Lesson Plan: For Teachers: What Do You Think of the Link?
As a class, define the word "plebiscite." Ask students the following questions: Under what circumstances might governments find it necessary to hold a plebiscite? What are the advantages and disadvantages of plebiscites? What factors might be considered when holding a plebiscite about a type of transportation system linking an island to the mainland?
Outline the Opportunity
Have students view the clips "This
time, they're serious" and "The people speak" on the topic The Confederation Bridge: PEI Connects on the CBC Digital Archives
website. As they view, they will find and record different viewpoints about the
construction of a "fixed link" between PEI and N.B., in anticipation of taking
part in an upcoming plebiscite.
Students should organize their findings into
the following categories: technical feasibility, financial costs, environmental
impact, and social and economic factors.
After doing the research, each student will assume the role of an Islander, such as a farmer, a fisherman, a trucker, an environmentalist, a construction worker, a tour operator, a ferry worker. Students will participate in a town-hall meeting, in role as that person. To prepare, they can further organize their research to support the position they will take.
Revisit and Reflect
Hold a town-hall meeting and have students express their views about the possibility of a "fixed link." Students should be prepared to justify their position based on their research.
At the end of the meeting, hold a plebiscite. Compare the class results from this plebiscite to the Island plebiscite statistics presented in the clip "The people speak".
One or more interested students can role-play reporters covering the town-hall meeting and the vote. They might ask in-depth questions of various islanders, or videotape the proceedings and analyze the mood and comments of the participants and the factors that influenced them.