Our Educational Resources

Our Roots educational partners create innovative learning packages in cooperation with K-12 students and teachers. These educational modules provide Canadian youth with engaging ways to make history personally exciting and relevant by bringing local histories into the curriculum.

Cowboy Culture History of Cowboy Culture
Stories of ranching and cowboy life have been sung and told around campfires in the hills surrounding the Bar U Ranch for over a century. Two grade 3 classes from Red Deer Lake School, a grade 2/3 class from Millarville School, and students in grade 6 and 8 from McLaren School worked together on an inquiry study into the culture, the challenges and the future of the cowboy. The untold stories, poems and memories of cowboy life are retold in video, poems and stories through the voices of the children.
Stampede School Calgary Stampede and Treaty 7 First Nations: A Historical Perspective
Since the first Calgary Stampede in 1912, the Treaty 7 Nations have played an important role in the annual celebrations. A Grade 1/2 class from Prince of Wales School and a Grade 4 class from Piitoayis School worked together at the Stampede School classroom on an inquiry study into this historical relationship. Traditions have been made new again as the children experienced the Stampede cultural celebrations and new friendships formed as the children researched this historical partnership, learning from First Nation Elders and Stampede Historians.
Millarville Archeology Millarville Archaeology
Why did our teacher keep finding rusty nails and shards of pottery every spring as she dug her vegetable garden? When our grade five teacher showed us what she found, we became curious. How did they get there? Who left them there and why?
Castor Farming Roots Our Farming Roots in Castor
Since its beginning, Castor, Alberta has been a farming town. Like most towns, Castor has many wonderful stories. What fascinates the students of Gus Wetter Elementary School is how many of these stories revolve around how people fed their families a long time ago.
Our Heritage Guides for the Future Understanding Our Heritage Guides the Future
This full year focus for grade 2 & 3 students looked closely at the history of the community and people of Millarville. Their discussions reflected an awareness of issues of change to the environment, First Nations people, settlement and future development.
Big Valley Big Valley: Then and Now
This study looked at the cultural aspects of Big Valley at the height of the railway boom, 1910-20's and at present day. Students determined what aspects of culture were important to pass on to their generation as well as what should be passed on for future generations.
Artistry of the Land The Artistry of the Land
A deeper level of sensitivity comes from the effort to understand, to appreciate and recognize differences. Developing respect is the best way to mutually coexist in harmony. Share our stories and discoveries as we begin to understand our First Nations People.
Spirit River The Changing Family Farm in Spirit River, Alberta
Stories are all around us. They are in the voices of our ancestors, in the objects we discover in our museums and there are some yet to be told. In this inquiry, budding young journalists and historians tell the story of their community in compelling and engaging ways.
Richness of Words Richness of Words: A Journey Into the Past
A deeper level of sensitivity comes from the effort to understand, to appreciate and recognize differences. Developing respect is the best way to mutually coexist in harmony. Share our stories and discoveries as we begin to understand our First Nations People.
Farming in the Palliser Triangle Farming in the Palliser Triangle, Rockyford, Alberta
We are Albertans and we live in Rockyford, about one hour north east of Calgary. Rockyford is small, with a population of 350. In Rockyford there is only one store. There are three restaurants, two churches, one bank and one school.
Riverrun Riverrun: Evolution or Genocide?
History is a story written from a particular point of view and what we have come to know as the truth is shaped by these perspectives. Using primary sources, the novel River Run and online resources, students explored the stories behind the vanishing of the Beothuk people.
Canadian Identity Exploring Canadian Identity: What Makes us Unique as Canadians?
Who and what are we? What identifies us as uniquely and peculiarly Canadians as we make our way in the second century of our existence? These and other questions will be explored as students engage in the activities of this unit.

Other Resources

Eclectica: Canada's Learned Societies in the 19th century Eclectica: Canada's Learned Societies in the 19th century
Learned Societies allowed Canada's intellectuals to share knowledge. Find out more about the 19th century through publications by these Societies about topics of the day. This educational exhibit links broad historical themes to our own Canadian context in a fun, humourous way.

Welcome to Inquiry-Based Learning

Computers are changing the way students think about history. Video, voice and music clips, virtual museums, interactive web sites and digitized primary text and photographic resources, such as those on Our Roots, are now at the fingertips of student and teacher alike. The study of history is moving out of textbooks and into the community. When those of us over 25 think about “Canadian history,” we recall some of the grand sweep of events we learned about in school. Today, students have ready access to a wide range of intriguing resources not only about those events, but also about the places they live, the people who lived there before them, and the stories that lie behind the familiar faces of their everyday lives. Today, even the youngest child has access to materials that, in the past, were available only to determined academics sifting through archives far from home.

This is exciting. Ordinary citizens and whole communities can find themselves and their roots in the papers, photos, statistics, film clips and recordings of the past. My story can become part of our story in ways that only free access to a wealth of information makes possible.

As you will see on this site, students make history while they study it! In diverse communities across Alberta, students are looking around them. What are the rusty nails and shards of pottery that their teacher found in her back garden all about? Who had left them there decades before, and why? In the wake of the Mad Cow crisis, why had another’s parents returned to raising heritage poultry and seeds? Could students create virtual museums of local places of importance to share with the world?

Every community has its stories: the old railroaders in fourth generation railway families who remember the early days of the CPR; native elders who know the stories of the plants in the fields near the school, and when to harvest them for medicine; the names of soldiers on the monument in the park that you walk past every day. Maybe it’s your school, itself. Are there papers and pictures that give you some insight into the moment in your community’s history when the school was built, or abandoned? How about the wartime housing on your street, or the boarded up mine? Who are the people in all those old photographs from our town that we found online? Can we collect and tell their stories, too?

In big ways and in small, students and their teachers are composing and sharing stories of their homes. They are learning how to work with primary sources, interviewing people whose voices will soon disappear, making judgments about what they are seeing and why these things are important. Students are becoming active members of the community, creating websites and CD’s for local historical societies, and developing materials by kids, for kids. On Our Roots, you can see how wonderful it is when the study of history moves beyond materials someone else thinks are interesting and important for kids, and puts the children’s questions right at the forefront. We think that makes for exciting history and lively citizenship.
Galileo Educational Network


Galileo Educational Network

The Galileo Educational Network Association working in collaboration with Our Roots is an exciting nationwide project. This project involves students creating historical online resources designed for others. Using inquiry-based learning, this project uses Our Roots digital resources effectively and imaginatively to create engaging and authentic tasks for students. Student work is published online and teacher narratives explain and explore the thinking and processes that lie behind each inquiry.

We invite you to journey through the projects showcased on this website and to discover what students are learning about their past. These projects were created using Galileo's design process found at http://about.myio.org/. New projects are being added on an ongoing basis.


Galileo educational resources are supported by the generosity of Shaw Communications inc.

Alberta Online Consortium

The Alberta Online Consortium (AOC) takes a leadership role to advocate on behalf of online educators. As well, AOC uses existing and new technologies to enhance and optimize student learning. The Alberta Online Consortium collaborates with the Learning Technologies Branch of Alberta Learning to cooperatively address the need for online content. Content development initiatives allow teachers to work collaboratively to build content that is shared and used in online learning situations.


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