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The CBC Halifax Explosion Site


Activity 4: Heroism Under Fire

Grades 11-12
Duration: 2 lessons


Students will express the meaning of heroism in a medium of their choice.

To support and express an opinion

History, Social Studies, Media Studies

Before Exploring
Discuss with students the nature of heroism and complete a brief organizer on the board noting the qualities the class believes are associated with heroism. Ask students to suggest historical and contemporary figures whom they consider to be "heroic." Do the people mentioned match the qualities on the board?

Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the CBC Halifax Explosion Web site. Have them read carefully the site. Provide them with the download sheet Heroism Organizer to keep a written record of their research and analysis. From their review, they should select examples of individual and/or collective heroism. Remind them that they may not always know the identities of the heroes, and that the content may not indicate that certain actions were heroic. Students must use their own judgement when identifying examples of heroism.

Using the information they have gathered, students will express the meaning of heroism through any medium of their choice (music, poetry, essay writing, video, visual arts, drama). They should use details from the site to inspire and inform their work.

Revisit and Reflect
Have students share their work with the class. You might set up a classroom museum where students can display their visual or written work and where there are set times for the performance of videos, songs, poetry, or dramatic readings.

As a class, discuss the question of heroism with respect to more recent tragedies such as the World Trade Center attacks. Do students believe that they have the qualities of heroes? Can one ever know in advance how one will act in a crisis or emergency? What is the most heroic act that they have witnessed? How might the actions of heroic Canadians in 1917 influence Canadians today?

Students can complete the project Heroism in Sports on the CBC Radio and Television Archives Web site.

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