CBC: The Great Human Odyssey – Lesson Plans by Tammy Gaudun

The Great Human Odyssey


Lesson Plans


The Great Human Odyssey explores the unlikely survival and the miraculous emergence of Homo sapiens as the world’s only global species. Ancient climate research has revealed that we evolved during the most volatile era since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Just like the many other kinds of human who once shared our world, we should have died away. Instead, our species survived to populate every corner of the planet, against all the odds.

The series is an excellent introduction the the Grade 8 Geography curriculum.  It provides a historical context for many issues addressed in the the Ontario Curriculum, such as:

  1. The ways in which the physical environment and climate change have influenced our earliest ancestors and their settlement patterns.
  2. A look at sustainable communities and the relationship between our ancestors and the environment.
  3. The series raises questions about the quality of life of our ancestors, allowing students to compare and contrast to other communities and times in the world.

Because the documentary series is a reflection of the lives of our ancestors, it is important for students to be able to compare and contrast some of these practices to modern  times, and apply this knowledge to help make predictions about the future of the human species.

This Guide for Educators contains several components. For the three episodes, there are content overviews, viewing questions, and critical thinking questions, a computer-based assignment, which involves three community case studies for the first two episodes.

  1. The Viewing Questions are meant to be answered by students while watching each episode, or in discussion after watching the episode.
  2. The Critical Thinking Challenges are meant to be “big picture” questions that can be posed to students at any point during instruction.
  3. Each episode also contains a Web Component, where students use technology to find maps and to examine one of the three Case Studies, using the interactive World of Extremes website. After watching the series, students are able to participate in a virtual reality experiment, walking in the shoes of Kalahari Bushmen, Chukchi reindeer herders or Badjao free-divers, through the interactive web documentary.

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Canadian Geographic – Classroom Contests

The beginning of the school year also means the beginning of Can Geo Education’s contests. This year, get your class excited about geography by signing up for one (or all) of our free contests!

Canadian Geographic Challenge
The Canadian Geographic Challenge is Canada’s national geography bee. It’s a great way to highlight how fun and diverse geography is. Sign up any grade 4-10 class this fall.

Classroom Energy Diet Challenge
Teach your students about energy using this fun and engaging program. Available to all K-12 classrooms.

Canada’s Coolest School Trip
This year, one lucky grade 8/secondaire 2 class will embark on an all-expenses-paid trip to number of Parks Canada places.

Visit contest.myparkspass.ca to find out where the lucky winners will be heading and register in September.

Grade 8 Geography: Disappearing Forests: Google Map changes since 2000


Using Landsat imagery and cloud computing, researchers mapped forest cover worldwide as well as forest loss and gain. Over 12 years, 888,000 square miles of forest were lost, and 309,000 square miles regrew.

Global view of problems … and fixes
Applications for the new global forest map range from calculating how much carbon is stored in the world’s forests to identifying what countries are logging trees most ravenously. “Whether you are a tree hugger or a logger, this map could be useful to you,” Hansen noted.

The map does bring a new level of transparency to forestry accounting, he added. It opens up for the world to see the impact of Brazil’s conservation policy, for instance, where the rate of forest loss was halved to 8,000 square miles a year over the course of the decade.

The map also shows that Brazil’s deforestation reduction is more than offset by increased forest loss in places such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay and Bolivia. Overall, the forest loss in the tropics is increasing by 811 square miles a year, according to Hansen and colleagues, who discuss the map in a paper published today in the journal Science.

Grade 8 Geography: World Population Pyramids & World Violence


Answer these questions on this Word document: World Population Pyramids

Click on several countries of the world and notice the different shapes of population pyramids. For example, check out Azerbaijan. Quickly scan the recent history of the country to see a possible explanation for it’s shape.

Currently, Zimbabwe has the largest youth bulge in the world.  As of 2012, the largest youth bulge is found in Zimbabwe, which has a population structure with 56.57% between the ages of 15 and 29. Briefly skim the article: Human rights in Zimbabwe.  Summarize in one or two sentences that might explain Zimbabwe’s youth bulge.


On the World Violence map, answer the following questions:

  1. True or False: the USA is more violent than Haiti?
  2. True or false: Egypt is more violent than Canada?
  3. Where does Canada rank, in terms of suicide?
  4. In gener1al, suicide is more prevalent in the  _______________ hemisphere.

Life Expectancy:

  1. Longest living country in the world is?
  2. Canada’s longevity ranking is?
  3. What is Haiti’s average life expectancy?
  4. Which country has an average life expectancy of 66.2?

Causes of Death:

  1. What are the top three causes of death for Canadians?
    1. Where is suicide on the list?
  2. What is the #2 cause of death in Guatemala?
  3. What do you notice about Haiti‘s life expectancy?
    1. What is the number one killer of Haitians?
    2. What is surprising about #4 and #6 on the list?

Inquiry-based Grade 8 Geography Unit – By Karisa Sharpe

gril2The following document was written by Karisa Sharpe / PDSB

Geography Unit Overview

Grade 8 Geography

Geography Unit Overview – K Sharpe.pdf

Geographical Thinking

  • Spatial Significance
  • Patterns and Trends
  • Interrelationships
  • Geographic Perspective

Geographic Inquiry

  • STEP 1 – Formulate Questions
  • STEP 2 – Gather and Organize
  • STEP 3 – Interpret and Analyze
  • STEP 4 – Evaluate and Draw Conclusions
  • STEP 5 – Communicate

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