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ARCHIVED - The Canadian State
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Educational Resources

Teaching Overview

The Canadian State Web exhibition enables students to explore the various aspects of Canadian governance and to use a set of unique "real life" activities to create their own political party. The target age group of students is grade 11 to 1st-year university. The activities cover a wide variety of Social Science disciplines: History, Civics, Law, Language Arts, World Issues, Communications, and Canada in a North American Perspective.


This unit is flexible; it can be broken up into individual activities or used as a whole. There are five topics on Canadian governance, each with two images accompanying a thematic essay question, two activities, and links to related websites for further research. There is one over-arching culminating problem to solve, which ties all of the learning activities together. The culminating problem encourages students to apply their research in a hands-on situation and create their own political party.

Instructional support is offered in the form of rubrics to evaluate essay responses and class discussions.

Expected Learner Outcomes

By the end of this series of activities, students will be able to recognize and explain the following:

  • the role of national identity on a local and international scale
  • the role of Canadian economic independence
  • the role of international relations in Canada
  • the role of political language
  • the role of Canadian ideologies in relation to laws and national symbols

Curriculum Connections

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Curriculum Connections
Alberta 12 Social Studies: Perspectives on Citizenship
British Columbia and Yukon 11 Social Studies: Civics
12 Social Studies: Canada and the World: History and Geography
12 Social Studies: Law
Manitoba Senior 3 History: Canada: A Social and Political History
Senior 4 Geography: World Geography (Human Perspective)
Nova Scotia 11 History: Canadian History
12 History: Global History
New Brunswick 11 History: Canadian History
12 History: Canadian 19th - and 20th  - Century History
Newfoundland and Labrador 11 Social Studies: The Growth of the Global Perspective
Northwest Territories and Nunavut 11 History: American, Canadian
Ontario 11 Social Studies: Canadian Law
11 Social Studies: Politics
12 Social Studies: Canada: History, Identity, and Culture
12 Social Studies: Law: Canadian, International
12 Social Studies: Politics
Prince Edward Island 12 Social Studies: Canadian Studies: Canada in a North American Perspective and Prince Edward Island
Quebec Sec. IV History: History of Quebec and Canada
CEGEP History: History of International Relations since 1914
Saskatchewan 12 Social Studies: Canadian Issues
12 Social Studies: Law

Culminating Problem

Imagine the Governor General has called an election and the future of Canada is at stake. This is a perfect opportunity to take matters into your own hands and start your own political party. Where do you start? You have lofty goals to guide debate in Parliament, engage with Canada's constitutional legacy, and develop new policies and laws. Let the election race begin!

Student Activities

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Activity 1
Have a Party!
[PDF 233 KB] [RTF 1,555 KB]
Activity 2
Polling Canadians
[PDF 399 KB] [RTF 1,555 KB]
Activity 3
Writing a Political Speech
[PDF 369 KB] [RTF 1,871 KB]
Activity 4
Protecting the Vote
[PDF 236 KB] [RTF 1,305 KB]
Activity 5
True Patriot Love
[PDF 265 KB] [RTF 2,273 KB]
Activity 6
Calling Dr. Spin Doctor
[PDF 327 KB] [RTF 1,899 KB]
Activity 7
Law of the Land
[PDF 293 KB] [RTF 1,871 KB]
Activity 8
Fundamental Freedoms
[PDF 277 KB] [RTF 1,829 KB]
Activity 9
True North Strong and Free
[PDF 234 KB] [RTF 1,364 KB]
Activity 10
Money Doesn't Grow On Trees!
[PDF 273 KB] [RTF 1,633 KB]
Unit Plan [PDF 2,619 KB] [RTF 17,186 KB]

Evaluative Resources

Essay Question Rubric

Intended to aid in evaluating the overall quality of essay responses.

Additional Formats: [PDF 41 KB] [RTF 80 KB]

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INTRO/THESIS Topic sentence grabs attention.Thesis is clear, insightful, and succinct. Three supporting arguments are clear and varied. Topic sentence is somewhat unclear. Thesis is somewhat unclear, mixed between sentences, and somewhat insightful. Three supporting arguments are somewhat unclear. Topic sentence is unclear. Thesis is unclear with no new insights. Three supporting arguments show little variety. Topic sentence is absent. Thesis is absent or unclear. Supporting arguments are incomplete and/or unclear.  
FACTS Excellent use of facts. All supporting facts are accurate, clear and relate directly to thesis. Most supporting facts are accurate, generally clear, and generally relate to thesis. Some supporting facts are accurate, but others are unclear and/or do not relate to thesis. Few or no supporting facts are accurate; most are unclear and do not relate to thesis.  
ORGANIZATION Excellent organization. Five paragraphs each have opening sentence, main argument, supporting facts, closing sentence, and transition sentence. Each idea follows in logical sequence. Generally well organized. Has five paragraphs but they may lack one element. Ideas generally follow a logical sequence. Essay is somewhat organized, but lacks one paragraph and more than one element. Ideas follow a somewhat logical sequence. No organization evident. Essay lacks more than one paragraph and two or more elements. Ideas do not follow a logical sequence.  
FOCUS ON TOPIC Exceptional focus. All arguments relate to the main idea, give the reader new information, and provide insight. Generally good focus. Most arguments relate to the main idea and offer some new information and insight. Somewhat unclear focus. Some arguments relate to the main idea, but essay offers little new information or insight. Unclear focus. Few arguments relate to the main idea. Essay lacks new information or insight.  
MECHANICS Nearly flawless mechanics. Few, if any, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, or usage errors. Generally good mechanics. Three to four minor errors. No run-on sentences, comma splices, or inappropriate word usages. Some difficulty with mechanics. More than four minor errors, one to three major errors (such as run-on sentence, comma splice, or inappropriate word usage). Significant difficulty with mechanics. Many minor errors and more than three major errors.  

Discussion Questions Rubric

This rubric can be used to observe and evaluate the whole class, for student self-evaluation, or for peer evaluation of small group discussions. Ideas for using discussion questions:

  1. Assign different questions to small groups, allow them to discuss, and have them present their findings to the rest of the class.
  2. Allow students to choose questions for individual journal response.
  3. Post the questions in the classroom as ice-breakers for warm-up discussion before presenting an essay question or historical document, then revisit the questions after examining the document or drafting the essay, to see if responses have changed.

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COOPERATION Consistently able to judge appropriate time and turn to speak. Gauges responses of others. Generally able to judge appropriate time and turn to speak. Generally gauges responses of others. Somewhat able to judge appropriate time and turn to speak. Somewhat able to gauge responses of others. Rarely able to judge appropriate time and turn to speak. Rarely able to gauge responses of others.  
PARTICIPATION Contributions consistently inspire others to speak. Consistently supports and leads others in discussion. Contributions occasionally inspire others to speak. Sometimes supports and leads others in discussion. Contributions rarely inspire others to speak. Rarely supports and leads others in discussion. Rarely contributes. Does not lead or support others in discussion.  
CONTRIBUTION Observations are consistently insightful and reflective. Always refers to class material and links it to outside sources and personal experience. Observations are generally insightful and reflective. Generally refers to class material and links it to outside sources and personal experience. Observations are repetitions of class material. Makes few references to outside sources or experience. Observations are repetitions of class material. Makes no reference to outside sources or experience.