Paddle-to-the-Sea, Holling Clancey Holling, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1969

A tiny wooden canoe carved by an Indian boy travels from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean. This book is a good introduction to various cultures and industries that depend on waterways.

Retrace Paddle-to-the-Sea's journey

  1. Read all or parts of Paddle-to-the-Sea.
  2. Trace the canoe's journey and the aquatic habitats it crosses. Trace its route on a map of North America. How does the water chemistry change as it moves to the sea?
  3. Retrace the route by following satellite images of the region. Learn what times of the year and what portions of the journey would be affected by ice cover.
  4. Compare the water temperature at different locations mentioned in the book for July and January.
  5. Discuss how Paddle-to-the-Sea's journey corresponds to that of water flowing through a watershed, which is an area of land that contributes water to a particular water body, like the Great Lakes or the Atlantic Ocean. It took four years for Paddle to travel through the Great Lakes, but it takes water much longer.
  6. Document Paddle's journey on a timeline with events marked off by different seasons. Illustrate his adventures.
  7. Look carefully at a map of your community.

Have students find a stream that flows through their town.

Have students trace the route of that stream as it merges with other streams to become a river.

Trace this river's route to the ocean.

  1. After you have traced the watershed from your community to the sea, write or illustrate a story that describes a raindrop's journey to the sea, or mark it on a map.

Make sure to use the names of your state, town, a local river, and the place where the raindrop empties into the sea.

Salmon and Eels

Salmon and eels spend part of their lives in rivers and part in the ocean. Track their migration and determine the distance each travels. Discuss how dams built for hydroelectric power can effect their migration routes.

How big are they?

Compare water surface areas of the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Maine. Use satellite images of the same scale to compare. Discuss the effect the Great Lakes have on local weather patterns and how this compares to the effect of the ocean on coastal weather patterns.

Find your own Northwest Passage

Using an atlas of the United States and Canada, see how far across the continent you can travel over water routes. What portion of the trip would be over land?

Discuss how the history of the exploration of our continent would have been different if Champlain and Lewis and Clark had had satellite images to guide them.

Materials

  • Paddle-to-the-Sea
  • a map of North America
  • a state or community map
  • timeline of the journey
  • pencils
  • paper