Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Remembering Juno Beach
On June 6, 1944, thousands of Allied soldiers, many of them Canadian, invaded the Normandy coast of Nazi-occupied France, intent on bringing down the Nazi regime. The Canadians landed at the stretch of sand code-named Juno Beach. Many died there, but Juno Beach remains a great triumph in the fight for freedom. Each year and particularly each decade, Canadians hear about the great sacrifices and accomplishments of Canadian soldiers, sailors, and air personnel on June 6, 1944, at Juno Beach. Numerous regiments, units, air squadrons, and ships from Canada participated in this battle. Who were they? What did they accomplish? How did they suffer? What did it all mean for the world at that time? What does it mean for Canadians today? Why should we remember?
Students will research one of the Canadian fighting units that fought on D-Day. They will use presentation software to tell the history, accomplishments, and sacrifices of this unit, and develop a rationale for the value of the acts of that group, both as individuals and as a unit.
Have students work in pairs. They begin their research with the clip "One regiment's story" on the topic D-Day: Canadians Target Juno Beach on the CBC Digital Archives website. After they examine the clip, students can check for veterans' profiles at the Veterans Affairs Canada website, and/or read up on the Canadian regiments on the Juno Beach website, and choose another Canadian unit that participated in the Juno Beach raid. They will then continue researching online to gather the following information about their chosen unit:
Origins of the unit,
History of the unit in the Second World War,
Actions on D-Day and the weeks following, and
Current existence of the unit.
Finally, students answer the question: "Why should we remember those who fought at Juno Beach?". Students should keep a record of all sources consulted and used.
Have each group present its finished product to the class. Students should look for similarities and differences among the units profiled. Complete the assignment by discussing the value of remembering our soldiers, sailors, and air personnel from the past.