Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Differing Historical Views of the Avro Arrow
Ask students why they think
historians hold differing and at times very opposed viewpoints regarding
Then ask how one would distinguish between fact and opinion in the study of history, and how such a distinction might influence the way historians and others have arrived at their conclusions about the Avro Arrrow and its place in Canadian history.
Outline the Opportunity
Have students browse the topic The Avro Arrow: Canada's Broken Dream on the CBC Digital
Archives website to learn how various historians and
others interested in the issue of the Avro Arrow view the aircraft's place in
Canadian history and the decision to cancel the project developing it in 1959.
Students should note each person's background and summarize his or her opinion. Considering how backgrounds might influence opinions, students should decide how credible each viewpoint is, which they would regard as most reliable, and why.
Finally, have students formulate their own conclusions about the decision to cancel the Avro Arrow, and explain whether it was the right one for the government of the day to make at the time.
Revisit and Reflect
Have students share their summaries of the historical viewpoints on the Arrow, as well as their own conclusions on the issue. Students should further consider the problem of evaluating historical evidence, and how the same set of facts can lead people to such different conclusions. Discuss with the students the reliability and credibility of historical sources and eyewitnesses, as well as the reasons students used for determining a credible point of view.
Students can prepare and present a research report outlining the differing historical viewpoints on the Avro Arrow.