CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Climbing the Political Summit

History, Political Science, Visual Arts
2 lessons
To use information sources effectively, accurately record relevant information, and organize information in a meaningful way
In this introductory activity, students prepare a poster illustrating Jean Chrétien's political career.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Brainstorm what the students already know about Jean Chrétien. In groups of four or five, have students list the successes and challenges faced by the former prime minister throughout his political career. Invite students to share their lists and combine the information to create a class list.

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Jean Chrétien: From Pool Hall to Parliament Hill on the CBC Digital Archives website. In their groups, have students browse the following clips:


"The political up-and-comer", "Le petit gars de Shawinigan", "Inside the Indian Affairs Minister's office", "Finally Finance", "We won't give an inch!", "The dealmaker", "Losing the Liberal leadership", "Chrétien calls it quits"


Students search the CBC Digital Archives site and government websites for  information on Chrétien's personal life, educational background, constituencies, ministries, significant political accomplishments, and any other information they deem relevant. Students may use the download sheet Climbing the Political Summit to organize their findings.

Each group will prepare an illustrated poster that represents visually Chrétien's climb to the top portfolio of prime minister of Canada. Groups can discuss how to best represent this concept, and can draw or find visuals to support their work.

Revisit and Reflect

Have students display and discuss their posters, comparing and contrasting each group's work. Many similarities will likely exist. Encourage students to explain why they chose their visual metaphor.



Students can consider other analogies or metaphors to help them examine Chrétien's career. Possibilities might include paddling a canoe upstream, growing a garden, building a house, or piloting an airplane. Have them write a paragraph to explain the metaphor and why it is appropriate.

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