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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers: The Campaign Trail

Type: Webquest
Subjects: Social Studies, English Language Arts
Grades: Grades 6-8
Duration: 3 lessons
Purpose: To explore the role of campaign literature in a leadership race
Summary: Using a variety of Web-based resources, students will produce a campaign leaflet promoting Brian Mulroney during the 1983 leadership race for the Progressive Conservatives.


He'd tried it in 1976 and lost, but in 1983, Brian Mulroney finally won the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party on the fourth ballot. He had been criticized in the past for running a slick campaign; this time he kept it quiet and simple.

Encourage students to discuss what they know about leadership campaigns or about other races to be a leader, such as for mayor or for school council. Have them brainstorm the kind of promotional material they expect to see for a campaign, and what people might want to know about the candidates before voting.

The Task

Students will create a campaign leaflet promoting Brian Mulroney for leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party in 1983. Their leaflet should include background information about Mulroney, his stand on the issues of the day, and his plan to implement his policies. Students should also consider various aspects of design such as layout, colous, visuals, font styles, size of print, slogans, logo, and so on.

The Process

Students will work in pairs. They should spend some time brainstorming how they want to present their candidate.

Have students view the various clips as well as the Did You Know? sections, on the topic Brian Mulroney: The Negotiator on the CBC Digital Archives website. They can search further on the internet for additional information about Mulroney, as well as for ideas and information about design and communication strategies.


Display student work in the classroom. Discuss with them how political promotional material can affect public opinion.

Ask students to write a paragraph to describe the impact of a classmates' campaign leaflet. Ask them to discuss high impact leaflets and examine why. Students may consider how current campaign strategies have evolved in comparison to those utilized back in 1983.