CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Soldiers in Somalia

History, Social Studies
2 lessons
To develop a picture of Canadian soldiers’ experiences in Somalia
Students gather information and impressions to write an imaginary letter from a soldier in Somalia to family in Canada.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students what they know about peacekeeping missions. Prompt discussion with questions, such as the following:


What jobs are peacekeepers asked to do?

How are peacekeeping missions decided upon?

What challenges might soldiers face?

What personal motivations might a soldier have for wanting to participate in a peacekeeping mission?


Outline the Opportunity


Direct students to the topic The Somalia Affair on the CBC Digital Archives website and have them browse the clips "Somalia: culture, chaos and clans", "'Belet Huen is a peaceful place'", "Canadian soldiers under investigation", "Defending the Airborne Regiment", "Rampant racism in the Airborne Regiment", "Civil war and famine: Somalia," "Canadian forces in Somalia," and "Canadians leave Somalia."

Tell students to imagine the experience of a Canadian soldier in Somalia and to write a letter home from a soldier's point of view. Students should draw on the clips to include information about conditions in Somalia, tasks the soldiers perform, challenges the soldiers face, and the hopes and fears a soldier in Somalia might have experienced.

Revisit and Reflect

Have students meet in small groups to read their letters aloud to one another. Students should listen critically to each letter and comment on something that was particularly well presented and something that might be added. Give students time to revise their letters based on their classmates' comments.


Write the following on the board or chart paper: "One thing I think it is important for people to understand about the Canadian mission in Somalia is..."


Students can write complete sentences in their journal. Have volunteers share their sentences. Through discussion, identify key themes in the students' thinking about the affair.

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