Lesson Plan: For Teachers: If That Doll Could Talk
Ask students for examples of action figures or dolls that
portray famous public figures. Why are these toys made? To whom do they appeal?
What features do they have? Why are they so popular?
Ask them if they can imagine an action figure or doll that represents a Canadian politician today. Do you think young people would like a doll like that? Why or why not?
Outline the Opportunity
students to the topic Sir John A.
Macdonald: Architect of Modern Canada on the CBC Digital Archives website.
Have them first examine the clip "Home-grown action figure", which describes
the Macdonald doll and its popularity. Have them note the reasons why Macdonald
is a good choice for such a toy, and why it became so popular when it appeared
on the market.
Working in pairs or groups, students will prepare and present an imaginary monologue that the Macdonald action figure could deliver, dealing with one of the topics on the site. These could include the following:
Macdonald's early years in Kingston, Ontario "Visiting the birthplace of Canada's first prime minister"
Macdonald's role in Confederation "Sir John A., father of Confederation"
Macdonald's first election victory as Prime Minister of Canada "A majority win for Macdonald"
Macdonald's love of alcohol "'A guy who liked to drink'"
Macdonald and the CPR "Nation-building: the transcontinental railroad"
What it's like to be a Sir John A. Macdonald action figure "Home-grown action figure"
Revisit and Reflect
students deliver their monologues to the rest of the class. If they wish, one
person can be the doll and the other can play the role of an interviewer.
Ask: What role do you think an action figure can serve in educating young people about Canadian history? Why?
Students can design a comic book to accompany the Sir John A. Macdonald action figure, illustrating some important events in his life, times, and political career.