CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Suburban Values

History, Political Science, English Language Arts
2 lessons
To consider the changing values associated with early suburban life
Students create a visual reflecting the changing values that suburbs helped bring to Canadian society in the 1950s.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Explain that the suburbs brought a whole new set of values to Canadian society. Central to these values was a return to the role of the traditional family. Ask: What changes would the idea of the traditional family have on life in the suburbs? Ask students to work with a partner and describe what life would be like for children, mothers, and fathers in the suburbs. Invite students to share their ideas.

Outline the Opportunity


Direct students to the topic So Long Cities, Hello Suburbs on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students should review the clips "White-picket dreams", "A music box on wheels", "Suburban living: 'It's perfect'", "Sex and the suburbs", and "Choose the suburbs!" to research in what ways the new values could be seen in the suburbs, for example, "stay-at-home" moms and "bread-winning" fathers. Working with the original partners, students create a visual that reflects these changing values.


Revisit and Reflect


Gather the class and have students present their visuals. Discuss the values reflected in each. Develop a list of beliefs that students think those visuals show.

Discuss the extent to which these values are still important in suburbs today.




Students can do further research to see how magazines, television, and radio reflected the values that were important in suburbs. Write a research paper explaining to what extent these values were reflected across all segments of society.

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