The Last Battle of Seven Oaks Puppet Play

In this lesson, students will create and perform a puppet play about the Battle of Seven Oaks.

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

Posted November 1, 2019

Grade Levels: 2, 3/4, 5/6

Subject Area: Social Studies/Language Arts/Fine Arts

This lesson is inspired by the article “The Last Battle of Seven Oaks” in the How Furs Built Canada issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids.

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, students will use the information from the article “The Last Battle of Seven Oaks” to create and perform a puppet play. Younger students can use a pre-set script, while older students can write their own script and create their own puppets.   

Time Required

Two to three 50-minute periods, depending on the grade level of the students.

Historical Thinking Concepts

  • Identify continuity and change
  • Analyze cause and consequence

Learning Outcomes

Social Studies

  • Correlate the impact of the land on the lifestyles and settlement patterns of the people.
  • Analyze the historic relationship of people to land in Canada.
  • Assess the impact of the environment on the lives of people living in Canada.
  • Identify the European influence on pre-Confederation Canadian society.

Language Arts

  • Writing a play based on a story
  • Reading a play

Fine Arts

  • Making a puppet to represent a character in a story

Student will:

  • Create and perform a puppet play using the information from the article “The Last Battle of Seven Oaks”.

Background Information

As stated in the How Furs Built Canada issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids:

“Lord Selkirk, who had a lot of money invested in the Hudson’s Bay Company, encouraged Scottish settlers to come to the Red River settlement in the area that is now Winnipeg.

In 1815, many settlers arrived, but they were too late to plant any crops. Miles Macdonell, a Bayman in charge of the Red River settlement, seized pemmican supplies from the Nor’Westers to feed the settlers. He then passed the Pemmican Proclamation banning the sale of pemmican to the Nor’Westers. Robert Semple, the governor of the Hudson’s Bay settlement on the Red River, tore down the Nor’Westers’ most important trading post, Fort Gibraltar.

On June 19, 1816, Semple and a group of about 25 Baymen left the fort at Seven Oaks to confront General Grant and 61 Nor’Westers and Métis. The Métis called this area Plaine des Grenouilles or Frog Plain.

In the fight, 21 Baymen including Semple, and one Métis, were killed. The head of the North West Company and many others were sent to Montreal for trial, but the investigators said neither side could be faulted completely and freed the men.

Over the next five years, the violence between the two companies grew worse. In 1820, Lord Selkirk died. The two companies merged the next year.”

The Lesson Activity

Activating: How will students be prepared for learning?

The teacher will read the story “The Last Battle of Seven Oaks” to students and then have a brief discussion.

Acquiring: What strategies facilitate learning for groups and individuals?

The teacher will divide the students into groups of five and give them copies of the story. They will also give students a copy of the criteria for the play writing assignment.

Applying: How will students demonstrate their understanding?

The students will create, practice and perform their puppet plays. 


Other material needed:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Construction paper
  • Pencil crayons
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue to adhere the popsicle to the puppets


Assessment Sheet for teacher, peer and self-assessment.

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