Movement and Change

Social Studies - Grade 10

This unit of inquiry is not a recipe book but rather a launchpad to inspire new BIG IDEAS. We encourage you to use and/or modify one, or several of the BIG IDEAS below. Adapt it to the grade/ ability level of your students.


Enduring Understandings

Movement across borders generates new opportunities and ideas.


Guiding Questions

What social, economic, political and environmental changes are the result of the movement of people and products across borders?


Mind Opening

Choose or devise practices to encourage students to be open to new experiences and ways of thinking in your classroom. For example, the MindUP in-school program.


Discovery and Inspiration:

Launch the Project

Introduce the Theme: Present the Enduring Understanding and Guiding Questions using vocabulary that is appropriate for your grade level.

About Vancouver Biennale: Play a short video.

Create Project Space: Brainstorm ideas to make the project theme visual and visible using bulletin boards, and/or a project corner to share relevant materials and inquiry questions and processes.

Reference Resources:

Introduction to Sculpture and Public Art Unit Plan for information on how art has evolved over time and the unique experience sculptures and/or public art brings

Vancouver Biennale 2014-2016 Exhibition Theme: Open Borders / Crossroads Vancouver,

Vancouver Biennale Legacy: The Meeting (Wang Shugang, China)

About Artist and Artwork (PDF)


Learning to Learn:

Art Inquiry

Make a visit to The Meeting and encourage students to freely explore and interact with the art pieces individually and in groups. This Art Inquiry process enables the students to practice observing, describing, interpreting, and sharing visual information and personal experiences. Use the Art Inquiry Worksheet (PDF) to guide and capture their ideas and impressions. Customize or create your own Art Inquiry Worksheet as appropriate for your project and class needs.


Shared Insights

• Sharing Art Inquiry Experience: Ask students to share the Art Inquiry Worksheet responses in class.

Artist Themes – Research: In small groups students rotate between information stations detailing the artist’s life and work. Station topics include: (1) education and training; (2) lifetime of artwork; (2) materials and processes; (3) beliefs and values. At each station, students answer questions and complete a task. For example, at the station “life’s work” students might plot the artist’s various installations on a map of the world.

Artist Themes – World Leaders: Bring up an example on how past G8 Summit decisions impact movement of people and products cross borders. Does the artwork represent the actual positions these world leaders took in the negotiation process? Ask the students how they would make changes on the placement of the figures to represent the world leaders relationship to each other.


Inquiry Challenges

Personal Cross Borders Experience: Ask students to share past travel experience and future plans. Discuss and compare border crossing experiences. How do border crossing experiences define a country from a traveller’s perspective? Share how travelling changes one’s perspective or action.

Product Movement: Ask students to catalogue the origin of selected objects around the classroom. Can we confidently identify the source? What borders did our classroom materials cross to get to us? Discuss the processing cycle starting from raw materials to the finished goods.

Identity, Society and Culture: Ask students to research immigration to Canada during 1815-1914 and contrast with Biennale participating countries. What forces influence the movement of people across borders? How did the movement of people across borders change the places defined by those borders? Interview or read interviews of people who have crossed borders to live their lives.

Economy and Technology: Ask students to research the railroad system and other technological innovations of the 19th century and consider their impact upon regions of Canada and provincial borders. Contrast historical conditions to current provincial policy relating to transportation of resources (such as oil and gas)

Resource Ownership and Development Policy: Ask students to consider the development of the Canadian economy from 1815-1914, asking how has the Canadian Government dealt with foreign ownership of our resources historically and at the present time? How did the policy evolve as a result of import and export demand? How do these international (borderless) corporations and the movement of people, ideas, and materials that come with them shape Canada?


Student Creations and Taking Action

Posters and photo montages are good media to raise awareness of movements of selected organisms and objects across and within borders with significant impacts on our life. Joint creation with film and/or theatre teachers can be explored.

To further the students’ understanding of contribution of immigrants to Canada, students can volunteer to assist new immigrants to Canada.



• Teacher and students can reflect on their entire learning process by revisiting the Enduring Understanding and relevant Guiding Questions.

• How did the unit of study open inquiry, create cross–curricular learning opportunities and/or apply learning to real life situations? Has this unit of inquiry changed your opinions, values and world view? In what ways, if any, has it helped you grow as a learner?


Ideas for Cross-Curricular Access

•  Arts Education – Drama: Ask students to create a drama presentation from the short stories written for Language Arts class.

•  Language Arts: Ask students to read or act out Thomas King’s short story Borders or Pablo Neruda’s poem To the Foot from its Child. Write a story about border crossings and the crossroads created by the places where borders meet. What cannot be contained or expressed within borders?

•  Mathematics – Applied Mathematics/Planning 10: Ask students to research and track import and export of selected raw materials to/from Vancouver to/from other cities participating in the Biennale. For example, how many borders does a Peruvian coffee bean traverse to reach a coffee shop on Commercial Drive? Can you identify a raw material that reaches Vancouver from each of the participating Biennale countries? How does each of these products contribute to our society?

•  Science – Sustainability of Ecosystems: Community Ecology and Ecological Borders

Ask students to read Wolf Island by Celia Godkin. Research and present the effects of introducing species into new environments. How does the movement of species across ecological ‘borders’ affect environments?


Written by: Natasha Sharpe, 2013 UBC Secondary School Teacher Candidate

Edited by: Jennifer Massoud, Secondary School Teacher

©2013 Vancouver Biennale