Thinking Historically about 20th Century Canada

In the course overview unit, students are introduced to the six historical thinking concepts using activities that correspond to six events/topics of the twentieth century. 

Created by Rachel Collishaw Governor General's History Awards Winner 2013 recipient of the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

August 20, 2013

Unit Overview

In this series of lessons, students are introduced to the historical thinking concepts through examining five key events of the twentieth century in Canada (Prohibition, Japanese Internment, The Cold War, The October Crisis and The Oka Crisis). The series is designed to introduce both the twentieth century course and the concepts of historical thinking, so that students from diverse backgrounds will have a foundational starting point in both content and processes for the remainder of the course.

Time Required

About three weeks for the whole series. Each lesson is designed to be two class periods.

Historical Thinking Concept(s)

This lesson plan uses all six historical thinking concepts. This includes: establish historical significance, use primary source evidence, identify continuity and change, analyze cause and consequence, take historical perspectives, and understand the ethical dimension of historical interpretations.

Learning Outcomes

Student will:

  • Analyse historical events using the historical thinking concepts
  • Reflect on the relevance

The Lesson Activities

  1. Prohibition and Cause and Consequence
  2. Japanese Internment and Historical Perspectives
  3. Cold War and Change and Continuity
  4. October Crisis and Significance
  5. Oka Crisis and Primary Source Evidence and the Ethical Dimension

Materials/Resources: (hyperlink when possible)

The Historical Thinking Project – Historical Significance Template

The Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts (Nelson, 2013) - Bio-poem template (p. 167), Living Graph Activity (p. 94-95), Create a Memorial (p. 201), Guideposts to Historical Thinking (p. 10-11),

History Uncovered (Nelson, 2014)– What were the causes and consequences of Prohibition? (p. 52-53)

Canada: A People’s History (CBC, 2000) – Episode 12 – segment “Our Investment of Blood”

Minoru, A Memory of Exile (NFB, 1992)

Prohibition to Oka (Collishaw, 2013) – links to all resources needed

References

MacLaine, C., Baxendale, M. S., & Galbraith, R. (1990). This land is our land: the Mohawk revolt at Oka. Montréal: Optimum.

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance. Dir. Alanis Obomsawain. Studio B, National Film Board of Canada, 1993.

Assessment

Use the Guideposts for Historical Thinking found on page 10-11 in The Big Six, to guide students in their peer assessments, and then to assess students’ historical thinking in their final products. You can

Each lesson in the series is designed so that the teacher is giving groups and individual students observational feedback in the process of using the particular historical thinking concept to understand the events. The teacher can also give feedback on the journal entries to broaden students’ thinking.

Near the end of the unit, students select two of the products (eg. The bio-poem, the memorial, the letter, etc.) to improve through a process of peer review, then submit to the teacher for formal assessment. Use the Guideposts for Historical Thinking found on page 10-11 in The Big Six, to guide students in their peer assessments, and then to assess students’ historical thinking in their final products.

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