Students will examine their personal concepts of “peace” through either guided imagery or a park hike, and creative writing.
Grades: 7 – 12
Time: 2 – 3 hours
Subjects: Language arts, geography
Peace has many meanings besides “not at war”. Students flash peace signs at each other. In Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, humans are more at peace with nature than in most places. “Peace and quiet” can lead to “peace of mind”. There is peace in feeling connected – to friends, family, other species and the larger world. There is security and peace in belonging to something larger than ourselves. In a hyper-active and noisy world, peace is a natural resource, an intangible which can affect our happiness.
- Writing / drawing materials for each student
- Plain paper
1. Part one:
Ask students to list what “peace” means to them. After their list is complete, ask them to list, individually, the places, people or other groups to which they feel like they belong, and then ask them to share with the group. They may add to their own lists through ideas shared by other students. You may also ask them where or in what situation they feel best and most happy.
2. Part two:
There are two options here:
- The best one, but not always possible, is to take a class field trip hike somewhere in the W-GIPP. See the Ranger-Led field trips page for what options are available. During the hike, have students spread out and sit or stand quietly in a safe area for a few minutes- part of the time with their eyes open- and part with their eyes closed.
- The second option is to have one or two students describe, as carefully as they can, a hike they recently took in the park. Students should listen with their eyes closed.
For either option, students need to write down two words- one, an adjective which best describes their quiet time- and one, a noun which is something they saw or heard during their quiet time.
They will bring these two words back to class for part three.
3. Part three:
Back in the classroom, the task will be to write a poem about peace and the "Peace Park." Ask students to add two more words to the two they brought back from the hike. One should be a word from their list of “peace” descriptions from part one of this activity and the other, a word of their choice during the group construction of the poem. It will be best to list all three words from each student into categories “adjective”, “noun” and “peace word”.
From the master list, every word should be used in the poem except duplicates. Each student can add their “bonus” word during the writing. Rhyming poetry will be next to impossible, so don’t try. If you feel that small work groups would be preferable, you may wish to have each group write a stanza. If the entire class works well you may want to have them do the poem together on the board.
Does the poem reflect your experience in the park?
How can you find the same kind of “peace” in your everyday life?
What kind of money value would you put on having peace and quiet available to you?
Is it possible to be “at peace” with nature and hunt for food, build a house where none was before, or plow a field? How?
Is a park about peace worth anything to you?
Why or why not?
Variations and Extensions:
Have students draw a picture, compose a piece of music, or do a word association about the “peace” experience.
The “products” of the activity are the best group assessment of higher-order understanding (synthesis, evaluation, analysis, etc.). Individual assessment should be based on contributions and collaborative effort. A short paragraph on how this activity will or won’t affect me from here forward would be an appropriate culmination of the “rubric” done by constructing the poem.