CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: A Constitutional Interview

2 lessons
To understand the role of historical figures in the constitutional debates
Students will prepare and present a role-play of a major Canadian historical, political figure.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students to name some historical, Canadian political figures, at both the federal and provincial levels. Ask them why these individuals were important to Canada's development. Ask them to name some of the Fathers of Confederation and any other individuals important to the building of Canada as a nation. List all responses.

Outline the Opportunity

Assign pairs of students one of the following people involved in the constitutional debates of 1867-1964: John A. Macdonald, N.W. Rowell and Joseph Sirois, W.L. Mackenzie King, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Morley Callaghan, Maurice Duplessis, Louis St-Laurent, Joseph Smallwood, Lester B. Pearson, Jean Lesage, Davie Fulton and Guy Favreau.

Have pairs browse the topic Canada's Constitutional Debate: What Makes a Nation? on the CBC Digital Archives website to gather information about their subject and the constitutional debate in which he was involved. (If students' subject is more than one person, students will need to work in groups of three.)

One member of each group will role-play the person. The other member will act as interviewer, posing questions to the historical character(s) about his role in the constitutional debate, if he believes he achieved his political goals, and how he contributed to Canadian independence.

Revisit and Reflect

Have each group present its role-play to the class. Students should be prepared to ask and answer questions following each role-play.

After each presentation, ask the class:

What are your impressions of the historical figure?

Have you changed your opinion of him and his role in Canadian history?

What were the historical figure's strengths? Weaknesses?

Was this figure a positive or negative influence on the growth of constitutional government in Canada?



Students can role-play a discussion between two of the historical figures who were not contemporaries. The two should discuss how they think modern Canada fails, meets, or surpasses the goals of the Fathers of Confederation.

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