CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Rumours, Reactions, and Redemption?

History, Political Science, English Language Arts
2 to 3 lessons
To explore ways to honour the victims of a disaster
Students determine a way to commemorate the victims of the Air India disaster.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Explain to students that 15 years after the Air India bombing, the RCMP closed in on the suspects in what was deemed the "longest and most complex investigation in RCMP history." Discuss with students that through this tragedy, not only did families lose loved ones, but with so little resolved in the crime, people were left with feelings of despair, anger, mistrust, and so on.

Next, write these quotes on the board.

"The memories are so painful and at the same time so joyous."

"I'm totally indifferent to this, whether they catch, whether they find, whether they punish," he said. "It doesn't matter to me at all. Because after all, what has happened to me and what has happened to others, it cannot be reversed."

Discuss with students why the families might feel this way.

Outline the Opportunity

Divide the class into small groups. Direct groups to the topic The Air India Investigation on the CBC Digital Archives website.  Groups will explore the clips "Sentencing Inderjit Singh Reyat", "After Air India", "The verdict", and "20 years later", including the "Did You Know?" sections. Students should list and describe the responses of people, organizations, and government toward the disaster and investigation.

In their small groups, students will decide how to honour the victims. They should explore possible options with sensitivity, compassion, and understanding. Possibilities include: designing a plaque or a monument, developing a website, writing the script for a ceremony, creating a poem, composing music, or writing lyrics for a song.

Students will continue to work in their groups to produce a suitable memorial to the victims of the Air India disaster.

Assessment Tip

Evaluate student projects with a view to how they reflect human emotion, loss, and understanding, while balancing optimism about the future.


Revisit and Reflect


Groups will share their work with the class and discuss the various responses. Have a large group discussion about Prime Minister Martin's response to the tragedy. In particular, point out to students that Prime Minister Martin declared that a memorial would be built in Canada and there would be an annual day of remembrance for victims of terrorism. Ask students if they believe these options were appropriate and why.




Students can write the federal government to seek support for their project. They might also do research to determine if the federal government followed up on its pronouncement to build a memorial and to establish an annual day of remembrance for victims of terrorism.

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