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DISCOVER CANADA 2: TRANSPORTATION & COMMUNICATION: AN ACTIVITY APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF CANADA AND HER PEOPLE BASED ON THE CANADIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA.

Sidorchuk, Ruth and Brenda E. Willoughby.

Cambridge (Ont.), Encyclopedia Britannica Publications, 1986. 38pp, looseleaf. $12.95. Distributed by Britannica Learning Materials, P.O. Box 2249, Cambridge, Ont., N3C 3N4. No ISBN or CIP.

Grades 7 and up
Reviewed by Robin Lewis

Volume 15 Number 5
1987 November


This learning package consists of a series of activity sheets, decoratively presented in bold italic script. Part 1 of this set gave students some experience in using an encyclopedia alphabetizing, using subheadings, etc. These skills would be useful to a student attempting to use this second set.

Some difficulties, none insurmountable, are presented by this attractive material. Few schools have more than two or three sets of the $200+ The Canadian Encyclopedia, so work must be individualized. Some questions are very difficult: "Briefly describe the life and work of Marshall McLuhan." Only four lines are given for the answer! The information is quickly found in the encyclopedia, and is suitably brief McLuhan "... thought of himself as a grammarian studying the linguistic and perceptual biasses of mass media." but further elaboration will obviously be needed for this level of question.

In some cases answers are less complex, but more difficult to find. To describe a voyage across the ocean in a sailing ship (p.14) is just not possible using the suggested article on sailing ships, although further research is easy.

The overall balance of the unit is questionable; it contains about ten pages on railways, ten on shipping, one on roads, and one on air travel. A similar imbalance is found in the unit on communication. For all its imperfections, I prefer the unit on transportation and communication in my Quebec text, Giroux and Joyal, Geography of Quebec and Canada.

Before being too critical however, we must realize that Discover Canada has a dual purpose. It teaches a little about transportation and communication at the same time as it gives children practice in using The Canadian Encyclopedia.

For my own use I would select only the more interesting sheets which suited my objectives and matched the level of my students. This, after all, is the beauty of the loose-leaf format. I would also take a few of the excellent ideas and use them to create other activity sheets, based on my own encyclopedia or texts.

If you are prepared to do this, and do not want a complete, self-contained, rigorously-designed unit on transportation and communication, you will find that this dual purpose, legally-reproducible package is well worth its price.


Robin Lewis, Riverdale High School, Pierre-fonds, Que.
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