Protecting the Nation?

http://www.canadianmysteries.ca

A critical thinking challenge for students, ages 14-18

Introduction

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?

The Task

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.

continue investigation …

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New

With all due respect to old, borrowed, and blue things, today’s prompt is all about the refreshingly, excitingly new.

Ready to roll? All you need to do is…

  • Write a new post on your iBlog in response to the prompt.

Need more ideas? Not sure what to write around New? We’re here to help:

  • Tell us about a new skill, hobby, or activity you’ve become interested in recently.
  • Who’s your newest friend? Share the story of how you connected.
  • Spring is here (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway) — what do you most look forward to in this season of new beginnings?
  • Is your blog or website new (loosely defined)? Tell us why you decided to launch it.
  • Publish a post in a genre, format, or media that’s totally new to you. For example: poets, share a photo (or several); photographers, write some flash fiction; travel bloggers, post a book review. (And so on and so forth.)
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Hunches

A hunch is a feeling or impression that something is about to happen. Authors sometimes use a character’s hunches to create suspense or to tie together a group of events. For example, in “Stains,” the mother has been afraid for her son “for a long time. She realized that when the doorbell rang at 4 a.m.”

Write a story about a character’s hunches. Try to use this hunch not only to create suspense, but to help explain the action that comes at the end of the story.

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Tropes in Film

Investigate tropes.  What is a trope?

  1. View a film and review it with the aim of pointing out several tropes.
    • note the broad categories tropes fall into, identify several examples from at least 3 categories.
  2. Write a short story(that one day could be turned into a feature film) based on an idea generated by tvtropes.org Story Idea Generator.
    • Incorporate at least one common trope from the film into your story. There is no need for your story to parallel the film in any other way.
    • Focus/comment somewhere in your story on the theme of global warming.
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National News

Spend a week carefully observing news stories covered by the televised CBC news The National (10 or 11 p.m.) and the print daily newspaper The National Post.

Which stories were covered on TV, which significant stories were only in the newspaper? Which medium provided the deepest and most thorough coverage of particular events?

Write a post about your comparison and conclusions.

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Group of Seven

Write an essay on one of the Group of Seven.

Find out what influenced the artist, and the effect his/her work has had on others. Include an assessment of one piece of his/her art.

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Religious Conflict and the Search for Historical Explanations

http://www.canadianmysteries.ca

A critical thinking challenge for students, ages 16-18

Introduction

Early in the morning of February 4, 1880, five members of an Irish immigrant family were murdered in rural southwestern Ontario, allegedly by an armed band of vigilantes from the community. No one was ever convicted of these crimes. While “Who did it?” is the most obvious question here, in an important sense the real mystery is why these crimes happened at all and how we should understand them now.

The Task

In this MysteryQuest, you are invited to take on the role of advisor to a team of historians beginning research on the Donnelly massacre of 1880 in Biddulph Township. You have been asked to examine selected primary and secondary documents for evidence to support one of the key theories about the reasons behind the massacre: it was the result of religious hatred among Irish immigrants who settled the township in the nineteenth century. First, you will be introduced to the idea of causal explanations in history. Then, you will be introduced to the Donnelly massacre and to the three main theories for the conflict. Working individually or with a partner you will examine five historical documents, looking for evidence of religious conflict. You will then prepare a 250-word report for the historians that summarizes the evidence and offers your own conclusion about whether there is enough evidence of religious conflict to proceed with a more detailed search for evidence of this explanation.

continue investigation …

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Studying God’s Finished Picture

Spend 5 minutes trying to complete a 200+ piece jigsaw puzzle WITHOUT looking at the picture.

Now look at the picture and see how many pieces you can add in the next 5 minutes.

In what ways is putting the puzzle together like or unlike putting your life together?

In what ways is the puzzle like or unlike answering the question, “Who Am I?”

Choose one of the following passages to study:

  • read the passage
  • write about what you think the passage says
  • explain what you think the passage means in each of your lives today
  • describe what the passage says we are in God’s eyes

Passages:

  • Genesis 1:26-31
  • Isaiah 43:1-7
  • Colossians 3:5-17
  • Luke 4:18-19
  • Ephesians 5:15-20
  • John 6:22-40
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
  • Ephesians 4:1-32
  • Galatians 5:13-26
  • Psalm 139
  • John 14:12
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Analysis of a Product

Write a classification analysis of a common manufactured product that is useful for some specific purpose. Divide you subject into several categories or subclasses according to an appropriate principal of division (such as features, design, effectiveness, operation, size, etc.). Be sure to label, define, and illustrate each category or subclass so that your analysis supports your thesis in an effective and interesting manner.

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Focus

Today, let’s draw all our attention to focus (or the lack thereof).

Ready to roll? All you need to do is…

  • Write a new post on your iblog in response to the prompt.

Need more ideas? Not sure what to write around Focus? We’re here to help:

  • Many people have been finding it more difficult to stay focused since pandemic-related restrictions have taken effect around the world. Are you one of them, and if so, how have you been navigating this challenge?
  • Tell us about a sound, a smell, or any other type of stimulus that helps you concentrate on one thing.
  • Photographers: share a photo with a particularly clear focal point. Or, conversely: post your favorite out-of-focus shot.
  • Share a story about a moment or a period in your life where, after feeling lost or distracted, you managed to refocus.
  • The word “focus” derives from the Latin for “hearth” — what is the equivalent of a hearth in your home? What’s the object, room, or activity around which everything else is organized?
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Random ideas for a short story

  • fate vs free choice
  • a secret reason
  • a quiet sacrifice
  • betrayal of an old relative
  • flirting with a stranger
  • flirting with an old friend
  • predator vs prey
  • a symbolic object
  • jealousy
  • second language words or phrases
  • specialty jargon
  • animal captivity
  • symbol of good
  • symbol of evil
  • annoy your brother
  • regret a decision
  • choose safety over risk
  • something mythologically familiar
  • a song without words
  • a song with words
  • a passage from scripture
  • describe a colour
  • focus on hands somewhere
  • current piece of technology
  • a current event in the news
  • some natural phenomenon with infinite details
  • notice dirt, mud, dust, rust or decay in some small way
  • refer to a classic book by name
  • have a character cut something with scissors or a knife
  • have a character write something on a sticky-note
  • quit something
  • cuss but don’t write the word
  • flashback
  • whiffle ball accidents
  • two faced
  • dream with a shadow in it
  • eat healthy at a fast food restaurant
  • loss of your own soul
  • a falling object
  • focus on a facial expression
  • loss of a significant other
  • betrayal of another
  • poison from a secret
  • chaos from order
  • have a character say “Huh?” and really mean it.
  • smile fiercely
  • smile falsely
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Create a Visual of Your Favorite Poems

Create a visual (canva or prezi) that captures the essence of some (3-5) of your favorite poems. Your work should contain appropriate visuals, brief quotations from the poem, and personal commentary that reflects your own perspective.

Use poems you’ve already studied, or discover more from poets.org:

Breakups and Heartbreak: Poems for Teens

Family: Poems for Teens

Gender and Sexuality: Poems for Teens

Grief and Loss: Poems for Teens

Heritage and Identity: Poems for Teens

Love and Relationships: Poems for Teens

Mental Health: Poems for Teens

Politics and Social Justice: Poems for Teens

Self: Poems for Teens

 

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Cities

Is the big city “a wondrous toy” as the song goes, or is it a hill of swarming ants? Is it a creative showcase for a country’s talent and skill or is it a drain on the energies of millions of people who must struggle for survival from day to day? Can it be both? Is it something else? What does the city mean to you? Describe your view of the city in specific detail.

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Start an Online Discussion with a “Plinky Prompt”

Your Specific Task:
Form a discussion group of about 5 students(invite a staff member, too, if you want).
Start your discussion in the “Garden Party” Forum. One of you picks the discussion starter from any of the “Plinky Prompts” in the Snowflake iblog. Post follow-up responses to each other so the discussion is “two-way”.

Demonstrate these “I can…” outcomes:
“I can … Explore your thoughts, ideas, understandings and ask your discussion group members to do the same.
“I can … Respect each others opinions, but work together towards building a discussion thread that is perceptive, insightful, engaging and unified.

Assessment:
Once each member of the group is satisfied that they have completed the specific task, and met the more general “I can…” outcomes, assign your discussion thread a score using this “Personal response” rubric.

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