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Aleza Lake Research Forest: Learning Resource

Grade 4-7: Visual Inquiry (Social Science or English)



  • What is the difference between a closed question and an open question? What are some examples of closed and open questions? How are they different? What are we trying to learn with open questions? What kind of answers are we looking for?
  • Use the worksheet (provided below) to assess understanding of closed/open questions. You can do this verbally or as written work individually or in partners.
Black and white photo of a man crouching by a wheel and machinery
Picture #1 NBCA Accession 2007.
Black and white photo of Ken McCannel and Malcolm Knapp pit-sawing sills for older Aleza Lake buildings
Picture # 2 NBCA Accession 2007.

Discussion: KNOW WANT LEARN with Photographs

Note: Click on each image to view a larger image. The linked code below each image links to its description by the Northern BC Archives.

Picture # 1: 

  • Share three things you see in the picture that makes you curious.  
  • Ask one closed question based on what you see.
  • Can you predict the answer to your question?
  • Ask a partner (or the teacher, or anyone in the vicinity) to answer your closed question. 

Picture # 2.

  • Use KWL Chart (provided below). Fill out 5 things that they KNOW from looking at the picture. Do not fill out the other sections. 
  • Talk (either as a class or in small groups) about how you know the things on your list. 
  • How can the things you noticed in this picture lead us to ask questions? What kind of questions? Would you ask a closed question or an open question? 
  • Write down one open question that you would ask based on the things you noticed. 
  • Write an open question in the WANT section of the KWL chart for every item that you noticed in your KNOW section. 
  • These photos are connected to Prince George's natural resources, specifically trees and forests. Discuss what the men are doing in the photo and why they might be doing it. Is this how we harvest trees today? 
  • The men in this photo are actually collecting wood to help build houses and other buildings. How does this process look different today? 
    • EXTENSION: For older grades, talk about how the process of harvesting wood and building structures looks similar or different to other civilizations you might have studied. Would this look the same for the Egyptians? For people in Europe? 
  • Filling in the LEARN section of the KWL Chart is optional. Identifying what you have learned about your questions from your discussions.

More information:

  • Picture # 1 is a photo from 1936. It depicts an unknown man who was part of the Young Men’s Forestry Training Program (YMFTP) next to the newly installed diesel power plant at Aleza Lake. Men from the YMFTP are credited with building the diesel power plant and many other facilities at the Aleza Lake Research Station. 
  • Picture # 2 is also from 1936. It depicts men pit-sawing sills for some of the older Aleza Lake buildings.

Learning Intention & Core Competencies

Learning Intention: Learners will use visual text to participate in an introduction to self-guided inquiry.

Core Competency Focus - Critical and Reflective Thinking:

  • Asking open-ended questions to explore and gather information
  • Experiment purposefully to develop options
  • Contribute to and use criteria
  • Use observation, experience, and imagination to draw conclusions, make judgments, and ask new questions.
  • Describe thinking and how it is changing
  • Establish goals individually and with others
  • Connect learning with experiences, efforts, and goals
  • Give and receive constructive feedback

Big Ideas:

  • The pursuit of valuable natural resources has played a key role in changing the land, people, and communities of Canada (Grade 4 Social Studies).
  • Geographic conditions shaped the emergence of civilizations.(Grade 7 Social Studies).