.
  3. Remove the fiddleheads from the pan, change the water, and repeat the soaking. Rinse the fiddleheads under running water to remove any remaining grit.
  4. Rinse and dry the saucepan. Measure oil and butter into it and heat until the butter is melted.
  5. Add the fiddleheads and sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about 5 minutes. Fiddleheads will be bright green and crispy.

Serves 8 to 10.

Sweet Corn Pancakes

  • 6 eggs, separated (Note: to separate eggs, crack the egg and allow just the white to fall into a bowl, holding the yolk in one of the shell halves. Transfer the yolk back and forth between the two shell halves, being careful not to break it, until all the white has dripped into the bowl. Put the yolk into a separate bowl.)
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup corn (may be fresh or frozen corn kernels)
  • Vegetable oil to oil the pan
  1. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks when the beaters are lifted up.
  2. In another bowl, combine the egg yolks, half-and-half, and sour cream.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg yolk mixture. Add the beaten egg whites, using a gentle stirring motion to combine them with the yolk mixture.
  4. Add the corn, and stir gently. Pour a small amount of oil into a non-stick pan and heat it over medium heat. Drop batter, about 1 Tablespoonsful at a time, into the pan for each pancake and cook until golden brown on each side.

Serves 4 to 6.

Canadian Bacon with Maple Glaze

  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ¾ cups maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 pound (approximately) Canadian bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Combine vinegar, maple syrup, and brown sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Slice Canadian bacon about ½-inch thick. Arrange the slices in a casserole or baking dish, and spoon the syrup mixture over the slices.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature. (To serve as a snack, cut slices into bite-sized pieces and serve with toothpicks.)

Serves 6 for lunch or dinner

Quebec Pork Pie (or Tourtiere)

This is a family favorite!!

  • Pastry for 2-crust pie

  • 1lb ground pork

  • 1/2lb lean ground beef

  • 3 Tablespoon chopped onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (2 large potatoes)

  1. Combine pork, beef, onion, salt, pepper and water.

  2. Cook slowly for 45 minutes.

  3. Add cloves and cinnamon and cook 15 minutes longer.

  4. Add potatoes to meat mixture while still hot.  Let cool thoroughly, or about 1 hour, so flavors will blend.

  5. Turn mixture into pastry-lined 9" pie pan.  Top with crust, cut vents and flute edges.

  6. Bake in hot oven (400°F) for 45 minutes.

  7. You can freeze this pie before baking, or freeze just the filling to use later.

Serves 6 for lunch or dinner

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars have three layers.

Ingredients for bottom layer

  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers (packaged graham cracker crumbs may be used)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Ingredients for middle layer

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla custard powder (available in Canada, but not in the United States; instant vanilla pudding powder may be substituted)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk

Ingredients for top layer

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  1. Make bottom layer: Grease a 9-inch square cake pan.
  2. Combine ½ cup butter, sugar, cocoa, egg, and vanilla in a heavy sauce pan. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.
  3. Add graham crackers crumbs, coconut, and chopped walnuts, stirring to combine. Press the mixture in the greased pan.
  4. Make middle layer: Beat together ¼ cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla custard or pudding powder, and milk, until the mixture is creamy.
  5. Spread over graham cracker base in cake pan. Refrigerate bars until firm, at least 1 hour.
  6. Make topping: Melt semi-sweet chocolate and 1 Tablespoon butter. Drizzle over chilled bars. Return to refrigerator to chill until firm (at least 1 hour).
  7. Cut into squares and serve.

Serves 16.




Here is a website with some fun projects that you can do with your children.

And remember to have fun!

Warm Regards,

Terri Johnson
Knowledge Quest, Inc. - try our maps free! - we are looking for authors for our new book - see what we're up to. - our business helping your business to succeed!


Terri Johnson is the creator of Knowledge Quest maps and timelines.  Her mission for the company is to help make the teaching and learning of history and geography enjoyable for both teacher and students.  She has created and published over 20 map and timeline products.  Her Blackline Maps of World History have been widely recommended in the education community.  Terri resides in Oregon with her husband Todd and their six children whom she teaches at home.


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