Presenting� the Prime Ministers of Canada
A Teaching Strategy for Use with the National Library of
Canada's First Among Equals Website
It is important that students learn about the lives and accomplishments of Canadian prime ministers, as these leaders are a part of our heritage. It is also important that students begin to understand how political power is gained and used.
In this project, students will conduct research about Canada's prime ministers on the National Library of Canada's First Among Equals website and make a presentation about their findings.
Social Studies (History, prime ministers) and Language Arts
Learning Outcomes (WCP)
Social Studies Outcomes for this project (History):
In completing this project, students will:
- Demonstrate an understanding of how diverse groups and individuals have contributed to the historical, cultural, and economic development of Canada by:
- Identifying the main characteristics of one prime minister's life and term in office, in some detail
- Comparing the accomplishments of several prime ministers
Arts Outcomes for this project (Drama):
- Interpret ideas drawn from sources, and communicate these through drama techniques
Language Arts Outcomes for this project:
- Explain their interpretation of a written work, supporting it with evidence from the work and their own experience
- Communicate ideas and information for a variety of purposes and to specific audiences
O/V (Oral and Visual Communication):
- Listen to and communicate connected ideas and opinions clearly, concisely and appropriately
- Contribute and work constructively in groups
These Language Arts Outcomes correspond to:
- WCP GO - R: 3.2; W: 3.3; O/V: 4.4, 5.1
- Quebec objectives - 3 (Reading); 1 (Writing); 4, 1 (Oral)
- APEF CGO - R: 6; W: 9; O/V: 2, 2.1
Student Demonstration of Learning
Students will conduct research about prime ministers on the National Library of Canada's First Among Equals website and present their findings to their peers.
Computers with access to the Internet
Materials for presentations: card, scissors, glue, paper, etc.
The National Library's First Among Equals websites:
URL: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/primeministers (for ages 12 and up)
URL: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/primeministers/kids (for ages 9 to 11)
Students will need to be familiar with common Web navigation symbols, tools and terminology (e.g.: search, back, home page, etc.).
Enhancing Students' Interest
Ask which prime ministers the students can name. Specifically:
- Which prime minister do they think was the most important in history? Why?
- What makes a person important or special?
As a class, go to the National Library's First Among Equals website. (It is encouraged to explore the site as a class in order to offer general comments on some of the site's content and features.)
- Each group chooses (or is assigned) three prime ministers to research.
- Students can record information on the Student Handout or in their books.
Based on the findings of their research, each group selects a Prime Minister of interest to them to present to the class. It is recommended that educators encourage the selection of as great a variety of prime ministers as possible.
Students prepare a short presentation to the class on that prime minister. The use of multi-media or other techniques is encouraged, including overheads, posters and computer presentations.
In addition, students may wish to use dramatic techniques. For example:
- A simulated interview with the "prime minister".
- A fictional debate that conveys the information.
- A rap song (or any other kind).
Cue cards with important information could be used to help the audience.
After viewing all the presentations, each student completes the Prime Ministers Presentation Response Sheet on the Student Handout.
The class set of completed Prime Ministers Presentation Response Sheets should be presented, shared and discussed in a form that suits class needs and resources.
Students can write a short speculative paper on what qualities they would show if they were prime minister, and what actions they would take in governing Canada.
Notes on Enriching this Activity
Instructions / Assessment Criteria / Student Handout