Why and how did Canada become a nation?

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Overview of the Unit
Big Idea: Why and how did Canada become a nation?
This unit will explore how Canada became a nation by looking at the events that led up to the signing of the Dominion of Canada. This unit will begin by examining what life was like in British North America before Confederation. The unit will move into identifying key individuals who played a role in shaping the political process (i.e. Fathers of Confederation). From here the unit will progress into the internal and external factors that influenced the need for a unified nation. The unit will also examine the pros and cons for Confederation and the certain groups who were excluded from all political process (i.e. First Nations, Women, Chinese persons). The students will have the opportunity to make their own political cartoon or advertisement for or against the Confederation. This will integrate Media Literacy into the unit, as well as an Art component if they choose to draw a cartoon. The students will participate in an educational field trip to Parliament Hill where they will learn about the BNA Act and the makeup of parliament. Finally, this unit will make connections into contemporary Canadian issues with students having to critically reflect on Canada today. Throughout this unit students will be using maps as a conceptual tool to visualize how Canada expands throughout the course of the unit. This will integrate Geography with the constant use of maps.
This unit will combine Differentiated Strategies such as Co-Operative learning groups, visual aids, Learning Stations, small group discussions, class discussions as ways to meet the learning needs of all the students. Assessment will be balanced and use As, Of, and For Learning tools to provide immediate feedback and prepare students for the final summative.

Hannah Searson, Mark Naser, Veronica Nitschmann

Lesson 2 – Fathers of Confederation (and excluded groups)

Lesson Goals: Who were the key individuals involved in the political process? Which groups were excluded from this process?
Tasks: Read article about one Founding Father and discuss in “expert group” then perform jigsaw.
Assessment: Formative- Observation with note taking and looking for participation.

Lesson 1: Introduction to Confederation

Lesson Goals: What life was like in British North America before Confederation.

* Cooperative Leaning Groups
* Mapping Canada, Mapping BNA

Diagnostic – discussion of what Canada looked like before versus now.
Grade 8: Confederation

Read article

Lesson 4 – Factors For and Against Confederation

Lesson Goals: Using political cartoons and newspaper articles for persuasion at the time of Confederation.

Tasks: Create your own newspaper article or political cartoon including reasons for or against Confederation.

Assessment: Continued in Lesson 5

Lesson 3 – Factors that Influenced Confederation

Lesson Goals: Decline of Trade; Promise of economic success; Railroad; Threat of American invasion

Tasks: Canada: A People’s History: Episode 8- The Great Enterprise (video)

Assessment: Guided worksheet

Lesson 6 – Key Acts and Conferences Field Trip!!!

Lesson Goals: BNA Act, 72 Resolutions, Signing union of Canada

Tasks: Trip to Parliament Hill with a tour and a completion of a scavenger hunt.

Assessment AS Learning:
Hand in their scavenger hunt page.

Lesson 5 – Newspaper Articles and Political Cartoons

Lesson Goals:

Complete task from lesson 4.

Tasks: Gallery walk and discussion of students’ work for the last 20 minutes.

Assessment AS Learning:

Peer Evaluation with guided questions

Lesson 7: Ties to Modern Canada

Lesson Goals:
Making connections to contemporary issues with the use of critical questions.
*Create a new verse to the national anthem
* Learning Stations responding to critical questions on chart paper (i.e. what would Canada look like today if not all the provinces decided to join?)
Assessment: Observation by teacher for formative assessment.

Lesson 8 – Unit Test

Lesson Goals: The unit will be completed with a summative unit test.

Tasks: This test will be composed of four sections: multiple choice, short answer, long answer.

Assessment OF Learning:
Summative Unit Test



Grade 8 Confederation: Unit Layout
Class of 25 students
Lesson 1 – Introduction - Pre-Confederation British North America
* Hook Activity (20 minutes): Students get into pairs. Each pair is given a card that states what their academic strengths and weaknesses are. They must decide whether to join math camp.
* Debrief Discussion (5 minutes): Students discuss their cards. Teacher asks questions to students to have them connect their activity to the idea of “Confederation.”
* Cut out outline of what Canada looked like in 1867. Ask students what country they think it is. After a few guesses, inform them that the country was Canada. Elicit how it is different from the Canada we know today. This activity intends to get students thinking about the advantages and disadvantages that provinces and territories had for joining Confederation.
* Students get into groups of 3 (preselected by teacher) and pick out of a hat a pair of provinces/territories that they will become an “expert” on. They will be provided an assignment sheet that outlines their expectations. The pair of provinces will be based on geographic proximity rather than the date joined, leading students to see what kind of factors geographic location plays.
* Finish with a short video: What was life like in British North America? Show CBC video www.cbc.ca/history/EPHOMEEP8LE.html
Lesson 2 – Fathers of Confederation (and excluded groups)
* Students will be given materials to create flags that represent their provinces. These flags will be part of the timeline they will put together as a class.
* Ask if anyone has a $10 bill. Can students identify who is on it? What is his significance in Canadian history? Introduce the so-called “fathers of Confederation.”
* What groups were excluded from the political process in Confederation? (Discussion)
* Each must read in their groups an article pertaining to the father of Confederation most closely tied to their province/territory and then share with their co-op groups afterwards.
* Students will have their flags ready to put on the class timeline.
Lesson 3 – Factors that Influenced Confederation
Factors that Influenced Confederation
Decline of Trade
Promise of economic success
Threat of American invasion

* Students will watch a video [www.cbc.ca/history/EPHOMEEP8LE.html]
* Students will complete a worksheet for their portfolio. They must write about something that surprised them, something that they want to learn more about, and to answer a critical question.
Lesson 4 – Factors For and Against Confederation
Hook: Political Cartoons on Confederation – are these cartoons persuading people to or not to support Confederation? (Media Literacy Tie-in)
* Students start working on a one-page newspaper article or a cartoon that includes a catch-phrase that is either for or against the idea of Confederation.

Lesson 5 – Newspaper Articles and Political Cartoons

* Students will have a work period to continue working on their article/cartoon assignment.
The last 20 minutes will be a “gallery walk” where articles/cartoons for Confederation are on one side of the room, and those against are on another. Students will be given a partner whose work they have to peer evaluate on a form, indicating one thing they liked about their partner’s piece, one thing they would change, and one question.
Lesson 6 – Key Acts and Conferences
Field Trip!!!
Today we will go to Parliament and the students will learn about the following key ideas:
* The BNA Act (and the conferences)
* 72 resolutions and division of power
* Britain signs union of Canada
The students will have a scavenger hunt to complete.
Lesson 7 – Ties to Modern Canada
Hook: Students will hear the national anthem once they are seated. There will also a visual display of the lyrics on the smartboard so students can read/sing along.
* This will lead into a discussion on who is represented and who is left out by the current lyrics?
Discussion Questions
- Who is represented by the national anthem?
- How do you think people at the time of Confederation would have felt about using this song as their national anthem?
- How might they be angered by this song?
- How do you feel about the lyrics? Would you change any of them?
* Students will write another verse to the anthem where all Canadians are represented.
* Students move in groups to different stations. Each station will have a poster with a critical question, and students will have a chance to reflect and respond anonymously:
Critical Questions
What would Canada look like today if not all the provinces decided to join?
Should Canada join the U.S.and Mexico to become one “unified” nation? Why or why not?
What is national “pride”? Is “pride” always a good thing?
Should Canada keep its ties to the British monarchy? Why or why not?
Lesson 8 – Unit Test
Culminating activity: Unit Test
This test will be composed of four sections: multiple choice, short answer, long answer.
The long answer will be another critical question for the students to reflect on. A couple possibilities for this section include:
What are the advantages and disadvantages if Quebec were to separate?
Forms of Assessment:
Diagnostic: Discussion of what Canada looked like before versus now
Formative assessment:
- Worksheet
- timeline

Summative assessment:

- Newspaper articles / political cartoons
- Group presentations (including peer-evaluation)

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