CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - The Trudeau Era: Major Events

History, Political Science
1 to 2 weeks
To conduct Web-based research using audio and visual sources, to prepare and present a media work
Using the CBC Digital Archives website and other relevant resources, students will research the major historical events that took place in Canada during the Trudeau era (1968–84), focusing particularly on Pierre Trudeau’s impact on Canadian politics (“Trudeaumania”); the causes, events, and results of the October Crisis of 1970; the major developments in the debate over the reform of Canada’s Constitution during the Trudeau administration; and the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline of the early 1970s and public reaction to it. Students will research these topics and others of interest to them from the Trudeau era, and work in groups to prepare and present either a newspaper account or a broadcast newsmagazine about these events.

Lesson Plan

Before Project Launch


Consider launching the project in one of the following ways:


Present and review a brief reading from a history text and/or videotape dealing with the events of the Trudeau era, focusing on major political developments in Canada during this period (1968-84).


Have students list what they think were the most important Canadian events of the Trudeau era.


As a group, discuss students' views of Pierre Trudeau as a Canadian leader and why they think he is considered an important figure in Canadian history.  Have students conduct an Internet search using the following terms: Pierre Trudeau, October Crisis of 1970, Canada's Constitutional Debate, Mackenzie Valley Pipeline.


Outline the Project Parameters


Following the project launch, present and review the Project Outline carefully with students. Be sure that all parts of the task are clear.


The project includes the following worksheets that outline the task and provide tools for students to use as they work in their groups. You may wish to use all or only some of these sheets, which you can adapt to suit your needs and those of your students. Be sure that students understand how each sheet is to be used to support their work on this project.


For their research, students can consult the CBC Digital Archives website. Students should be encouraged to find other resources as well.


Project Outline: Hand out this sheet before beginning the project and review it carefully with students.

Major Events of the Trudeau Era: Students can use this tool to help focus their group research.

Research and Writing Tips: Review this sample list of research and writing tips with students.

Sample Research Log Sheet: Students can use this tool to maintain focus on their work. If you require it, students will include this sheet in their final submission.

Research Folder Checklist: Students can keep this sheet inside their research folder to remind them of the details of the research process.

Model Assessment Rubric: If you are using this rubric as part of your assessment procedure, review it with students early in the project so that they understand clearly how they will be assessed.

Talking About the Trudeau Era: Conversation Guide: Students can use this tool to discuss the results of their research and work with their peers before they finish the project. Discussion arising from this guide may lead to further reflection and refinement of students' thinking and conclusions about this period of Canada's history and the individuals who figured prominently.


Revisit and Reflect


When students have completed their research and delivered their presentation, they can review the information they collected and the conclusions they drew from it. You might want to do this in a whole class discussion or divide the class into small groups.

Students can also use the download sheet Talking About the Trudeau Era Conversation Guide in these groups. Students should use these discussions to refine the viewpoints highlighted in their presentations.



Students can use the newspapers or newsmagazines they created as the basis for a debate on the events of the Trudeau era (for example, the October Crisis of 1970, Mackenzie Valley Pipeline).

Students can create a timeline of the Trudeau era in Canadian history, highlighting the major events and developments that took place during this period, and their impact on Canada.

Discuss as a class the students' conclusions about Pierre Trudeau's legacy or of the continuing importance of the events that occurred in Canada during his administration.

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