Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Greatest Canadian
Ask students whether they know about
the CBC television programs that had viewers vote for the greatest Canadian and
the greatest Canadian invention. According to these programs, Canadians ranked
insulin as the number one Canadian invention, while Banting was ranked as the
fourth greatest Canadian. You can find additional information online.
As a class, develop a list of qualities and characteristics that a "great" person would possess. Students may find it helpful to refer to this list as they prepare their essay.
Outline the Opportunity
Have students view the clips titled "Banting
and Best develop the 'miracle cure'", "Egos and ownership", "A life cut short:
Sir Frederick Banting", and "Remembering Dr. Charles Best" on the topic Chasing a Cure for Diabetes on the CBC
Digital Archives website.
As they view these clips, they should note the
information presented about the life of Banting as well as his connection to
the discovery of insulin. Students might also want to view the clips titled "The Biography of Frederick Banting" and "Scientist, national hero, father -
Using the information they have gathered, students will
write a persuasive essay supporting or refuting Frederick Banting as the
greatest Canadian. Before they write, students may wish to discuss and develop
their ideas in small groups. Encourage students to read one another's essays
and offer constructive criticism.
You can assess student work using the Position Paper rubric in the Assessment Suite in the For Teachers section of the CBC Digital Archives website. Provide the rubric to students to help guide them as they write.
Revisit and Reflect
Have students read their essays to the class such that both points of view are represented. Ask: What characteristics constitute a great Canadian? Does a person have to be famous to be considered great?
Students can research other notable scientific discoveries from the "history of science" perspective (e.g., Watson and Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA, Gregor Mendel's laws of genetics, Galileo's view of the universe).