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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers: A Marijuana Debate Timeline

Type: Assignment
Subjects: History, Political Science, Social Studies
Grades: Grades 6-8
Duration: 1 lesson
Purpose: To identify the sequence of events related to an ongoing issue
Summary: Students will create a timeline tracking the debate over marijuana prohibition in Canada.

Before Exploring

Ask students to explain what a timeline is and what it looks like. Draw a sample timeline on the board and ask students to explain the advantages of creating a timeline for an issue.

Outline the Opportunity

Explain to students that they are going to create a timeline tracking the debate over marijuana prohibition in Canada. Direct students to the topic Pot and Politics: Canada and the Marijuana Debate on the CBC Digital Archives website. In groups of two or three they will explore the topic, paying particular attention to the sections entitled Did You Know? to find the significant dates and events in the marijuana debate. They should record the date and a brief description of each event.

Using the information they have gathered, students will plot the events on a timeline.

Revisit and Reflect

Have each group present its timeline to the class. As a class, discuss which events students think are the most significant in the history of the debate and why.

Examine the timeline in detail. Assign groups of students to research other historical events in a year or a range of years for each major event on the timeline. Each group should describe the historical context researched and explain how, if at all, the historical context may have affected the marijuana debate.


If students have already begun bringing to class articles about the topic, they can expand the timeline to include the events in those articles.

Students can continue to track the developments in the marijuana debate for several weeks or months, or for the school year. They should add any major events to the timeline.