Canadian Women Who Made a Difference

In this lesson, students will be introduced to the important role women had in Canadian society.

Created by Elizabeth Phipps Governor General's History Awards Winner 2012 recipient of the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

Posted February 7, 2019

This lesson is inspired by the article “74 Women Who Made a Difference,” in the Great Canadian Women issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids.

Lesson Overview 

In this lesson, students will be introduced to the important role women had in Canadian society. They will complete a short scavenger walk and then use information from the Winter 2019 issue of Kayak magazine to complete a chart about Canadian women. Finally, there will be an optional extension activity that consists of a research project about influential women in Canada.

Time Required

Approximately 2 hours:

  • 45 minutes for the introduction and scavenger walk,
  • 55 minutes to fill in the chart using information from Kayak
  • 20 minutes for the consolidation of student learning.  
  • The extension activity could take anywhere from a day to a week depending on the depth of research that is required.

Historical Thinking Concept(s)

  • Establish historical significance
  • Take historical perspectives
  • Understand the ethical dimension of historical interpretations.

Learning Outcomes

  • Comprehension
  • Application
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluation
  • Knowledge  

Student will:

  • learn that woman played an important role in Canadian history
  • choose the woman who they feel impacted Canadian History and state why

Background Information

Women are generally underrepresented in the documentation of Canadian history. As the editor of Kayak points out, “There are so many amazing women who have helped shape our country. Often their stories have been ignored, or more importance has been given to the men they may have worked alongside.”

The Lesson Activity

Activating: How will students be prepared for learning?

1. Minds on Activity

  • Give out a sticky note to each student and ask them to write the name of one famous Canadian
  • Make a chart on the white board or on chart paper with two columns: Men and Women
  • Ask students to come and place sticky note on the column where it fits the best
  • Discuss that women are underrepresented in Canadian history

2. Scavenger Walk

  • Print the 10 scavenger hunt cards on white paper and place them around the school, classroom, or library
  • Make enough copies of the scavenger hunt recording sheet for your students to work in pairs
  • Students will complete the scavenger hunt, filling in the recording sheet as they go

Acquiring: What strategies facilitate learning for groups and individuals?

  • ​Once the scavenger walk is completed, students return to the classroom and teams will get a copy of the Kayak magazine and a copy of the Canadian Women Who made a Difference large chart
  • Students partners will read the article “74 Women Who made a Difference” and using the information they find they will complete the chart
  • Differentiation – if completing the whole chart is not do-able then have the students Jigsaw the chart with different groups doing different sections and then working as a class to fill in the total chart.

Applying: How will students demonstrate their understanding?

  • Give each student a reflection sheet and individually students must select and write about the woman’s contribution to Canadian history or society made the biggest impression them.


Extension Activity

Make a “Canadian Women Who Made a Difference” classroom book or bulletin board.  Using the templates provided, each student will research one of the women highlighted in the Kayak magazine or research an influential woman in their own community.  This activity could take a few hours or a few days depending on the level of work expected.


Rubric templates provided can be used to assess both the large chart and the extension activity.   

Related to Lesson Plans