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Teacher Information

Time Required
Minimum:  5 periods to conduct the inquiry; 1 period to prepare for the Town Hall; a day for the Town Hall; 1 period for follow-up work to the Town Hall;

Curriculum Links Grade 9 Geography, Grade 10 Science, Grade 11 Resource Management, Grade 12 World Issues and others

Geography (CGC1D)
-Strand A: Throughout the course, students will apply the geographic inquiry process, the concepts of geographical thinking, and related skills and spatial technologies in a variety of contexts, from local to global. In so doing, they will develop their ability to think critically, solve problems, and work collaboratively with their fellow citizens to make their community and Canada a more sustainable place in which to live.
Overall Expectations:
A1. Geographic Inquiry: use the geographic inquiry process and the concepts of geographic
thinking when investigating issues relating to Canadian geography
B2. Interrelationships between Physical Systems, Processes, and Events:  analyse characteristics of various physical processes, phenomena, and events affecting Canada and their interrelationship with global physical systemsC1. The Sustainability of Resources: analyse impacts of resource policy, resource management,  and consumer choices on resource sustainability in Canada
E1. The Sustainability of Human Systems: analyse issues relating to the sustainability of human systems in Canada

Teaching Process  

Our approach to outlining a Teaching Process is to be comprehensive — providing detailed instructions that you can draw on as you need in facilitating student inquiries and their work in this project.
At some point, explain the project to the students and how it culminates in their presenting their report to the Premier:

The 4 to 5 classes in each community — 4 to 6 — conduct an inquiry into climate change in their community: the imp
acts and the mitigation and adaptation measures required to address these impacts. There are 5 communities with a total of 27 classes.


The “spark” is the key to igniting student curiosity and drawing student into thinking critically about a topic or an issue. The “spark” peaks the student’s interest in a particular topic or question and becomes the starting point for student investigation into something that engages them.  As the key facilitator of the inquiry, the teacher will provide an enticing spark to help ignite student curiosity.  This could be anything from a scenario or case study to a video, editorial cartoon or a story from the media that helps them see the many possible avenues of investigation within the topic.

One spark is found in the Student Instructions above: the Challenge and the opportunity for students to speak with the Premier, presenting their ideas for moving to a low-carbon Ontario to her.

The following spark helps students connect this topic to their lives: Imagine Christmas, Eid, Thanksgiving or Passover, etc. with no electrical power in your apartment, condo or house.

What have you Noticed, Observed, Wondered about: Discuss as a class the changes in weather/climate that you have noticed (nights in the summer seem to be hotter, the skiing season is shorter, the weather seems more extreme, water levels at a friend’s cottage are lower…).

Other Sparks:

After the initial spark and discussion, students brainstorm how climate change is and might affect communities in general and your community (municipality) in particular; consider:

Supporting students in this phase of inquiry:


A rich variety of "local" and other resources are provided that will enable your students to conduct their Inquiries (in a separate document). This document is designed for students and will be much more helpful than the “Google gives me everything I need.” habit.

Supporting students in this phase of inquiry:


Supporting students in this phase of inquiry:

The key support from the teacher in this section is facilitation, helping the students dig deeper in their analysis, helping them see where the data takes them and helping them to prepare to report on and communicate their findings. Ensure that they are open to the possibility or rethinking their inquiry or their inquiry question as a result of what they find.


Communication and Action are key components in the authentic Spiral Inquiry Method.

Students can use the Commit2Act App to select and track actions to reduce their personal carbon footprint. Some of the actions listed indicate the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; students can use these data to estimate the reductions if all of their family took certain actions, all of their class, and all of the school — and experience how small actions add up.

Students can brainstorm and analyze their own action ideas.

This inquiry provides a rich communication opportunity for students to design and deliver presentations on their work to the school administration, school board trustees and the local municipality (experience show these bodies are often hungry for meaningful student engagement and there are many examples of students affecting real change through these fora).

Students can use blogs, tweets, charts, videos, PSAs, memes, artwork, presentations to meetings and written reports.