Slide deck for teachers - Mapping Electoral Districts

1 Mapping Electoral Districts
2Minds OnImagine: You are at a family party to celebrate a grand-parent’s birthday.
3Minds On

There are seven people at the party:

  • two grand-parents
  • two adults
  • one three-year-old
  • two teenagers

How would you divide the cake so that everyone gets their fair share?

[Teacher’s note: You can prompt students with additional questions, e.g. “Should everyone get the same-sized piece? Should the cake be divided based on age, size or other factors?”]

4Inquiry QuestionWhat makes an electoral district fair?

Did you know?

Canada is divided into 338 electoral districts.

In each district, voters elect one member of Parliament to represent everyone who lives there.

To reflect changes in the Canadian population, the number of electoral districts is adjusted every 10 years.


When deciding on new boundaries, we consider:

  • the size of the population
  • geographic features
  • social factors such as culture and language

Getting Ready

Your group will need:

  • the master map
  • three reference maps
    • language communities
    • shared history
    • population distribution
  • info sheet for reference maps
  • dry-erase markers

[Teacher’s notes: The population distribution map is the same as the master map, only smaller. Students can use this map as a rough draft or to collaborate more effectively. You can prompt the students to make comparisons with their own community.]


Your task: Draw the electoral boundaries for an imaginary country.

9ActivityStart by naming your country.

Use the reference maps to create eight electoral districts on the master map.

Use dry-erase markers only.

One district is already created.



  • Aim for a similar number of people in each district.
  • Use the reference maps to guide your decisions.
  • You can create more than eight districts, but you must explain why.

[Teacher’s notes: Allow 20 to 30 minutes for the activity. Remind students to consider geographic features, population, language and shared history.]


Share your thinking:

  • post your group’s map
  • explain your thinking

[Teacher’s notes: We suggest a gallery walk where one student stays with the group’s map and explains how they divided it as other students visit each map. Have this student switch with another in the group halfway through the process.]



  • What similarities and differences do you see?
  • What changes would you make to your map?
14ConsolidationInterview with an Elections Canada geographer
15Inquiry QuestionWhat makes an electoral district fair?

Reflection: How important is each factor in defining electoral districts fairly?

  • equal populations
  • respect of communities of interest or identity
  • respect of historical patterns of previous boundaries
  • manageable geographic size

[Teacher’s note: You can use the provided Exit Card handout, on which these questions are printed.]