CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Pierre Trudeau: First Impressions

History, Social Studies
1 lesson
To understand the impact of the entrance of Pierre Trudeau to Canadian politics in the 1960s
In this introductory activity, students browse the Trudeaumania topic to gain some initial knowledge and impressions of Pierre Trudeau.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students what they know about Pierre Trudeau's life and political significance for Canada. Many students may recall his state funeral in September 2000 as an occasion for national mourning and commemoration of this important figure in Canada's history.

Have students explain why they think his death received so much public attention, and affected so many people so profoundly. Inform them that, through exploring the CBC Digital Archives, they will have the opportunity to learn more about Trudeau and why so many Canadians found him appealing as a political personality when he first entered public life in the 1960s.

Outline the Opportunity


Have students browse the topics Trudeaumania: A Swinger for Prime Minister and Pierre Elliott Trudeau: Philosopher and Prime Minister for 10 to 15 minutes, watching and listening in any order they wish. As they explore, they should list the most interesting things they learned about Pierre Trudeau and his political career. Using their findings, students should write several paragraphs explaining why they think Trudeau was such an important figure in Canada's political life, and why his death and state funeral in September 2000 touched Canadians so deeply.


Revisit and Reflect


Write the following question on the board: Why did Pierre Trudeau's death receive so much attention, and why did it affect people so profoundly?

Have students work in groups to make a list of characteristics of Trudeau and/or his times that they think might explain his appeal and importance. Each group should then formulate an answer to the question, and then share its answer with the class. Once the class has considered the question, write the main ideas or impressions that have arisen from the discussion on the board, or have students make their own notes summarizing it.


Have students write a brief paragraph stating why they think Pierre Trudeau was an important Canadian leader. Ask them to think of three questions they would have liked to ask Trudeau, either at the beginning of his political career in the 1960s, or shortly before his death in 2000.

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Trudeaumania: A Swinger for Prime Minister

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