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Supplementary Lessons - Grade 5 : Nunavut and Its People

Learning Outcomes

Grade 5
Focus: Canada
Topic A: Canada: Its Geography and People

Canada has distinct physical and political divisions and Canadians modify and adapt to natural settings in ways that affect their lifestyle and environment.


The territory of Nunavut was created in 1999. Nunavut has its own unique physical characteristics including climate and vegetation as well as culture. Students will be introduced to the geography of Nunavut as well as those who live there.



  • Students will define key terms
  • Students will develop understanding of the uniqueness of Nunavut’s vegetation, soil, and climate
  • Students will learn about the culture and life ways of the Inuit
  • Students will recognize ways in which the Inuit have survived in the Arctic
  • Students will recognize that the Inuit are a distinct cultural group in Canada


  • Students will identify Nunavut on a map
  • Students will interpret and label various maps with physical features and major population centers .
  • Students will research and interpret data regarding the history of the Inuit
  • Students will summarize data on Nunavut and the Inuit


  • Students will develop an appreciation for the culture and life ways of the Inuit
  • Students will respect the cultural differences between themselves and the Inuit

Teacher Information

Nunavut is one of the four Inuit regions within the Canadian arctic. Nunavut was created as an independent territory with its own government on 1 April 1999. The territory accounts for one fifth of Canada’s land mass. The capital of Nunavut is Iqualuit, which is also the largest populated community in the territory. Iqualuit is a part of the Baffin region. Many of the northern communities are not accessible by roads so air and water service become the primary modes of transportation. The official language of the Nunavut government is Inuktitut.

It is important to note that the Inuit are not the only cultural group living in the Canadian North, they are however, the focus of this lesson plan. The Inuit inhabit the area known to many as the Canadian Arctic. The Inuit are one of the original cultural groups as they have been living in the north for more than 5,000 years. Oral tradition is the primary means by which Inuit history, culture, traditions, and learning is passed down through the generations.

Traditionally the Inuit hunted marine animals and caribou. They created their own tools out of ivory, antlers, driftwood, and stone. They developed summer homes out of seal skin and winter home out of ice and rock. Contact with Europeans altered some of these traditional practices as new tools such as iron were introduced. The Inuit also became involved in the fur trade as they began to hunt and trade the Arctic Fox.

Today the Inuit live in homes and while some may still travel by dog sled many use snowmobiles and boats.

Introductory Activity

Place a blank map of Canada on an overhead project. Distribute blank maps to all of the students. Begin by having them individually locate and label the provinces, territories, and capitals. Follow up by labelling the overhead to ensure all students have the correct information. Ask students to identify, which province or territory was the last to become a part of Canada (Nunavut, 1999). What cultural group in Canada resides in Nunavut?

Share with them information presented in the Teacher Information section. You may wish to type the information into a handout. Develop a list on the board that identifies key words associated with Nunavut and the Inuit.

Main Lesson

The main lesson will be broken into two parts. The first part will focus on the geography and physical features of Nunavut. The second will examine the cultural aspect of Nunavut including a study on the Inuit.

Part One

Have students define the key words and terms associated with Nunavut and the Inuit peoples. Students may use the Glossary and Tid Bits to Know Sections of the Student Zone as a starting point.

Students will create a tourism poster that highlights relevant important information about physical geography of Nunavut. You may choose to have students work independently or in partners. The poster should include the following information as well as pictures and illustrations to entice the viewer. After all, working for Nunavut tourism is an important job and the students ultimately want people to visit the region.

Information the MUST be included on the tourism poster:

  1. Date of when Nunavut became a territory
  2. Examples of the types of vegetation found in Nunavut
  3. Description of the climate including coldest and warmest months to visit and average seasonal temperatures
  4. Description of the soil and tundra
  5. A map of Nunavut that includes the capital¸ other major centers for visiting, major lakes and bodies of water
  6. Population of capital city and Nunavut as a whole
  7. Three interesting facts about life in Nunavut 8
  8. Picture of the Nunavut flag

This portion may take a couple of class periods to finish but the end result will be well worth it.

Part Two

The second portion requires students to create a travel brochure (legal size paper works best for this folded into three parts). The travel brochure will highlight the culture and life ways of the Inuit peoples. The brochure should be colourful and accented with pictures. The brochure should include the following information about Inuit People:

  1. Definition of Inuit
  2. Brief history of the Inuit
  3. How the Inuit utilized the physical environment to their advantage
  4. Official language of the Inuit
  5. Three interesting facts about Inuit people
  6. Types of food the Inuit people would eat
  7. Types of transportation the Inuit people use
  8. Describe the different occupations of the Inuit¬-include both historical and contemporary occupations

Once students have completed both projects hang both the travel poster and brochure together around the classroom. This is a great way to add art to your walls and entice students to read and appreciate each other’s work.

Supplementary Lesson 1

Have students share with you what they have learned about Nunavut and Inuit culture. Record this on the board under the title “What we have Learned” and have students copy into their own notes for later review. Make sure to discuss the relationship between the environment and the lifestyle of Inuit people. How have they utilized and adapted to the physical conditions of the north? How is their way of life different from an Aboriginal group living in Alberta? How do the natural resources of an area affect what jobs are available? Are their any similarities between occupations in Nunavut and ones found in Alberta? How would life be different living in Nunavut? How would life be the same?

Supplementary Lesson 2

Have students identify a significant Inuit individual that has made an important contribution to their community. Students may use the Student Zone Biographies section as a starting point.

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