Write about a time when you persuaded someone to do something, or a situation in which you were persuaded to do something about which you felt hesitant. Describe the consequences and feelings that resulted.
A critical thinking challenge for students, ages 14-18
In the spring of 1864 a series of killings sent a chill across Canada. The blood of 14 men, spilled into the Homathco River before dawn on the morning of April 29th, 1864, was only the beginning of this conflict. By the end of May, 19 road-builders, packers, and a farmer were dead. Within six weeks an army of over 100 men had arrived in the area to catch the killers.
The killings took place in a remote triangle in central British Columbia that, at the time, was inaccessible by road or even horse trail. The dead men had all been part of the teams trying to build a road from the Pacific coast to the recently discovered goldfields of the Cariboo.
This area was traditional territory of the Tsilhqot’in people who had lived on the high Chilcotin Plateau for centuries, perhaps for thousands of years. The survivors of the attacks identified the principal leader of the more than 20 people involved in the killings as a Tsilhqot’in chief, who was called “Klatsassin” by his people.
Was this violent conflict an early attempt by First Nations in Canada to assert their legal right to their lands — to their nationhood? Did members of the Chilcotin First Nation kill 17 members of a British road-building crew moving through their territory in 1864 to protect the “national” sovereignty of the Chilcotin nation? Perhaps the motives were more cultural and less political: was it an attempt to protect the Chilcotin culture and way of life from outside forces? Or, as some historians have suggested, were the Chilcotin people lashing out against these non-Natives for reasons that had little to do with politics and cultural preservation?
In this MysteryQuest, you are asked to take on the role of an historian creating a public monument to commemorate the Chilcotin War of the 1860s. Your main task is to investigate to what extent this war was an attempt to protect a “nation” from invaders.
First, you will examine definitions of “nation” and learn about the two meanings of this term. Then, you will be introduced to the facts of the Chilcotin War. You will refer to an historical overview and maps to get a snapshot of the key events in the group’s history and insight into the relationship between the Chilcotin people and developers who were determined to access the rich resources of the British Columbia interior. You will then examine a number of primary documents from the period, looking for evidence of the Chilcotin motivations for this conflict. Your final task is to prepare a statement on the extent to which this was a war for nationhood. Your ideas will be used by an historical panel investigating the causes of the Chilcotin War to create a plaque commemorating the event.
View one of the following “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” episodes from CBC’s “The Passionate Eye” series.
- Watch Shipwrecked Family.
Debuting Wednesay October 5: On the final leg of an amazing two year sailing voyage, the Silverwood Family hit some stormy weather 180 miles west of Bora Bora in the South Pacific. It’s no big deal, until a broken mast pin and a submerged rocky reef suddenly turns their adventure into a potentially deadly one. As the mast snaps, it falls on dad John, severing his leg. It’s up to teenage son Ben, to become the man and help to save his family. He gets the family off the sinking boat, but as they spend a terrifying night on a reef in the middle of the ocean, will rescue get to them before Ben’s father dies of blood loss?
- Watch Crashed in the Jungle.
Debuting Wednesday October 12: Newlyweds Brandon and Brandy Wiley are on a backpacking adventure in Costa Rica, when their 8 – person Cessna crashes in dense tropical rainforest. The pilots and one passenger are killed on impact. Of the five remaining survivors two are seriously injured, including American Michael Packard. With the plane’s emergency beacon malfunctioning and the crash site obscured by thick cloud, the chances of rescue appear remote. When darkness falls, the group face poisonous spiders, swarming ants and jungle predators. By morning and with Michael’s condition worsening by the hour Brandon and Brandy face a terrible dilemma – do they go in search of help or stay with the two injured men? It’s a decision that could ultimately cost lives.
- Watch River of Fear.
Debuting Wednesday October 19: Running through the majestic splendour of the Grand Canyon the Colorado River offers construction contractor David Whittlesey with just the kind of challenge he craves. He embarks on a 3 week, 280 mile white-water rafting expedition, opting to tackle some of America’s most gruelling rapids on his own. Just days away from completing his journey David’s raft capsizes, gets stuck and he loses all of his life-saving supplies. As he attempts to scale a cliff face, which is his only way out, he falls and injuries himself. He is trapped, alone and knows that hypothermia could kill him before anyone even knows where he is or that his life is in danger.
- Watch Alone in the Amazon.
Debuting Wednesday October 26: Fresh-faced twenty two year old Brit Benedict Allen embarks on an epic six-month expedition which will take him from the mouth of the Orinoco River to the Mouth of the Amazon River through six hundred miles of uncharted jungle. On the final leg of his journey Benedict meets two gold miners who steal his guides then threaten to kill him. Fearing for his life Benedict is forced to tackle the wilds of the Amazon with only his faithful dog, Cashoe, for company. His inexperience nearly costs him dear when he capsizes his canoe, losing virtually all his provisions. Embarking on the 100 miles journey through dense rainforest to safety Benedict is struck down by near starvation, Malaria and a severe case of ‘jungle madness’. Will he ever find civilization?
- Watch Edge of Death
Debuting Wednesday November 2: Charlie Hench has set himself a big challenge before he turns the big 50 – to fulfil his dream of a late-summer solo hike through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. But he underestimates the challenge ahead. Charlie is at 9,000 feet when an early snowstorm suddenly blows in. The amateur hiker is soon out of his depth, lost in the snow-covered landscape. A missed step on the treacherous boulders and he’s crashes over the side of the mountain. Only a ledge, the size of a car bonnet, saves him from falling 500 feet to his death. Charlie is trapped and badly injured, with a shattered wrist and fractured spine. He’s alone and there’s no way up or down. He knows no-one will even know he’s missing for days, but will he survive trapped on the exposed on the side of a cliff?
- Watch Crashed in the Rockies
Debuting Wednesday November 9: Trainee pilot Justin Kirkbride takes two friends, Tommy and Larry, on a sightseeing tour of the Rocky Mountains, but crashes on a steep, snowy mountainside. Larry breaks his leg, while best friend Tommy is knocked unconscious. Only Justin escapes unscathed. He decides to hike 45 miles down the treacherous mountainside in search of help. As darkness falls he picks up a cell signal and manages to summon a rescue helicopter. He joins the rescue pilots in the search for his two missing friends, but their crash site is hidden by thick pine forest. The search is about to be called off when disaster strikes again – the rescue helicopter clips a tree and smashes into the mountainside. Can Kirkbride escape with his life for the second time in 24 hours? And will his passengers now succumb to their injuries during the freezing night?
Write 2 posts(one Critical Essay, one Creative Narrative) in which you discuss some of these focus questions dealing with survival.
What challenges to survival does the environment present?
- What hardships and challenges do humans experience with respect to the environment?
- What must humans do to survive with respect to the environment? Who and what will survive? Is population survival more important than individual survival? Why or why not?
- What are the most important survival qualities in our society? What images do we associate with the idea of wilderness survival?
Write a futuristic story in which you present your vision of life twenty years from now.
Read an interview with Derrick de Kerckhove, author of The Augmented Mind.
How will people in the future be “always on” or “plugged in”? What will “cloud computing” look like in twenty years? What “next big thing” will replace Facebook?
How many “degrees of separation” will exist between you and your friends, your family, your children, your spouse?
How will people use their imagination twenty years from now? Will they still have one?
Kerckhove says we exist in “the era of the tag” and “tagging … is the soul of the Internet.” What remains to be tagged in the next twenty years? What will the Internet be like in twenty years?
As of 2011 more than 2.2 billion people—nearly a third of Earth’s Human population—used the services of the Internet.
… the average UK employee spent 57 minutes a day surfing the Web while at work, according to a 2003 study
Will one of the oldest forum threads on the Internet still exist in twenty years? “I am lonely will anyone speak to me”?
We’re all drawn to certain places. If you had the power to get somewhere — anywhere — where would you go right now? For your twist, focus on building a setting description.
If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?
A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.
— Joan Didion
Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?
Consider especially details from class discussions, notes, essays or any other ideas to help you out.
Tip: consider a 5-paragraph essay as an organizational structure for your review. Perhaps one third focusing on literal elements, one third on figurative elements, and the final third thematic elements.
Think of a situation in which you might have to choose between a loyal friend and a cause in which you sincerely believe. Discuss what you think your eventual choice would be. What consequences would you fear? Has anyone ever persuaded you to do something you later regretted? How did he or she convince you at the time?
- Give some examples of common topics in science fiction novels and films.
- What have you read about experiments involving increased intelligence? Do you believe that we will one day be able to achieve this goal?
Read “Barney” by Will Stanton.
Question for Discussion:
- Do you think scientists should be free to perform experiments in secret?
- With a partner, review the events of the story as you understand them.
- Name some famous novels and movies in which science experiments go wrong.
- How did you respond to the surprise ending? What has happened? What was the foreshadow of the plot twist?
- Find three examples of irony in the last two paragraphs of the story?
- On what grounds is Tayloe fired? How did the protagonist rationalize his dismissal?
- What familiar conventions (patterns or rules) of the science fiction story and the fantasy story are found in “Barney”?
- Write two more diary entries for Barney.
- Assume that Barney is recruiting female rats. Make a home page for him.
- In a paragraph, review the events of the story as you understand them.
- What are some of the crises in the story? What would you consider to be the climax, or main turning point?
- Why is the story written in journal form? Would the story have worked any other way?
- Write the investigating police detective’s report on what happened on the island. Support with evidence.
- Make a collage of the story to illustrate the various scenes, episodes, and characters.
Write an essay based on an extended analogy between a house and our planet Earth.
First brainstorm or freewrite, because analogies demand free use of our imagination. Next write a rapid and free “discovery draft.” Let it sit at least one day, then develop your concept through at least one more draft, adding the kinds of vivid images needed to spark the reader’s imagination.
The Courage of Conviction
Conduct Your Own Oral History Project
An oral history project preserves part of a person’s life history—as viewed through that person’s eyes, experiences, and memories. In general, oral history projects add to the knowledge we share about our lives and also add details to our understanding of the past. History is not simply a series of isolated events that you read about in text books. History is truly made up of the life experiences of individuals just like you.
To gather oral history, it is important to conduct a good interview and to take good notes.
Get Started: This activity can be done with a friend or two—while one person interviews by asking questions the others can take written notes or record what is said on tape. Successful oral history inter- views will cause the person being interviewed to start telling colorful stories—just like those captured on film and in the book form of Glory Road.
You, too, can capture the story of a person who has acted on his or her beliefs or convictions.
Think about someone you know who has done something wonderful, overcome a hardship, or committed an act of courage.
Make an appointment to talk with this person and to interview them. Tell the person you will need about an hour of their time. Be sure to bring a note pad. A tape recorder would also be help- ful, if you have one. You may also wish to bring a camera to take a picture of the person you are interviewing. And, bring a friend or two to help if possible.
Before you go, make a list of questions that you would like to ask. 10-12 questions are about the right number. Here are a few oral history questions you might use:
- What is your full name? Did you have a nickname when you were growing up?
- Where were you born and when?
- What would you consider to be the most important inventions that have been made during your lifetime?
- How is the world now different from what it was like when you were a child?
- Do you remember your friends and/or family discussing world events and politics? What did you talk about?
- Who was the person that had the most positive influence on your life? What did this person do?
- Is there a person that really changed the course of your life by something that he or she did? Who was it and why?
- Do you remember someone saying something to you that had a big impact on how you lived your life? What was it?
- What were the hardest choices that you ever had to make? Do you feel like you made the right choices? What would you do differently?
- Have you done something that you feel especially proud of? Please describe it.
- As you see it, what are the biggest problems that face our nation today and how do you think they could be solved?
- Describe a time and place when you remember feeling truly at peace and happy to be alive. Where were you? What were you doing?
Be sure to thank the person you have interviewed and let them know that you will share what you write. Remember to ask permission to share their story with others. You could even write them a thank you note!
Now, write or record the stories you heard during the interview in a way that will be of interest to other young people.
If granted permission by the person you interviewed, be sure to share your oral history with others—adults, your peers, younger children or your local paper!
The American author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who left town life for his cabin by Walden Pond, wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail. … Simplify, simplify.”
In your opinion, has technology simplified or complicated our lives? Defend you answer with personal examples.
Pretend you are a member of a Parliamentary Committee that has been assigned the task of investigating the effects of cell phones on the lives of Canadians. Make a list of the various fictional people you would call as witnesses to your commission. Work out what each expert would say. Write a script or narrative account of the witnesses report to the commission.