A Prairie Farm: Before and After Electrification

Students will create a brochure that compares and contrasts the changes to the rural farms of the Canadian Prairies before and after electrification.
Created by Elizabeth Phipps Governor General's History Awards Winner 2012 recipient of the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching and Heather Kevill Posted January 30, 2024

Lesson Overview

The lesson begins with the teacher activating students' prior knowledge by introducing them to Venn diagrams and their use in comparing and contrasting ideas. The lesson then moves onto acquiring new knowledge, where students work in pairs to read an article about rural prairie farms and complete a Venn diagram with activities done before and after electricity. Finally, students apply their understanding by creating a brochure on farm life before and after electrification using the Venn diagram as a guide. This lesson is an effective way to engage students in critical thinking and build their understanding of comparing and contrasting ideas.

Historical Thinking Concept(s)

  • Identify continuity and change
  • Analyze cause and consequence

Learning Outcomes

Students will…
  • identify, recognize, compare, contrast, write, and develop
  • Students will read the comic “Manitoba Trans’FARM’ation: Power comes to rural people.”
  • Using a Venn diagram graphic organizer, the students will gather information from the comic about farm life before electrification and after.
  • Students will create a brochure that compares and contrasts the changes to the rural farms of the Canadian Prairies before and after electrification.
  • Complete the final page of the brochure by using provided informational cards about different provincial government approaches to electrification on the Prairies.

Background Information

Lesson Activity

  • If your students are unfamiliar with Venn diagrams, introduce and discuss the use of the diagram for comparing and contrasting ideas.
  • Draw two overlapping large circles on a white board or chart paper. Ask students to tell you 5 things they did in the morning before they left for school. For example, students might say they brushed their teeth, ate breakfast, or played on their iPad. Make a list of students’ responses in one of the circles on the whiteboard or chart paper.
  • Then ask students to imagine what would be different if there was no electricity in their home. Make a second list of their responses in the other circle. If any responses are unaffected by the use of electricity, put the item in the middle overlapping circle.
  • Discuss the diagram and what it tells us about our dependance on electricity.
  • Put the students into pairs. Give each group a Venn diagram template and a copy of the February 2024 issue of Kayak magazine.
  • Explain to students that they will be reading an article and organizing information in a Venn diagram. Have them write down activities that were done on a rural prairie farm before electricity on one side of the diagram. On the other side, they will be writing about the activities done after electricity was introduced. If any activities remain unchanged from electricity, they should be put in the middle of the diagram.
  • Have the pairs read the article “Manitoba Trans’FARM’ation: Power comes to rural people” on page 20 and fill out their Venn diagram.
  • Once the Venn diagrams are complete, students will use their diagrams to guide them in creating a brochure that compares and contrasts farm life before and after electrification with the provided template.
  • Students can use the province-specific information cards to help them fill out the final page in their brochure.


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