Connecting Our Coast

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in 4-7, Transportation | 0 comments

Students create a class mural depicting the surface freight transportation systems that connect Prince Rupert to the world. This lesson, which is informed by the big idea of Connectedness, complements Product or Resource? and Where Does Our Stuff Come From?


1 teacher-directed session of 40 – 50 minutes; 2 sessions for student research, oral presentation and class mural creation


Students will:

  • Describe the location of natural resources within BC and Canada
  • Use maps to identify points of origin and destination and transportation modes and routes, and to calculate distances
  • Identify the surface freight transportation networks in BC and Canada that are connected to the Port of Prince Rupert
  • Create a mural that depicts the origin and destination of export resources/products and how the transportation modes connect to the Port of Prince Rupert enabling overseas trade for BC and Canada


  • Port of Prince Rupert video
  • Examples of Goods Traded Through the Port of Prince Rupert (see Resources section)
  • World map (ideally Pacific-centric) and class atlases
  • Online map of woodlands around Terrace
  • Picture of longshore workers on log booms and other transportation images (see Resources section)
  • Schematic representation (flow chart) of the journey of wheat (see Resources section)
  • Art materials (paper, paint, pencil crayons, etc.)
  • One large sheet (or several smaller sheets) of bulletin board paper (for the background of the class mural) showing an outline of the coast of Asia, North America and the UK
  • Team-work Self Evaluation Rubric (see Resources section)
  • The Advantages and Disadvantages of Transportation Modes – Background Information for Teachers (see Resources section)


  • Computer and projector or Smart Board
  • Computer lab or photocopy images and URL of website resource for class


  • Become familiar with The Advantages and Disadvantages of Transportation Modes – Background Information for Teachers
  • Set up computer and projector/Smart Board to show Port of Prince Rupert video
  • Draw Brainstorming Map on board
  • Photocopy enough Brainstorming Maps for the class
  • Ensure access to computer lab

CRITICAL VOCABULARY (see Glossary for definitions)

Intermodal, Road, Marine, Surface Transportation, Rail, Transport Modes


  • With the class, lead a brainstorm session on the places students travel to during a typical week. When students’ ideas have begun to flow, tell them to place themselves in the centre of a piece of paper and to record the places that they go to on the rest of the paper. (They can use a combination of drawing and writing for this.) Then tell students to draw connecting lines between themselves and the places they go to and to write (and/or draw) along the connecting lines, the method of transportation that they use to get to each place. (For example, to go to the store, do they walk, bike, or take a car?)
  • Tell students that just as people are connected to different places, so are cities and regions. Ask students: how is Prince Rupert connected to other places? What are all the ways that people can travel from other places to Prince Rupert? (Examples include: ferry, train, road, and air.) Where might these people be coming from?
  • Explain to students that Prince Rupert, as a port city, is a special place. It is connected to the rest of Canada, North America and other parts of the world through international trade transportation links. Show Port of Prince Rupert video. Have students identify the three surface modes of trade transportation (road, rail and marine) shown in the video. Make the connection between how the students are connected to places in their community and the world, and how Prince Rupert is connected to the world.


  • Show students the table Examples of Goods Traded Through the Port of Prince Rupert.
  • As a model for the students, trace the journey of a cargo of logs from their origin on the BC coast/interior through Prince Rupert and on to their destination in Northern Asia (China) on a world map. Record information on the board as a schematic map.
  • Show students the pictures of longshore workers on the log booms at Prince Rupert and the map of the woodlands around Terrace (on the Coast Tsimshian Resources Limited Partnership website).
  • As you track the route from the woodlands around Terrace to China, convey the following information to the students about the characteristics of the cargo (i.e. logs):
    • Distance the cargo travels: In this case, calculate the approximate distance from Terrace to Prince Rupert, and from Prince Rupert across the Pacific to the Port of Qingdao, China.
    • Characteristics of the cargo’s origin and the transportation implications: Logs are harvested from forests that are not accessible by major transportation links, so they must travel on logging roads (by truck) and/or along water inlets (by tug boat) to get to the main rail or sea transportation hubs.
    • How easily the cargo can be damaged: Logs are reasonably durable and can therefore be transported by water, open truck, and log ship. Other, less durable goods could be crushed, dented, or damaged by water and therefore require different kinds of protection during their journey.
  • Put students into groups of 4 for their research and mural creation work. Assign each group one of the types of cargo from the table below and provide students with the origin of their cargo and its destination.
  • trans 47 connecting

  • Show or distribute some or all of the transportation images for students to use to inform their drawing.


  • Explain to the students that they will be creating a class mural that shows (schematically) the routes and modes of transportation taken by the various products and resources that are moved through the port terminals in Prince Rupert.
  • Show students the example of a schematic representation (flow chart) of the route taken by wheat. This will give them a clear idea of the kind of imagery they will be creating.
  • Describe the steps that students will follow to create the mural:
    • Research the route and types of transportation for their cargo. Online resources to support students’ research are listed in the Resources section.
    • Depict the information visually through drawing and/or painting. Each group will create: A picture/image that represents the point of origin for their cargo; A picture/image that represents the destination of their cargo; Pictures of the transportation modes (e.g. truck, ship, train)
    • Present their findings to the class as they construct the mural together
  • Assign one student in each group responsibility for:
    • Identifying on a map the point of origin of their cargo, the route it follows to Prince Rupert and the distance it travels to get there
    • Identifying on a map the destination for their cargo, the route it follows from Prince Rupert and the distance it travels to reach its destination
    • Identifying the modes of transportation used to transport their cargo from its point of origin to Prince Rupert
    • Identifying the modes of transportation used to transport their cargo from Prince Rupert to its destination
  • Share the appropriate links to online research resources with each group. (See Resources section)
  • Remind students to record their information carefully.
  • Give support to each group, as necessary, as they decide how they will share responsibility for creating the pictures/images that they will use to convey the information on the class mural.
  • Allow students access to the computer lab, as needed, to gather their information.
  • Give students time to practise presenting their information orally to the class.


  • When all groups have completed their research and artwork, draw the students’ attention to the large sheet(s) of bulletin board paper that will form the background of their mural.
  • Review with students the components of an oral presentation:
    • Delivery – speak clearly, hold the audience’s attention
    • Content – demonstrate knowledge by using examples and supporting ideas with evidence
  • Have each group come up to the mural background to present their information orally to the class. During the presentation, group members place (stick) their pictures onto the mural background so that the route their cargo takes and the modes of transportation used are represented schematically. (This may require prior planning, and support, on your part to ensure that the origin and destination points are appropriately positioned on the mural.)


Group Assessment

  • Have students complete a Team-work Self Evaluation Rubric.
  • Evaluate the group oral presentations according to the criteria reviewed with the students. Students should:
    • Speak clearly and hold the audiences’ attention
    • Demonstrate knowledge by using examples and supporting ideas with evidence

Individual Assessment

As a homework assignment:

  • Explain that students will produce an individual piece of work related to the class mural. The piece of work will include the cargo they studied as a group:
    • Where it is from
    • Where it is going to
    • What modes of transportation are used to move it from its origin to its destination
    • 1 or 2 interesting facts about the characteristics of the cargo that determine what transportation modes are used
    • A map showing the cargo’s route from origin to destination
    • Relevant pictures to support the information
  • Students can choose to present this work as:
    • A poster board
    • A map


Have the students research the routes and transportation modes for goods that are imported through the Port of Prince Rupert (rather than the exports).


Integrate the lesson with a visit to the Port of Prince Rupert Interpretive Centre:

  • Complete Activities 1 and 2 in your classroom.
  • At the Interpretive Centre, use the interactive Import/Export Map to illustrate mapping and as a research resource. Have the students identify and note:
    • The products and natural resources that move through the Port Of Prince Rupert
    • Where are the products and resources are from and where they are going
    • The modes of transportation used to move them from their country of origin to their destination
  • Back in the classroom, you can complete Activities 3 and the student presentation and mural creation.

Port of Prince Rupert Vessel Report

Have students learn about the types of ships that arrive at and leave the Port of Prince Rupert daily by exploring the Port of Prince Rupert Vessel Report



General online resources:




Wood Pellets:

  • Pinnacle Pellets


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