Grade: Middle
Subject: History

#1455. Finding the Northwest Passage

History, level: Middle
Posted Sun Dec 19 19:57:43 PST 1999 by Susan Reinhiller (
Bowman High School, Bowman, ND USA
Materials Required: Nothing
Activity Time: 20 minutes
Concepts Taught: Trying to find what isn't there

Open the class b telling them that there is a $20.00 bill
hidden in the classroom. The person who finds the $20.00 bill
may keep it. Then tell the class where it isn't, (your desk.) Anyhwhere
you don't want them to look, because believe me they scour the room.
Then let them look for ten minutes. They will not find the bill because it
does not exist. Just like the explorers could not find the Northwest Passage through
the continent. If they are upset that they where sent on a wild goose chase, great. Then
you can bring in how frustrating it must have been for the explorers. Because you
can't find what isn't there. This is fun to play, it is amazing how the students get "gold
fever." They will really try to find it. But the key is to stress that you can't find what doesn't
exist, and just like they didn't know there wasn't a twenty, the explorers didn't know there wasn't a passage.