Canadian History in the Twentieth Century

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Planning Notes

  • The teacher must book the Library/Resource Centre and computer lab in advance for students to do their research and should at this point consult with the librarian about what sources are available, making a list in advance.

  • Topics must be selected in advance (teacher may wish to use the suggestions in Appendix 2.6.1) so that the students may have some choice.

  • The teacher must arrange to have a videotape and video camera available for taping the show (the teacher may want to contact the Media teacher in the school to make use of students in the media course to film the show as an assignment).

  • If the classroom space is too confining, the teacher may wish to book a larger space in the school, such as the library or the cafeteria, to do the filming.

  • The teacher considers the types of inquiry questions students look at for each of the topics in order to assist them in the research and preparation of their performance.

  • The teacher prepares checklists and marking rubrics to keep track of student progress/achievement for each of the four stages: inquiry; preparation; delivery; written report (see appendices). While a sample is available, the teacher may wish to build the rubric with student input, allowing them to contribute to and better understand the expectations.

  • The teacher prepares a unit test as the last part of the activity; the questions used on the test must reflect evaluation of students in all four categories of achievement.

Prior Knowledge Required

  • inquiry skills (for formulating questions, researching and recognizing bias, analysing, interpreting, evaluating, and drawing conclusions); communication skills (written and oral)

  • knowledge of how to use the Library/Resource Centre, and some rudimentary Internet skills

Teaching/Learning Strategies

1. The teacher begins by introducing the project and describing all its components, explaining the timeline and making sure that all the students are aware of the marking criteria. The teacher may wish to review both research and inquiry skills as well as note-taking skills. Students should also be reminded to use both primary and secondary sources in their research and be aware of potential bias in the sources. The teacher should provide an example and review the steps in detecting bias. Students choose partners (or a group depending on the nature of the topic) and select topics from the list (these topics are suggestions intended to help meet the expectations and teachers may choose others). Half of the class researches topics from the Depression era and the other half from WWII (see Appendix 2.6.1). The teacher may wish to show a sample of a newsreel from the era so that students have a general idea of the considerations.

2. With their partners and teacher assistance, students pose inquiry questions and note the location of their sources (see web site for sample – Appendix 2.6.6). The teacher may want to have students do the research in two separate stages so that they might exercise both their library skills and skills in Internet research. Students keep a log to track their progress; this log is used to help them complete a self-evaluation at the end of the activity (see web site for sample – Appendix 2.6.5).

3. Once the research is complete, students determine the content of their presentation, decide what costumes and props they need, prepare a script of five to seven minutes, and make a “set” for their portion of the show (old science fair boards are useful for this purpose).

4. The next stage of the project involves filming the individual segments. The two hosts of the show are to help organize the order and setup of each segment and, after conferring with each group, they prepare their introduction to the show, closing comments, as well as transitional commentaries to move from segment to segment of the show.

5. After the newsreels have been filmed (see Appendix 2.6.2 for evaluation rubric), students view the final product and, based on the information they have gathered, write a report about significant historical developments of the Depression and World War II (see Appendix 2.6.3 for report evaluation rubric). The report assignment might be presented as follows:

Based on the knowledge of the Depression and World War II you gained in this unit, write a report that addresses the following questions:

i) What were the main causes of the Depression?

ii) In what ways was Canada affected by the Depression?

iii) Suggest several reasons why the Second World War occurred.

iv) How important were Canada’s contributions to the Allied victory?

v) How was Canada changed by our involvement in World War II?

vi) How do the events of the 1930s and World War II remind us of our Christian and human responsibilities, individually and as a nation?


  • Your report should be between three and four pages in length.

  • It should be typed - doubled spaced ( if you do not have a computer at home, see the teacher to arrange for access to one).

  • Use the six questions above as headings inside the report.

  • Your report should have a title page which includes the following:

  • Title (History Report: the Depression and World War II) centred in the middle of the page;

  • Your name;

  • Your teacher’s name;

  • The course code;

  • Due date;

(The last four items should appear in the bottom right hand corner of the title page.)

6. As a final assignment, students complete a self-evaluation for both the process and product (see web site - Appendix 2.6.7); they can consider what they did best and what skills they need to work on to improve their efforts/results. In addition, students have the opportunity to tell the teacher how well they were able to learn by using this type of activity

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