Canadian History in the Twentieth Century

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  • Students can work in pairs to locate the appropriate background information.

  • Select one specific event for students to locate and summarize from the textbook.

  • Paraphrase an Aboriginal story such as “The Maize Spirit” found in Amy Cruse, The Book of Myths (Clarke, Irwin and Company Limited, Toronto, 1972) or another story that illustrates the spiritual values of the Aboriginal people.

  • Provide the student with a specific web site, and work with a peer to locate the relevant information.

  • Provide a modified letter where the student enters information on a line and then have the letter edited.

  • ESL students could dramatize the events in the Aboriginal story.


Amy Cruse. The Book of Myths. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin and Company Limited, 1972.

Approved classroom textbooks

Catholic Catechism

Web Site

Aboriginal Claims in Canada

Activity 4: Canadians at Home and Abroad

Time: 150 minutes


Students examine Canada’s contemporary role as a member of the United Nations. Students identify the peacekeeping role Canada has assumed and evaluate the success of specific missions. Students apply their knowledge by composing letters to some of our peacekeepers. The second half of the activity involves the students concentrating on the major prime ministers of the last few years of the twentieth century who have ordered the deployment of these forces. Students are involved in evaluating the performance of these two leaders.

Strand(s) and Expectations

Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations: CGE7e, 2a, 4f, 5b, 5e, 5g.

Strand(s): Change and Continuity; Citizenship and Heritage; Methods of Historical Inquiry

Overall Expectations: CCV.03, CHV.02, MIV.01.

Specific Expectations

CC3.02 - explain the significance of Canada’s contributions to the United Nations;

CG4.07 - demonstrate knowledge of the roles and functions carried out by the Canadian armed forces;

CH2.03 - compare the backgrounds, careers, and contributions of twentieth-century Canadian prime ministers, in both formal and anecdotal reports;

MI1.01 - use terms related to historical organization and inquiry correctly;

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

MI3.04 - demonstrate an ability to draw conclusions based on adequate and relevant supporting evidence.

Planning Notes

  • The teacher should acquire a world wall map that can be marked or pinned.

  • The teacher should acquire the addresses of Canadian bases involved in peacekeeping missions which can be located by using “peacekeeping” as a keyword for an Internet search

Prior Knowledge Required

  • the creation of the United Nations covered in Unit 2

Teaching/Learning Strategies

1. Students review the main events leading to the formation of the UN and Canada’s role in establishing the Declaration of Human Rights by viewing the Heritage Minute on John Humphrey, the author of the original draft of the Declaration and reviewing their notes from previous units. Students orally answer the following questions: What is the main goal of the United Nations? (To prevent war) How can Canada help preserve peace? What has Canada done? On a wall map identify the various peacekeeping missions that have included Canadians with coloured pins. Why does Canada volunteer so often? How does Canada’s continuing contribution to peacekeeping missions reflect gospel values? Students read sections of the Bible that deal with peace (Psalms 34:14 and Matt 5:9) to help them answer the question.

2. Students determine if Canada should continue peacekeeping missions by evaluating the overall success or failure of Canada’s peacekeeping efforts. Students are jigsawed into four groups who examine articles and pictures of the following missions: Somalia, Rwanda, Croatia, Kosovo. The groups become familiar with the causes, events, and results of these missions. Students form new groups with a representative from the four missions and each person provides a brief summary of the mission. The group then discusses if, based on these missions, Canada should continue participating in such missions. The group writes its opinion on chart paper and includes point-form points to support its opinion. One member of each group presents the group’s decision.

3. Having seen the difficulties that our troops face in many peacekeeping missions, students now are given an opportunity to communicate with our troops by writing our forces presently involved in many foreign missions. The teacher may obtain the address of Canadian forces in peacekeeping missions and have the students write a letter to UN Canadian forces overseas to thank them for their efforts. Students write a draft of their letter that should include a brief background to the mission and students’ comprehension of the mission, an evaluation of the mission with a request that the soldiers respond or react to that evaluation and a positive personal message. This letter could be assessed using a simplified rubric (Appendix 5.4.1).

4. To lead into the last section of this activity the teacher asks students: Who makes decisions about sending Canadians on United Nation’s missions? (PM and parliament). The teacher should elicit from students the other roles played by prime ministers besides ordering Canadian forces to participate in United Nations’ missions. The teacher mentions to students that the prime minister plays an essential role in government. In the time period of this unit there have been two main prime ministers. The teacher asks students to identify these two. Begin by having students identify the present prime minister. The teacher should mention that both these prime ministers won back-to-back majority governments. Brainstorm with the class why they think these prime ministers were so successful. This is an indirect way of having students list the qualities they believe a successful prime minister should have. Examine the headlines from these elections and note how accurate the students’ suggestions were and have them list issues that were prominent during these elections (Appendix 5.4.2).

5. Students are told that they will be “interviewing” the two prime ministers in order to determine which was the better prime minister in the last decades of the twentieth century. The class is divided in half. One group prepares the questions for Chretien and the other speaks to Mulroney. Two students are selected to play the prime ministers. They review the achievements of the two men from their textbook, consultations with parents/guardians, and the teacher. The rest of the class works on developing general questions that attempt to elicit the main achievements of both men. The questioners take this information and the opinions of two sources from the community (parents/guardians, teachers, friends) and decide who was the better prime minister. Students write their opinion in a proper paragraph format: an introductory/topic sentence, three or four support sentences, and a concluding sentence. Paragraphs are evaluated for clarity of expression, depth of arguments, and proper spelling and grammar.

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