Hearing a giant map about Canadian energy was coming to a local school piqued our interest.
And learning it was due to a partnership between the Royal Canadian Geographic Society’s education arm and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers really grabbed our attention.
Forgive our skeptical nature, but the idea impressionable young minds might be subject to the agenda of petroleum producers under the guise of learning was concerning.
But the teaching resource was presented to students at Sa-hali secondary in a neutral fashion and proved to be a great learning opportunity about much more than energy production.
Sure, the giant map of Canada that covered an eight-metre by 11-metre space in the school library showed where various types of renewable and non-renewable energy are produced and a maze of different coloured lines represented distribution of the various types of energy.
It showed that energy can be produced by hydro-electric dams, coal, nuclear, natural gas, oil, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. But it didn’t touch on energy consumption, nor was it discussed which is the “best” type of energy.
Neither was the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers mentioned and it’s doubtful the kids observed the association’s name on the far corner of the map.
What they did notice is just how huge our country is because they got to walk all over the map. In the first few minutes of wandering on it, a student in one class immediately ran to the Maritimes and said he was going to “do what Terry Fox did and run across Canada.”
They were asked to locate Kamloops, how many oceans surrounded Canada, how many provinces, territories and great lakes are in the country and then to choose a provincial or territorial flag and place it on the correct capital city.
No surprise they didn’t all know the flags, but it was shocking a Grade 9 student didn’t know where Alberta was. In an era of Google maps and GPS navigation systems in cars, perhaps that shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it’s something that he’ll never forget again.
So while energy was the focus of the map, it was only part of the learning opportunity presented, something that will likely be better remembered than material from a book or a teacher talking to a class.
Three other partnerships have also produced maps — The War of 1812 map is due to a link with the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Boreal Forest map is due to the support of the
Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Secretariat and there is a Parks Canada: Places and Spaces for Everyone map.
So while any such alliances deserve scrutiny, this one gets a gold star of approval.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.