Grade 6

Junior Story – Following John Rae

Based on the story of an explorer named John Rae (Orkney’s greatest unsung heroes) the story arc focuses on exploration & mapping of Canada’s northern communities (broadening the Junior Grades community awareness). The package explores Social Studies as it is related to Science & Technology. John Rae grew up in Scotland near a port where the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) ships picked up fresh water, supplies and crew before making long voyages to North America. He watched his two older brothers join the HBC and travel across the ocean, and he knew he wanted to do the same. Shortly after getting a medical degree, he joined the HBC and sailed to Canada, his new home. For over ten years, Rae worked as a doctor for HBC in Moose Factory, Ontario, and treated both European and Indigenous employees of the company. He was eager to learn from Indigenous peoples how to live off of the land, and became well known for his survival and snowshoeing skills.


6.01 – There is No Place Like the Canadian Arctic

This is a lesson where students are required to gather data by researching the animals that live in the arctic.

6.02 – Leave No Trace

This lesson has tie-ins throughout the story. Students can infer where in the story waste may have been left behind by John Rae and his team. The Indigenous peoples believed in using all materials and leaving no trace of their presence.

6.03 – Have You Met My Cousin?

This lesson is used in “The Third Voyage: 1850 to 1853” section of the junior story. In this passage, Rae shares in his journal how dogs are used to help him and his team travel from Great Bear Lake to Wollaston Land. It is important to note that their distant cousin, the arctic fox, do inhabit areas of the arctic and how their influence has shaped local ecosystem.

6.04 – Ents in the Arctic?

This lesson is used in “An Introduction to John Rae” section of the junior story. Biodiversity includes diversity of individuals, species, and ecosystems. Classification of the components within a diverse system is a beginning point for understanding the interrelationships among the components

6.05 – Arctic Life in a Deck of Cards

The objective of this task is to have your class summarize what they have learned about living in the arctic. This is an open-ended task where students are asked to create a series of cards providing advice when living in the arctic in a sustainable way. Each card must include a point about respecting the biodiversity of their environment.

6.06 – The Secret Lives of Plants in the Arctic

The arctic is an interesting place for a plant to live. They have short growing seasons, shallow soil, and a layer of permafrost that keeps things icy cold. How do plants in the arctic live in this harsh environment?

6.07 – The Circle of Life

This is an interactive lesson where students are required to connect how biotic and abiotic factors rely on each other to form a healthy ecosystem in the arctic.

6.08 – Invasion Crustacean

This lesson is a ‘thinker’ task where students are required to consider what would happen to the waters of the arctic as climate change continues to affect ecosystems around the planet.

6.09 – Biodiversity in a Shoebox

The objective of this task to have your class summarize what they have learned about living in the arctic. This is an open-ended task where students are asked to create a shoebox diorama.