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The Geoscape Toronto poster, Web site and curriculum-correlated student learning activities provide a set of educational tools to raise awareness of the significance of Earth Science in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The colourful graphics-rich Geoscape Toronto poster is supported with text teeming with fascinating information designed to engage a wide range of audiences. The poster depicts the GTA's fascinating geologic past through five theme panels that highlight significant Geoscape features in the region:
- The Niagara Escarpment
- Past and Present Lakeshores
- The Oak Ridges Moraine
- Rivers and Valley Lands
- The Agricultural Plains
A Geoscape is the three-dimensional relationship between the geology below the surface and the landscape. Geologic processes of the past and present provide the shape and texture of today's land surface. These dynamic processes influence the locations of water bodies, set the direction of rivers and groundwater flow, and determine where valuable Earth resources are located. A solid understanding of our Geoscape is vital in evaluating the wise use and management of our land and resources.
To enhance the effectiveness of the Geoscape Toronto poster in Ontario's classrooms, a series of curriculum-linked learning activities have been designed to build on the themes presented by the poster. The activities strive to support teachers in the successful delivery of Earth Science and Geography curriculum expectations while challenging students to relate the knowledge they have acquired to the world outside their classroom. The Geoscape Toronto activities were developed by a classroom teacher and the integrity of the content has been verified by technical experts. The activities are accessible free of charge in a downloadable format via the Geoscape Toronto Web site. Teachers who incorporate activities from Geoscape Toronto are encouraged to create a Geoscape Toronto Centre in their classroom to display the poster and supporting resources such as maps, brochures and books that address specific topics found on the poster.
The Geoscape Toronto activities have been designed to provide experiential learning opportunities for students in Grades 7 to 9 and address a selection of curriculum expectations from the following Ontario Curriculum documents:
- Science and Technology: Earth and Space Systems (Grades 7 and 8)
- History and Geography: Geography (Grades 7 and 8)
- Canadian and World Studies: Geography of Canada (Grade 9)
The Niagara Escarpment
Investigate the Niagara Escarpment, southern Ontario's most prominent topographic feature. Today the region is a rich mosaic of forests, farms, wetlands, lakes, recreational areas, the Bruce Trail and quarries together with villages, towns and cities. It features over 100 sites of geological significance, including many in which fossils of the Silurian and Ordovician Periods are preserved.
- Lesson Plan [PDF, 1.4 Mb, viewer]: The Niagara Escarpment
- Activity 1 [PDF, 3.3 Mb, viewer] - As a class students use visuals to learn about the extent of the Niagara Escarpment and explore how land-use in this region has changed over time.
- Activity 2 [PDF, 3.5 Mb, viewer] - Through a demonstration students observe how erosion and the process of sapping shape the Niagara Escarpment.
- Activity 3 [PDF, 3.1 Mb, viewer] - Students read an information bulletin and answer guiding questions about the significance of this important landform.
Rivers and Valley Lands
Learn about the hydrologic cycle, explore watersheds of the GTA and investigate how the hydrologic cycle in the region has been modified as a result of urban development. Understand how the geology and natural processes of rivers helps to refine approaches to manage urban stormwater, improve fish habitat and make rivers and valley lands more accessible.
- Lesson Plan [PDF, 1.1 Mb, viewer]: Rivers and Valley
- Activity 1 [PDF, 2.8 Mb, viewer] - As a class students brainstorm ideas related to how rivers and watersheds interact with their community. Aerial photographs are used to investigate the change in land-use over time.
- Activity 2 [PDF, 5.8 Mb, viewer] - Students read an information bulletin, answer guiding questions related to the formation of watersheds, the hydrologic cycle, the impact of urban development on rivers and stormwater management, and design a community that accommodates human development while reducing potential impacts to a nearby stream.
- Activity 3 [PDF, 196.5 kb, viewer] - In groups, students research and report on the significance and formation of one watershed located in the GTA. Issues related to how urbanization and pollution impact the hydrologic cycle and the natural environment are investigated with the development of proposed solutions.
- Activity 4 [PDF, 262.2 kb, viewer] - Vocabulary is reinforced through the completion of a crossword puzzle.
Understanding your place in the geoscape
Discover the importance of the Geoscape and explore how it influences people's lives, including the use of land, water and resources in the GTA. Investigate how radar images from satellites can be used to interpret land-use and make the connection between the Geoscape and current events in the news.
- Lesson Plan [PDF, 1.1 Mb, viewer]: Understanding Your Place in the Geoscape
- Activity 1 [PDF, 2.8 Mb, viewer] - Students use an enhanced satellite image and digital elevation model to brainstorm ideas about the importance of the Geoscape by discussing how it influences people's lives.
- Activity 2 [PDF, 5.8 Mb, viewer] - Students use current newspapers to search for stories, advertisements and maps that relate to the Geoscape or in some way ties the news story to the land. Findings are submitted in a written report.
- Activity 3 [PDF, 196.5 kb, viewer] - Students visit the Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing Web site to explore the City of Toronto using images from RADARSAT and answer guiding questions related to the on-line tour.
Dig into the world of sumptuous soils. Develop and test a hypothesis about the components of soil. Find out about soil formation in the GTA, its agricultural potential and how soils are classified using the Canada Land Inventory. Decide how you feel about the impact of urban development on agricultural land.
- Lesson Plan [PDF, 1.0 Mb, viewer]: The Plains
- Activity 1 [PDF, 1.4 Mb, viewer] - This brainstorming activity acts as both an introductory and concluding exercise where students describe what they know, what they would like to know and what they have learned about soil.
- Activity 2 [PDF, 305.7 kb, viewer] - In small groups, students will apply the scientific method to answer the question "Is a soil sample a mixture of more than one component?" and write a report on their findings.
- Activity 3 [PDF, 2.2 Mb, viewer] - Students read an information bulletin and answer guiding questions about the Canada Land Inventory and the impact of urban development on soil in the GTA. Vocabulary is reinforced through a soil word jumble.
The Oak Ridges Moraine
Explore the Oak Ridges Moraine, a prominent sand and gravel ridge north of Lake Ontario formed by glacial ice and meltwater. Use an on-line animation of a digital elevation model to fly-over the region to see its topography. Assume the roles of potential interest groups affected by a fictional plan for urban expansion on the Oak Ridges Moraine and debate your group's perspective on the issue at a "Town Hall Meeting". Build a groundwater model to learn how water and contaminants interact with layers of gravel, sand, and clay.
- Lesson Plan [PDF, 1.2 Mb, viewer] : The Oak Ridges Moraine
- Activity 1 [PDF, 3.9 Mb, viewer] - This teacher-led discussion and self-guided internet activity provides an introduction to the formation, location and features of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Students visit the Geological Survey of Canada's Web site to explore the moraine using an animated digital elevation model.
- Activity 2 [PDF, 2.7 Mb, viewer] - In groups, students read an information bulletin and a fictional case study about a proposed urban development on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Students assume the roles of potential interest groups affected by the plan and debate their perspective on the issue at a "Town Hall Meeting".
- Activity 3 [PDF, 658.5 kb, viewer] - In groups, students follow instructions to build a groundwater model using a small aquarium, sand, gravel and clay. The impact of contaminants applied on the surface and in the aquifer will also be examined. Students answer questions related to their model and learn how their findings apply to the real world.