7-12, Unit One, Activity 2: "A Peace Park (eh?)"

Students will compare their preconceptions to their factual research on how the Waterton – Glacier International Peace Park began, and how it functions today.

Grades: 8 – 12
Time: 2 hours
Subjects: Social science, political science, history, biology

Teacher Background:
See the Unit One Introduction. This activity can be taught by one teacher or team-taught by a social studies teacher and a science teacher. It is divided into three parts and can be greatly enhanced with a visit by Waterton or Glacier Park interpretive staff. Contact the Education Specialist at Glacier National Park to see if someone is available to visit your classroom.


1. Part one:
Divide the students into groups of 3 or 4. You may choose to have a moderator, reporter, and recorder in each group. Have them brainstorm and list ways in which Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park are (1) similar, (2) different, (3) ways in which may already cooperate and (4) ways in which the students think the parks could cooperate in the future. You may have to give the students a few examples from the Introduction section of this guide (just a few!). Have them list their “guesses” on the flipchart paper.

2. Part two:
Either with yourself or a student as a “facilitator”, bring the groups together and combine the lists (on the board) through reports (by the reporter) from each group. After the reports and general session, ask the students to discuss the list, adding and deleting as they wish.

3. Part three:
Have students read copies of the Unit One Introduction and change the lists according to their new findings. (At this point, having a park staff person visit to add specifics to the lists would be appropriate.)

-What thing about the ways Canadian and American parks operate might lead to problems dealing with your issues list?
-What do you think your class could do to help?
-What do you think is a World Heritage Site?
-An International Biosphere Reserve?
- Do you think that international designations necessarily mean that individual countries lose some of their soverignty or identity?
-Why or why not?

Variations and Extensions:
Here, you may want to suggest a joint project with a Canadian class – perhaps the one you worked with in Activity 1 – to help the parks with one aspect of their cooperative efforts. A campaign to follow-up on the elimination of the clear-cut border swath through the WGIPP would be one example. Also, a visit by someone from a local Rotary Club with knowledge of the process creating the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park would give students a sense of history about the designation.

An ongoing assessment process, such as a journal, would be appropriate. If the students choose to do a project around a Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park issue, following a problem-solving format is a wonderful way to teacher-assess and self-assess understanding of the issues.

Last updated: November 8, 2017

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