Canadian History in the Twentieth Century

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Planning Notes

  • Have samples of popular music of the 1960s such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, and Neil Young. Make verses of the songs available to students on a handout or overhead transparency.

Prior Knowledge Required

Students should be able to explain how American culture and lifestyle have influenced Canadians from 1900 to 1950s (Unit 3). They are able to demonstrate an understanding of how artistic expression reflects the Canadian identity.

Teaching/Learning Strategies

1. Introduce students to the terms “hippie”, “protest generation”, “youth culture”, and “generation gap” by drawing from their own knowledge of those terms and on the Baby Boom Generation learned in the previous unit. Ask them to think about the term “revolution” and write in their notebooks what they think it means. Then ask them to compare their definition with a partner. With a whole group, the teacher records some of the student responses on the board and leads the class to the understanding that a revolution is not always an armed rebellion, but can also be an attitude or ideology of rebelliousness and unrest. This establishes an understanding of the term needed for Activity 3 on the Quiet Revolution. Ask students to think of reasons that would have caused the youth of the sixties to start a revolution. Discuss their answers as a class and ask them to discuss the ways teenagers rebel today. The focus of this discussion should be on their perceptions of social injustice.

2. Draw their attention to the impact of popular culture on society in the sixties by asking them to discuss the importance of music in their own lives. Explain to students that the music of the sixties reveals a great deal about the concerns of that time. It became a method of social protest and ultimately reinforced the generation gap between youths and adults. The teacher should show the students examples of fashions and fads of the period.

3. Play a song from the Beatles, (“Revolution” is suggested) and introduce them to the term “Beatlemania”. You can teach this term using a reading from the textbook which most likely has something on it. The terms introduced in this activity reinforce the concept of “Trudeaumania” which is significant throughout the rest of the unit. Therefore, it is important to highlight the significance of the youth culture which helps to set the stage for the election of Trudeau. Ask students why the words to the song would have caused concern; record answers on board.

4. Play the remaining selections of songs and ask students to carefully review the lyrics and record in their notebooks all of the social concerns they can identify. Ask students to volunteer their answers and record on board.

5. Ask students to refer to a reading on popular culture in the sixties in their text and with the whole group summarize the causes of the cultural revolution.

6. Instruct students to prepare a brief, mock interview with a partner in which one student assumes the role of an adult in the sixties, and the other of the teenager. Students prepare a 5- to 10-minute interview of 8-10 questions and responses. Each partner assumes one of the roles. The interviewer must represent an adult from the sixties and the respondent must represent a teenager from the sixties. After reviewing their questions the teacher provides an appropriate length of time, dependent on the needs of students, to practise their interview and prepare for the audience. Their interview should clearly reflect the concerns of each side of the “generation gap”. It is presented to the class. As students prepare their interview the teacher meets with each group to answer questions and check that expectations are being met.

7. Students present to the class.

8. Students complete a chart that compares Canada in the period from 1900-1914 to Canada in the period from 1957-1967 using their notes from previous units and their textbook. The chart is reviewed with the whole class using the board to record key points. Their comparison should be based on the following criteria: size of Canada (number of provinces, etc); demographic composition of Canada (cultural groups); French-English relations; relationship with Aboriginal communities; major conflicts (Alaska Boundary dispute, Naval Service Bill Crisis, flag debate 1964). At the bottom of their chart they answer the following: Was Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967 a happy occasion for all Canadians? Why or why not? What solutions would you have offered to solve the problems in the Canadian family?

9. Presumably, the textbook contains readings on Trudeau and Pearson. Assign those sections and any relevant questions as readings for homework.

Assessment/Evaluation Techniques

  • Informal teacher assessment to ensure completeness and accuracy. A checklist that evaluates skills is useful. (Several models are available to accommodate the new report card.)

  • Rubric for Mock Interview (Appendix 4.1.1)

  • Informal teacher assessment to ensure completeness. Use a checklist to record that work in notebooks is complete and ask students to present their answers in a class discussion.


  • Some students may need teacher or peer help to interpret significance of song lyrics. A suggestion may be for the teacher to select only a few key phrases that convey the main meaning of the song and ask the student to state what the words make him or her think and feel. From there ask the student to suggest possible meanings for the song. Further to this the student may be asked to describe the mood of the sound of the music to infer a meaning for the song.

  • Some students may need a list of key textbook pages and past activities from teacher or peer tutor to reference materials from past units to complete chart.


Audio tapes of music as per suggestions above.

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