Mapping out the War of 1812
For students at Sa-Hali secondary, studying the War of 1812 became a matter of walking with the Shawnee and Potawatomi, marching with the British to burn Washington, visiting the Battle of Chippewa and swimming the Great Lakes, next to such vessels bearing the USS and RMS markers.
Social-studies students at the Arrowstone Drive school were able to get up close and personal with the war (as long as they removed their shoes) via a massive floor map documenting the three-year conflict.
The map — an awe-inspiring, 36-foot-by-29-foot creation listing major battles, significant forts and maritime events while illustrating by colour American- and British-held territory — arrived at Sa-Hali on Friday, Dec. 14, as part of a Canada-wide tour. It will return in June.
The map is actually one of four commissioned by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Canadian Geographic and the federal government, all made in Canada and all for less than $10,000 each.
The scale of each map is 200 kilometres per foot and each map is accompanied with an intricate teaching kit, including pylons, chains and coloured blocks, all of which can be used to mimick troop movements and territorial shifts.
It is, in essence, a life-sized game of Risk with a Canadian bent.
Sa-Hali became a destination for the map thanks to teacher Beth Dye, who sits on the board of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
“It has been interesting,” Dye said as the final social-studies class put on their shoes and left the library, where the map commanded the centre of the room. “I think the kids really enjoyed the interactive nature of it.”
During the final class visit, teacher-librarian Cecile McVittie led the students through a War of 1812-inspired game of Simon Sez.
The final question — “Simon Sez stand in the country that won the war” — saw every student remain north of the border.
Every student but one, Levi Cameron, who made sure that he straddles he boundary, a foot in each country.
Yes, the war was, in fact, a tie, something the Grade 10 student knew.
“I just love history,” he said. “I love to study this stuff.”
For more information on the map, go online here and search “War of 1812 map”.