CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Death Penalty in Canada: A History

Type:
Introductory
Subjects:
History, Social Studies, Political Science
Duration:
1 to 2 lessons
Purpose:
To explore the death penalty debate in Canada
Summary:
Students will collect information about the death penalty and prepare a short presentation on their findings.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Write the phrase "death penalty" on the board. Ask the class to brainstorm what they know about this topic and write down their comments on the board or chart paper. Identify the Canadian government's position on the death penalty.

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Death Penalty Debate on the CBC Digital Archives website. Divide the class into five groups and assign each group one set of the following clips.

 

"Murderer has dreams of being hanged", "Canada's hangman", "Death penalty abolished", and "Abolition upheld"

 

"Canada's last hanging", "Opinions on the noose", "Canadians split on death penalty in 1944", and "Death penalty statistics, 1965"

 

"Dief votes to abolish capital punishment" and "Diefenbaker comments on last execution"

 

"Quebec MP favours death penalty", "Prison guards support death penalty", "Canada's hangman", and "Bring back capital punishment"

 

"Quebec MP favours death penalty", "Laurier LaPierre weeps over Truscott case" and "No correlation between murder and death penalty: study"


Students should make sure to view the clips' "Did You Know?" sections as well. As they explore the clips, students should take note of important dates and facts.

Using their findings, each group will prepare a short presentation for the rest of the class in which they outline the highlights of the segments they viewed. Students may wish to use chart paper or the board to aid in their presentations.

Revisit and Reflect

Have groups share their presentations with the class. Students should be prepared to ask and answer questions. Ask the students what questions they still have about the death penalty. List these on the board or chart paper as a reference for any other activities you do on this topic.

Extension

The students can write a brief paragraph outlining the new ideas and facts they discovered on the website.

Related Content

1962: Canada's last executions

Picketers protest a double hanging at Toronto's Don Jail.

2004: Goodbye, Pierre Berton

The journalist, broadcaster and historian passes away in 2004 at age 84.

1982: Pianist Glenn Gould dies

Opera singer Maureen Forrester recalls performing with the great musician.

1970: Freak tornado kills six in Sudbury

Violent storm kills six and injures 200 in northern Ontario.

1981: Terry Fox dies

One month before his 23rd birthday, Terry Fox passes away in a B.C. hospital.

1982: Funeral for Gilles Villeneuve

Thousands come to mourn the death of legendary Formula One racer Gilles Villeneuve,