CODE/MOE/UOIT Makerspaces Project

Lesson Plan:  Grade 4 Social Studies:  

Canada’s Political Regions String Art Activity


A region shares a similar set of characteristics.

Social Studies Specific Curriculum Expectations:

B2.3 analyse and construct print and/or digital maps, including thematic maps

Analysing and constructing thematic maps (e.g., maps using shading or symbols to represent regions or land use) for specific purposes (see, e.g., B2.3)

B3.4 identify various types of political regions in Canada

B3.5 identify Canada’s provinces and territories and their capital cities, and describe them with reference to their location and some of the peoples who live in them

Learning Goals:

“We are learning to…”

Identify Canada’s political regions and create an outline map of that region using string art.

Success Criteria:  

“We will be successful when…”

I can recognize the outline of a variety of provinces on a map.

Lesson Overview:

Students will select a Canadian province or territory and consult various sources to find out what this region’s political boundaries looks like. They will create a paper sketch/outline of this map and transcribe onto a piece of wood on which they will create a string art example.

Materials and Technology:  

Atlases, online atlases, maps


Wood (12” by 12”)

1 1/2 “ finishing nails (lots)


Nail holders (to prevent sore fingers for those who wish to use them, bobby pins may work to)

String, wool, yarn of various colours

Paint (if wanted to paint wood prior to outlining political boundaries)

Smartboard or projector and screen

Various images of world landmarks, country and provincial outlines

Student Accommodations/Modifications

  • Pre - prepared provincial outlines
  • Laptop/IPAD google docs
  • Rubber bands instead of string

Lesson will be differentiated by:

  • Content, specifically: Selection of province
  • Process, specifically:
  • Product, specifically: Google Doc instead of paper work, rubber bands instead of string
  • Environment, specifically:  Maker space or class

MINDS ON:  Getting Started

During this phase, the teacher may:

• activate students’ prior knowledge;

• engage students by posing thought-provoking questions;

• gather diagnostic and/or formative assessment data through observation and questioning;

• discuss and clarify the task(s).

During this phase, students may:

• participate in discussions;

• propose strategies;

• question the teacher and their classmates;

• make connections to and reflect on prior learning.

Describe how you will introduce the learning activity to your students. What key questions will you ask? How will you gather diagnostic or formative data about the students’ current levels of understanding? How will students be grouped? How will materials be distributed?

Show students pictures of various famous world and Canadian landmarks.  Ask students if they know where these places are.

Show students outlines of various countries of the world, ask students if they know what countries they represent.

Ask students to think, pair and share the various different provinces and territories of Canada.

  • Students should consider trips they may have made or what they have seen on TV etc.

As an exit/entry card show students outlines of various Canadian provinces and ask them to identify them on paper or on a google doc.

Describe task to students – pick a province or territory, research the shape of its political boundaries, create a stencil of this and use this to produce a piece of string art in the shape of a Canadian province or territory.

Brainstorm with class and create an anchor chart of the process and the materials that may be used.

ACTION:  Working on it

During this phase, the teacher may:

• ask probing questions;

• clarify misconceptions, as needed, by redirecting students through questioning;

• answer students’ questions (but avoid providing a solution to the problem);

• observe and assess;

• encourage students to represent their thinking concretely and/or pictorially;

• encourage students to clarify ideas and to pose questions to other students.

During this phase, students may:

• represent their thinking (using numbers, pictures, words, manipulatives, actions, etc.);

• participate actively in whole group, small group, or independent settings;

• explain their thinking to the teacher and their classmates;

• explore and develop strategies and concepts.

Describe the task(s) in which your students will be engaged. What misconceptions or difficulties do you think they might experience? How will they demonstrate their understanding of the concept? How will you gather your assessment data (e.g., checklist, anecdotal records)? What extension activities will you provide?

Students will have 1 class to create a stencil (on paper from hand, printing from a computer) of a Canadian province or territory. Students may also want to sand/paint their wood before tracing their stencil on the wood.

  • Students also to trace their stencil onto their wood.

Students will need 1 or 2 classes to drive in a number of nails around the outside of their stencil (keep nails about 2cm apart but always at corners)

Students wrap and tie string around the outline of their region and then in a pattern of their choice to ‘fill in’ the remainder.

  • Students may use rubber bands instead of string as they wind it around nails. This is definitely appropriate for students with reduced fine motor skills.

Student work should be displayed and teacher should quiz students regularly during class to see if other students can identify outline of region.

Students will clearly print or otherwise label their completed string art project with the name of their region.

CONSOLIDATION:  Reflecting and Connecting

During this phase, the teacher may:

• bring students back together to share and analyse strategies;

• encourage students to explain a variety of learning strategies;

• ask students to defend their procedures and justify their answers;

• clarify misunderstandings;

• relate strategies and solutions to similar types of problems in order to help students generalize concepts;

• summarize the discussion and emphasize key points or concepts.

During this phase, students may:

• share their findings;

• use a variety of concrete, pictorial, and numerical representations to demonstrate their understandings;

• justify and explain their thinking;

• reflect on their learning.

How will you select the individual students or groups of students who are to share their work with the class (i.e., to demonstrate a variety of strategies, to show different types of representations, to illustrate a key concept)? What key questions will you ask during the debriefing?

Ask students which regions would be the easiest/difficult to remember. Which region’s shapes resemble or make them think of other things? Post these ideas on anchor charts under students work that has been displayed around the room.

Have students complete an exit card questionnaire on the political outlines of various regions as a means of assessment.

Northeastern Elementary School—Rainbow District School Board                                                                 Adapted from