Canadian History in the Twentieth Century

Activity 1: The Growth of Prosperity

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Activity 1: The Growth of Prosperity

Time: 180 minutes


Students demonstrate their understanding of the economic prosperity and change that followed World War II by creating a growth chart or timeline that identifies and explains the major developments in the Canadian economy of the period. Students recognize the importance of an economy that advances the well being of all people.

Strand(s) and Expectations

Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations: 1d, 2a,b,c,d, 3d,e,f, 4a,f, 5a,e, 7b,e.

Strand(s): Change and Continuity; Social, Economic, and Political Structures; Methods of Historical Inquiry

Overall Expectations: CCV.03, SPV.01, SPV.02, MIV.01, MIV.02, MIV.03, MIV.04.

Specific Expectations

CC3.04 - summarize Canada’s changing relationships with the United States (e.g., Alaska Boundary Dispute, Lend-Lease Act, St. Lawrence Seaway Agreement, Auto Pact, and Foreign Investment Review Agency);

SP2.06 - explain the role of government in promoting economic opportunity in post–World War II Canada (e.g., developing infrastructure, negotiating international economic treaties, promoting resource development, protecting freedom of information);

MI1.01 - use terms related to historical organization and inquiry correctly (e.g., chronology, cause-and-effect, short- and long-term consequences, interpretation);

MI1.02 - use who, what, where, when, why, and how questions effectively when researching historical topics and issues;

MI2.02 - use technology (e.g., computer databases, Internet) effectively when researching Canadian history topics;

MI2.03 - record and organize information effectively using notes, lists, concept webs, timelines, organizers, charts, maps, graphs, and mind maps;

MI4.03 - use computer-based systems effectively to organize information for research, report preparation, and presentation.

Planning Notes

  • Ask the students to obtain bristol board.

  • Access to the Internet and the Canadian Encyclopedia would be helpful.

  • Obtain pictures of mega projects like the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Trans-Canada Highway.

Prior Knowledge Required

  • Students require an understanding of terms such as economy, prosperity, inflation, infrastructure, and recession.

  • Students should be familiar with co-operative learning strategies.

Teaching/Learning Strategies

1. Students and teacher brainstorm the changes that occur in our economy. These changes can be organized according to their nature and consequences (i.e., types of change and results of these changes). For example, the teacher could note that the demand for natural resources or certain products produces a need for more workers and the development of infrastructure. Similarly, the teacher and students discuss how recession can impact on workers and the economy. These changes can be described as cycles. The teacher may write information on the board for students to copy.

2. Students are placed in groups of three or four. The teacher reviews co-operative group learning strategies with the students.

3. The teacher should direct the groups to identify and explain reasons for the economic prosperity of the period. Students record notes about the causes of any major events that contributed to the economic growth between 1945 and 1963. The demand for Canada's natural resources and the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway project should be major features of their research. As a guide to their research, students note who, what, when, where, and why for each cause. Students can use their current text, but finding information on the Internet and in the school Library/Resource Centre is also recommended.

4. Upon completing their research students should organize their information onto a timeline or growth chart. Information for each event is written on lined paper or typed on blank paper and glued to the students' bristol board. These information panels must identify the event or cause as well as answers to the 5Ws. Students align their panels with the appropriate dates on the growth chart. Students include pictures of the events on the chart. Students entitle their charts: “Canada’s Economic Growth and Change: 1945-1963”. Thought should be given to the organization of the boards and amount of space needed for each information panel. It may be necessary for each group to use more than one sheet of bristol board. The teacher models an example of one entry on the growth chart.

5. Upon completion of the chart, students examine their research findings to determine if the growth respected the principle of the dignity of work and the rights of workers. Students find out if the growth in Canada of the postwar boom included the rights to productive work, to fair wages, and to organize and join unions. The students should read teacher selected excerpts from the encyclical Rerum Novarum in order to recognize that protecting the dignity of workers is a longstanding tradition in the Catholic Church.

6. The teacher displays the completed charts in the classroom.

Assessment/Evaluation Techniques

  • Rubric: The teacher should evaluate the accuracy of the knowledge/understanding (i.e., of the circumstances and causes of the economic growth in the period) and the clarity of communication demonstrated by students in their growth charts. See Appendix 3.1.1.


  • Teachers conference with students who have difficulties with writing. Using a computer may be a useful in completing the written portion of this assignment.

  • Students with writing difficulties may benefit from teacher assistance in organizing information.

  • Extra time may be given for the completion of assignments.

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