Eight Events Leading to Confederation

Concept(s) Historical Significance

Exemplary example of Historical Significance

Prepared for Grade(s) 7

Province AB

By shirley coughlan

Time Period(s) 1700-1800, 1800-1900

Time allotment Eight x sixty minute classes

Brief Description of the Task

Funding and support for the development of this lesson plan is the result of a grant from Alberta Education to support implementation of the K-12 Social Studies curriculum. Financial and in-kind support was also provided by the Calgary Regional Consortium (www.crcpd.ab.ca).

In this unit, students first work in small groups to examine 16 event cards outlining significant moments in Canadian history from 1755-1845. Using criteria for historical significance, students rate each of the 16 events. They then choose eight events they consider to be the most historically significant. Each group then uses a 'significance grid' to construct a chronological timeline of these eight events. Included in the timeline is a picture of the event and a justification as to why they deem the event to be historically significant.

Students then work individually to judge which event they personally consider to be the most historically significant. Based on their chosen event, each student designs a cover for an issue of "The Beaver" magazine and then writes an editor's note to explain the historical significance of the event.

Required Knowledge & Skills

1. Familiarity with the notion of historical significance (See The Historical Thinking Project website at www.historicalthinking.ca/concepts).
2. Familiarity with the "The Beaver" magazine (http://www.historysociety.ca/bea.asp).
3. Awareness of the various aspects of editorial writing (See the Alberta Social Studies Online Guide to Implementation for support materials to help students write an effective editorial: http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/sssm/html/writinganeffectiveeditorial...).

Detailed Instructions

Part A (Group project)

1. Begin the unit by asking students to list the three most significant events in their life. After students have listed these events on a piece of paper, ask them what made these events so significant. Using a mind map with significance at the centre, track student responses on the board (i.e. had a big effect on my life, was a major achievement for me). Once students have had a chance to respond, introduce the criteria for historical significance:

Resulted in change
– The event had deep consequences for many people
– The event affected many people
– The consequences of this event lasted for a long period of time
Revealing: The event sheds light on an aspect of the past; helps us understand the past in a new way

Help students see connections between the reasons why they chose particular events as significant in their own life with criteria for historical significance. You may wish to visit The Historical Thinking Project website for strategies to help students make these connections and better understand the concept of historical significance (www.historicalthinking.ca).

Explain that the purpose of this unit is to help students understand some of the tools historians use to decide which events in the past should be seen as historically significant. Clarify to students that the past is everything that ever happened to anyone anywhere. There is too much that has happened in the past to remember it all. Therefore, historians must choose which events, people, and developments are worth remembering. This is where historical significance comes in; these criteria help us decide which events are the most important.

2. Announce that you are going to present them with sixteen events that occurred before Confederation — the time when Canada became an independent country from Britain. As Canadian historians, their job is to determine the historical significance of these events as they relate to Confederation.

To prepare students for this task, select one of the events to work on together as a class. Using the expulsion of the Acadians in 1775 as an example, together with the students complete ATT 1 - Criteria for Historical Significance sheet. (Information about the Acadian expulsion can be found in the 16 Event Cards.)

Begin by asking students to read the card. On the board (or on an overhead projector) create a model template of the Criteria for Historical Significance sheet. Go over each criteria one by one — event had deep consequences, affected many people, consequences of the event lasted for a long period of time) — and ask students what evidence there is from the historical event card that would help them to decide to what extent this event fits the criteria for historical significance. Fill in the chart on the board with student responses.

Once completed, ask students what evidence may be lacking to determine historical significance. Ask students to come up with a series of inquiry questions that will guide them in finding this information (i.e. How many people were deported, how many people died during the deportation process, how did the character of the Maritimes change as a result of the Acadians being deported, what were some of the long term consequences of this event). Direct students to their textbook and any other resources you are able to provide to help them answer these questions. When students have found the information, ask them to rate the event in terms of its historical significance. Finish the practice example by offering some of your thoughts as to what degree this event fits the criteria for historical evidence.

3. Distribute sets of the 16 Historical Events cards to groups of three or four students (see ATT 2 - 16 Historical Events cards. Direct students to use the information on the cards to complete the "Criteria for Historical Significance" sheet for each event (16). Using the three criteria of historical significance, review how to rank the events on a scale from -2 to +2. Direct students to generate inquiry questions in order to find information they will needed to properly determine historical significance. If possible, co-ordinate time in the library where students will have access to computers to find the relevant information online as well as in other print resources. Have students divide up the events so that each member has an equal number of events to research for the group.

Once students have found the information they need to determine historical significance, have students rank order each event on the historical significance scale. When students complete this task they can then use their rankings to determine which eight events were the most historically significant. As this point, ask each group to orally present their conclusions. Have each group choose one event to use as an example of using criteria to determine historical significance. Ensure that students keep their sheets because they will need it for the next activity.

4. Teach/review the remaining seven events from the Program of Studies including the: Battle on the Plains of Abraham, Royal Proclamation, Quebec Act, Rebellion in the 13 Colonies, War of 1812, Great Migration and Act of Union (This information can be found in Voices and Visions: Chapters 5 & 6; Our Canada: Chapters 5-7).

5. Based on the new knowledge they have gained in learning about these seven events, ask students to re-evaluate their original choices. Once they have done this, explain to students that you would now like them to make a timeline that includes the eight events they have determined to be the most historically significant. On the x axis of the timeline have students plot four distinct lines, labeling them from bottom to top: 0, +2, +4, +6. Have students plot their events chronologically corresponding to the ranking they gave the event for historical significance. For each event have students include a picture and a brief explanation as to why they consider the event to be historically significant. Remind students that their explanation must be based on the criteria for historical significance. For an example see sample of student work (number 3) included with this lesson plan.

Part B (Individual project)

Activity 1: Design a magazine cover.

Share with students copies of "The Beaver" magazine (digital copies can be found on the website: http://www.historysociety.ca/bea.asp). As a class, examine and discuss the features and various elements included on the cover. Explain to students that they will create their own magazine cover, featuring the pre-Confederation event they believe to be the most historically significant. Review ATT 3 - "The Beaver" student information, and ATT 4 - Magazine cover rubric and discuss the expectations for this task.

Explain that the cover will need to contain the following elements:

– Name of the magazine (The Beaver: Canada's History Magazine)
– Headline for the feature article, (the event they personally select
as most historically significant) and a brief description of this event that will catch the reader's attention
– Reference to the seven other events that would be included in the magazine if an entire magazine were being produced (these might simply take the form of seven catchy headlines)
– Pictures with accompanying captions that will capture the reader's interest

You may wish students to design the cover using any appropriate desk top publishing program.

Activity 2: One-page article.

Students will write a full-page article in the form of an editorial that explains why the event they chose is the most historically significant event during this period of Canada' s past, using the criteria of historical significance

To help students write an effective editorial discuss the criteria and format of writing an opinion piece. To help students write an editorial that communicates a clear statement of purpose and presents convincing arguments in support of their position, visit the following link on the
Online Guide to Implementation for support materials: http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/sssm/html/writinganeffectiveeditorial...).

Help students organize their editorial using ATT 5 - Opinion piece planning sheet. Once they have worked through this process, direct them to write an editorial article based on the event they chose as the most historically significant.

Grade 7 Social Studies textbooks: "Voices and Visions" (Oxford Press); "Our Canada" (Nelson)


Historical Thinking:
1. Students will be able to identify and apply the criteria for historical significance (i.e. event had deep consequences for many people over a long period of time; revealing) to events leading to Confederation.
2. Using criteria for historical significance, students will be able to rank order the degree to which particular events leading to Confederation were historically significant.
3. Based on criteria for historical significance, students will be able to justify which event they consider to be the "most significant."

Alberta Social Studies Learning Outcomes:

Values and Attitudes

7.1.1 appreciate the influence of diverse Aboriginal, French and British peoples on events
leading to Confederation (C, I, TCC)

Knowledge and Understanding

7.1.5 assess, critically, the political competition between the French and the British in
attempting to control North America.
7.1.6 assess, critically, how political, economic and military events contributed to the
foundations of Canada.

Skills and Processes

7.S.1 develop skills of critical thinking and creative thinking
7.S.2 develop skills of historical thinking
7.S.4 demonstrate skills of decision making and problem solving
7.S.5 demonstrate skills of cooperation, conflict resolution and consensus building
7.S.7 apply the research process:
– develop a position that is supported by information gathered through research
– plan and conduct a search, using a wide variety of electronic sources
– evaluate the relevance of electronically accessed information to a particular topic
– analyze and synthesize information to produce an original work
7.S.8 demonstrate skills of oral, written and visual literacy

Student work

Exceeds Expectations

Student Work 1

Meets Expectations

Student Work 2

Below Expectations

Student Work 3

What is a Benchmark?

<p>John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising &amp; Marketing History,<br />Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections</p>

A surveyor cut a "benchmark" into a stone or a wall when measuring the altitude and/or level of a tract of land. A bracket called a "bench" was secured in the cut to mount the surveying equipment, and all subsequent measurements were made in reference to the position and height of that mark.

The term "benchmark" was first used around 1842 to refer to a standard of quality by which achievement may be measured.

The foundation documents available through the Benchmarks site attempt to help teachers establish standards for assessing student learning of the modes of thought that constitute historical thinking.

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History,
Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections