CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Perspectives on a Tragic Life

1 to 2 lessons
To gather and summarize information about a person
In this introductory activity, students explore and describe the life of Dr. Gerald Bull from various perspectives.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Put students into groups of six. Ask students to describe an event in their life briefly from different perspectives. For example, they might talk about getting a pet. They might describe their feelings before, during, or after getting the pet. They might describe the event in purely factual terms. They might describe the event in terms of consequences and changes in their lives.

Outline the Opportunity

Write the following headings on the board: Scientific Accomplishments, Political Processes, Personal Tragedies. Tell students that they will be researching the life of Dr. Gerald Bull, a brilliant scientist who met a shadowy ending. They will look at his life in terms of the three categories provided. Have students create their own charts with these headings. Direct them to Dr. Gerald Bull: Scientist, Weapons Maker, Dreamer on the CBC Digital Archives website. Have them browse all the clips and list on their charts the facts that they find. For each heading, have students write a synopsis of the information they gathered.

Revisit and Reflect

Have volunteers read their synopses out loud. After two or three samples, lead an open discussion on why Bull's life was a tragedy. Keep the students focused on the three headings. For example, using the "political processes" category you could say that the inability of politically controlled organizations to explore alternatives to complete tasks can lead to disastrous consequences.


Students can write a summarizing essay incorporating all three perspectives.

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