Hearne’s Incredible Overland Journey – An Arctic Exploration Literature Study

Studying Canadian history is way more interesting when you take a closer look at the people and stories instead of just the facts and dates. For example, the Arctic exploration. If you get down to the stories of the men who braved the frozen north, you discover a whole bunch of interesting events.

In 1914, Canadian author Stephen Leacock published a book called Adventurers of the Far North. Following the exploits of the men who explored the Arctic, this book tells the stories of those who first tried to find the northwest passage by sea and then the men who ventured by foot. Many of these men are well-known explorers: Frobisher, Baffin, Hudson, Franklin, Mackenzie…. but tucked right near the beginning, in Chapter 2 is the story of a man named Samuel Hearne. Aptly titled “Hearne’s Overland Journey to the Northern Ocean”, this chapter follows the struggles of a young man around 1770, who left Fort Churchill in Manitoba to search for the ocean at the end of the Coppermine River in Nunavut. The tale is exciting. Winter is an incredibly challenging time of year to be off exploring the north, but off he goes. It took 3 trips, and I’m not fully sure he actually accomplished his mission, but his journals show an experience worth sharing.

Hearne's Incredible Overland Journey - An Arctic Exploration Literature Study

Discover more about this adventure thanks to the study guide available from Canadian Winter Homeschooling Materials for this chapter. This study focuses only on this one chapter of Leacock’s book, dividing it up into sections. Through the use of prompting questions, middle-school aged students are encouraged to think more critically about the history they read and learn about. You don’t need a copy of the book to do this study, as each section has been included. Divided into 12 sections of a page or two each, the format consists of text, a series of 10 questions, and a final section that asks readers to examine more closely the truth of a particular statement in that segment of story. For example, one tip was to consider when a piece of work was written because that provides context.

[…] a text written in 1930 might refer to WWI as the last and worst war in Europe. However that statement would not be accurate today, as WWI was followed by WWII, a comparably devastating conflict.

This publisher has other resources in their “Think About History” collection, including the first chapter of this book,  By Canadian Streams by Lawrence Burpee, The Dawn of Canadian History by Stephen Leacock, and A Short History of the World by HG Wells.

This company has generously offered this study for my subscribers. You can find it in the learning centre.

1 thought on “Hearne’s Incredible Overland Journey – An Arctic Exploration Literature Study”

  1. Thanks for posting! I enjoyed learning about Hearne while I made this resource – I hope some other parents and students do as well! Apparently his full journals have become a sort of cult classic for northern exploration enthusiasts.

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