Lesson Plan: Presidents and Prime Ministers
Ask students to name the current prime minister of Canada and president of the United States and give their opinions of each leader. Ask students to name as many previous prime ministers and presidents as they are able to, focusing on the post--Second World War period, and list their responses on the board or chart paper. Ask: Why is Canada's relationship with the United States so important? How might the personalities of different prime ministers and presidents affect that relationship?
If possible, post photos or drawings of several current and past prime ministers and presidents. Have students suggest and list their initial impressions of each person shown.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Mr. President Goes to Ottawa on the CBC Digital Archives website.
Have students browse the site in any order they wish, preparing a list of which leaders met each other in each clip, summarizing the main issues at stake in each meeting, and stating why these issues were important. Working in pairs or small groups, students will select one clip and prepare and present a mock broadcast news report or news program depicting the main events of one of the presidential visits.
Revisit and Reflect
After each group has presented its report, discuss what the students learned about Canada's relationship to the United States from the Second World War to the present. Compare the students' new impressions of the prime ministers and presidents with the lists from the introductory activity.
Students can create a political cartoon to depict the visit they detailed in their broadcast report.