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Naming The West

Grade Level: Primary School and Middle School
Discipline: Humanities
Language: English
School Board: Foothills School Division
Website: Visit Naming The West


Did you know that when you read the names on a map you’re actually reading history? What is there about naming that intrigued these students? Using old maps, historical documents, local histories and lore, these students brought to life the place names on this map. If you look behind the names of the places, locations and people on their map, the lives and stories of their ancestors come to life and reflect their heritage.

Naming the West connected 22 teachers and 450 grade 2, 5 and 9 students from 11 schools within Foothills School Division, Chief Old Sun School (Siksika), and Chief Jacob Bearspaw School (Eden Valley) with education mentors from Galileo Educational Network, archivists from the Okotoks Museum and the Museum of the Highwood. This year long partnership enabled the teachers and students to work as: historians, archivists, toponymists and designers of authentic, innovative educational learning experiences that reached outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Foothills School Division, Galileo Educational Network, Okotoks Archives and Museum and The Museum of the Highwood were recognized as the 2009 winners in the Special Settings category by the Calgary Educational Partnership Foundation.

This Project was part of Our Roots. The Galileo Educational Network Association worked in collaboration with universities and K-12 educators and their students to create this nationwide project – Our Roots; Canada’s Local Histories Online. This project involves students creating historical online resources designed for others. Using inquiry-based learning, educators use Our Roots digital resources effectively and imaginatively to create engaging and authentic tasks for students.