Snowshoe Hiking

 Overall Goal

Snowshoes have been and continue to be a necessity when travelling through the woods in the winter. It is a way to connect to the past as people have used snowshoes for thousands of years as well as being a connection to the future as a way to get outdoors and stay active in the winter.

Grade 6 Curriculum Connections

Social Studies -  Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present

  • assess contributions to Canadian identity made by various groups and by various features of Canadian communities and regions
  • use the social studies inquiry process to investigate different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experiences of two or more distinct communities in Canada
Physical and Health Education
  • participate actively and regularly in a wide variety of physical activities, and demonstrate an understanding of factors that encourage lifelong participation in physical activity
  • demonstrate an understanding of the importance of being physically active, and apply physical fitness concepts and practices that contribute to healthy, active living
  • demonstrate responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others as they participate in physical activities
  • perform movement skills, demonstrating an understanding of the basic requirements of the skills and applying movement concepts as appropriate, as they engage in a variety of physical activities
  • apply movement strategies appropriately, demonstrating an understanding of the components of a variety of physical activities, in order to enhance their ability to participate successfully in those activities

Program Description
Snowshoes have and continue to be an important mode of transport for those in the remote and snow covered North of Canada. Many of us are familiar with the recreational use of snowshoes but they are also an incredibly important part of everyday life for others. The use of snowshoes for work is crucial for survival in the North such as collecting wood and hunting but also for profit when working a sugar bush in the spring.

Snowshoeing at SOES is about getting out into the forest and experiencing the feel of walking through deep snow with snowshoes. Students will fall down and they will have to persevere, picking themselves up out of the snow and continuing on. A snowshoe hike can take on other themes such as aboriginal education, biodiversity and ecology in our beautiful forest ecosystem!

There's also an option to learn about the history of snowshoes and their use by First Nations, Inuit and Metis.

Success Criteria/Learning Goals

1. Students will be able to walk, run and maneuver through the forest on snowshoes.
2. Students will describe the origin of snowshoes, and how the different types of snowshoes are made for specific geographical areas.
3. Students will explain a forest ecosystem and their connection to it.


Pre-Trip Activity

Using an inquiry process with students, discover the origin of snowshoes, the reasons for the many different types that have been created up to modern times and how they have changed the course of history in Canada. Perhaps students could take on the role of a trapper, an Anishinabek child, a European during his first winter in Canada, a snowshoe merchant or a Sugar Bush operator and they could speak to the difference the snowshoe made to their lives.
Next Step Environmental Action
Students research an Ontario animal and find out how it adapts to winter. Hibernation, making trails and tunnels beneath the snow, big feet that can spread the weight of the animal out on the snow, a thicker winter coat, resting at the bottom of a water body - there are so many interesting ways. 
Animal Adaptations to Snow could be a starting point for an adaptation exploration. There are also numerous resources cited on this page. A history of snowshoes can be found on this site.

  • Snowshoeing can be a full or half day program
  • Ask your SOES contact about possible themes for your snowshoe hike
  • During Maple syrup season we use snowshoes when students tap trees