CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Sue Rodriguez and the Supreme Court of Canada

History, Political Science, Religious Studies
2 to 3 lessons
To investigate the process of appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada
Students dramatize one of Sue Rodriguez’s court appearances, outlining the arguments of lawyers on both sides.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Write Supreme Court of Canada on the board and ask students to provide you with as much information as they can on this topic. Record their answers on the board. Provide the class with as much information as necessary to ensure that they all have a basic knowledge of the role of the Supreme Court and the process by which cases ended being heard there, or allow them time to gather that information online and then discuss it as a class.

Outline the Opportunity


Explain to the students that they will be examining how the Supreme Court of Canada functions and the role it played in the case of Sue Rodriguez. Have students work in groups of three or four to browse the topic Sue Rodriguez and the Right-to-Die Debate on the CBC Digital Archives website and to collect as much information as they can on the legal battle waged by Sue Rodriguez. Special attention should be paid to the clips "Dying on her own terms", "B.C. court refuses Rodriguez's plea", "The final legal word", and "Behind the Supreme Court's decision."

In their groups, students will prepare a dramatization of one of Sue Rodriguez's court appearances. They should use their knowledge of both sides' arguments to create a short script that outlines both the arguments of the crown attorneys and of Sue Rodriguez and her lawyer.

Revisit and Reflect

Have students perform their dramatizations for the class. What do people find compelling about the dramatizations?


Students can prepare a Summary of Findings outlining the process of Rodriguez's legal fight. Their summary can also include an analysis of the Supreme Court's decision in the case.

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