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Educational Resources

Lesson 2 - What's In a Symbol?

Synopsis

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Symbols reflect who we are and foster pride in being part of a larger identity -- in this case, Canada. Brainstorm with the class a list of symbols that have meaning to all Canadians -- that help create a common identity. What are some of the symbols of our Nationalism? (e.g. Canadian flag, Loonies and Toonies, national anthem, Mounties. Governor General's Awards, Order of Canada, etc).

Specific Expectations

Students will

  • identify a list of symbols that have meaning to all Canadians -- that help create a common identity
  • identify some of the symbols of our Nationalism
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the Canadian flag as a national symbol using a ranking system
  • evaluate the effectiveness of Canadian symbols in promoting the Canadian Identity

Preparation

1. Bookmark the Canadian Heritage website at www.pch.gc.ca/progs/cpsc-ccsp/index_e.cfm and the Historica website at www.histori.ca to learn more about Canadian symbols.

2. Have a Canadian flag on hand.

3. Print the Handout 2.1 The Canadian Flag - Evaluating Its Effectiveness, Handout 2.2 Choosing One from Many, and Handout 2.3 The Canadian Flag - Evaluation Rubric and make copies for all students

Time

90 minutes

Body of Lesson

1. Brainstorm with the class a list of symbols that have meaning to all Canadians -- that help create a common identity. What are some of the symbols of our Nationalism?:

  • Canadian flag
  • Loonies and Toonies
  • National anthem
  • Mounties
  • Governor General's Awards
  • Order of Canada, etc.

Note: You can learn more about Canadian symbols by going to the Canadian Heritage website at www.pch.gc.ca/progs/cpsc-ccsp/index_e.cfm.

2. Use the Canadian flag as an example to show the students the importance of symbols in understanding who we are. Lead the student learning with a series of inquiry questions such as the following:

  • Why did Prime Minister Pearson and his government feel Canada needed their own flag?
  • What issues did the selection committee have to address when choosing a design for the flag?
  • What were some of the options for the flag?
  • Why was there so much debate over this issue? Why did people feel so strongly?
  • How and why was the final choice made?
  • Why are symbols so important to promoting a common identity?

Students can find answers to some of these questions by watching the "Historica minutes" about the making of the flag found online at www.histori.ca. Follow the Minutes link. They can also research the answers at the Canadian Heritage Website www.pch.gc.ca/progs/cpsc-ccsp/index_e.cfm and follow the symbols link to the Canadian Flag or at other Internet sites.

3. Instruct them they'll need to decide whether or not the Canadian flag is an effective symbol of the Canadian identity. Instruct they'll need to gather evidence for their inquiry into whether or not the Canadian flag is an effective symbol of the Canadian identity. Distribute Handout 2.1 The Canadian Flag - Evaluating Its Effectiveness, and carefully read all the steps.

4. The Handout 2.2 Choosing One from Many, guides the students through the process of evaluating and making choices from more than one alternative as they evaluate the effectiveness of Canadian symbols in promoting the Canadian identity.

Assessment Opportunities

Collect Handout 2.1 The Canadian Flag - Evaluating Its Effectiveness and use Handout 2.3 Evaluation Rubric to assess their work.

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