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Design A Fur Trading Post | Project Based Learning | Paper

Design A Fur Trading Post | Project Based Learning | Paper

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Keep your students engaged in learning about life in Early Canada through this Canadian Fur Trade project based learning activity. Students are hired by archeologists to scout out a location of a fictional fort from the past.

Students present a map of the location of the fort, a visual representation of what the fort looked like and a written report outlining life in the fort, including the weather, defence, trade, natural resources, local Indigenous People, and how furs were transported back to Europe.

This product-based learning task includes:

  • a complete lesson plan for teachers explaining how to do the project with students.
  • modifications for differentiation.
  • student planning pages.
  • tips for project-based learning.
  • three different student checklists: so you can choose the best one for your students.
  • assessment rubric.
  • student examples of the map, fort (visual representation) and written portions.
  • teacher background information by category for easy reference.
  • student reflection page.
  • suggested web links to use for reference.

Students need to have a basic understanding of the fur trade and basic geographic knowledge of Canada in order to be successful, but this can be learned as students work on this project.

This is a very open-ended and flexible task, with a clear rubric outlining the content which is expected to be addressed. Students are kept engaged in their learning for 2-3 weeks of social studies classes. We've done this project for as long as a month.

This activity has been tested with dozens of different groups of grade five students and is a HUGE hit. Students have designed forts that included diagrams, building blocks, video games, cardboard, and even one made of sticks and mud.

Ninja Note: This project can be done with paper and pencil. Students do not need to build dioramas or elaborate forts to be successful.

If you teach in Alberta, be aware this resource was written for the old Social Studies Program of Studies. It has not been reviewed or adjusted for the new Alberta social studies curriculum which is being piloted in the 2024-25 school year. To learn about how we plan to address the changes, visit our site

This task aligns with:

  • Alberta Program of Studies for Grade 5 Social Studies: Early Canada.

This task supports:

  • Canadian social studies lessons.
  • learning about the fur trade.

Ninja Note: This file is a PDF and requires printing for students to use the student pages. Printing the entire file is not required.

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