Galloping the Globe: Northern Canada (and The Very Last First Time – FIAR)

Our children really enjoyed our study of Northern Canada and we combined our cultural study with our Five in a Row study of “The Very Last First Time”, by Jan Andrews, is a story about a young Inuit girl who lives in Ungava Bay, Quebec.  She journeys out for the first time to collect mussels on the sea bed.  It’s amazing because traditionally Inuit people in Ungava Bay actually wait for the tide to go out and dig through the ice, revealing a cavern below.  They enter the cavern under the ice and find a bounty of Mussels.  It was so interesting to learn about this tradition!

Some of the other titles we used for this study.

Some of the topics we covered include:

-Inuit life: clothing, homes, language, music, art, crafts, hunting, eating
-Tides and freezing in the ocean
-The Canadian provinces (listing them and identifying where they are located)
-Arctic legends and Inuit tales
-Animals of the Arctic


Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights)

We read several books about the Northern Lights and discussed what causes them.  We enjoyed this water color art project painting Aurora Borealis on small pieces of card stock.

Starting with a black marker for the horizon, then adding colors of water color and blending in various patterns to match the Northern Lights we see in the photos found on Google.

Ordinal Numbers

We played with ordinal numbers using our Playmobil horses and card-stock labels.


 Fun with Igloos

We made these igloos using marshmallows and containers.  The one on the left is a plastic olive container cut in half. The right is a Styrofoam cup with a door cut out.


Pointillist Art

The illustrations in Very Last First Time are done in a somewhat Pointillist media.  We found a great art project in 365 Things to Draw and Paint (Usborne) and enjoyed an activity using black paper, paint and Q-tips. 

Good Titles

What makes a good title?  Very Last First Time is a very interesting title.  I asked the kids if they liked it, loved it, or hated it.  (We often use those words for discussing music and art).  I’ll simply point to a famous work of art and say, “Like it?  Love it?  Hate it?”  And the children and prompted to discuss.

For this activity, I put several of our favorite/Five in a Row books on the kitchen table.  I then gave each child a pile of colored numbers.  Each child numbered their favorites from 1-5, 1 being their absolutely favorite and 5 being the least favorite.  We did this activity a few times, and discussed why they liked or disliked certain titles.

Vocabulary and Drama

We used these words as a vocabulary builder and acted out the words found in the book.

 Salt Water Experiment

We discussed salt water and asked the question, “Can we remove salt from salt water?”  The kids each made a hypothesis.  Two said yes, one said no.  We filled three mason jars with hot water and mixed in a heaping Tablespoon of Sea Salt.

After about a week – there was a lot of salt residue left on the jars, but the water was nearly gone.  So yes, through evaporation, we can remove salt from salt water!


All About Inuksuks

We really enjoyed learning about different Inuksuks.  The book, Make Your Own Inuksuk, was a great resource.  We decided to take a winter walk to the stream and look for great rocks to make our own Inuksuk.

After some collecting, our Inuksuk on the old familiar path… love it!

Back home again, we used tiny rocks and pebbles to create little Inuksuks with Sticky Tack.  This is a great alternative if you’d prefer not to build a large model.

Pancake Dinner

What’s better than a good Canadian treat like Pancakes and Maple Syrup?  We had fun making and enjoying pancakes and sausages together.

Thanks for joining us! 


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