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Lighthouses: Beacons of Change
This classroom activity is inspired by the “Lighthouse Stories” issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids.
For hundreds of years, lighthouses have helped keep ships and their passengers, crew and cargo safe. Today, lighthouses can be found all across Canada — some are still working, some have found a whole new life, and a few aren’t even lighthouses at all!
In this activity, students will consider the ways in which lighthouses have changed and stayed the same in Canada. Using the “Lighthouse Stories” issue of Kayak as a guide, have your students explore some of the lighthouses found in Canada. They will read about the features of lighthouses and how their signals have changed over centuries. They will also discover lighthouses that they can visit and learn about some of the ways people interact with lighthouses today.
Here are some guiding questions you can ask your students:
- What were the historic roles of lighthouses and their keepers?
- What are some of the design features associated with historic lighthouses? What were the functions of these elements?
- How have advancements in technology changed the ways that lighthouses signal?
- How have advancements in technology changed the roles of lighthouse keepers?
- How do people interact with lighthouses today? In what ways have the roles of lighthouses stayed the same and in what ways have they changed?
- Are there any lighthouses near your community? What is the history of that lighthouse? When was it built? Why was it built? Is it still a working lighthouse today? Is it accessible to visitors? If so, in what ways do they promote tourism and the heritage value of the site?
Have your students research the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act and discover the more than 100 designated heritage lighthouses in Canada. Ask them: How do lighthouses contribute to Canada’s identity, culture, and landscape? How does the Canadian government work to ensure that heritage lighthouses are conserved and protected for future generations?