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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers: Constitutional Timeline with Terms and Concepts

Type: Assignment
Subjects: History, Political Science
Grades: Grades 9-10
Duration: 2 lessons
Purpose: To summarize and organize information in chronological sequence, to explain the meaning and significance of key terms and concepts
Summary: Students create a timeline or prepare a list of key terms and concepts related to Canada’s constitutional history from the late 1960s to 1982.

Before Exploring

Ask: Why is it important to know how to organize historical information in chronological order? How would this skill help you learn about the process of patriating Canada's constitution? Why is it important to learn the meaning and significance of key terms and concepts when studying a new topic in history or political science?

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Charting the Future: Canada's New Constitution on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students will create either a timeline or a list of key terms and concepts related to patriation of the Canadian constitution and prepare their work on either a chart or a board organizer. Have students form four groups. Assign each group one of the topics below:

Timeline of main events from February 1968 to June 1978

Timeline of main events from June 1978 to April 1982

Key terms and concepts: federalism, British North America Act (1867), patriation, Victoria Charter, constitutional amendments, sovereignty-association

Key terms and concepts: Quebec referendum (1980), "gang of eight," "Kitchen Accord," Supreme Court, "opt-out" clause, Constitutional Act (1982), Charter of Rights and Freedoms, "notwithstanding clause," "night of the long knives," Aboriginal rights

Revisit and Reflect

Have each group present its information to the class and post the charts and organizers for reference. Discuss which events in the timeline students think were most important in the process leading up to the patriation of the Constitution. Encourage students to use the key terms and concepts in sentences to show an understanding of the meaning of those terms and concepts.


Students can prepare questions in a game-show format based on the important events in the timeline and the key terms and concepts. Interested students can participate in the game.