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  • Continuity and Change
    9, 10, 11, 12

    What teenager has not thought that their parents were too strict with them? There is an episode of the Sopranos where Tony's daughter (Meadow) is complaining to her father about his blurred way of thinking and the tight rules he imposes on her. She says: "Dad, it is 2001, how can you think that way?" Tony replies, "It may be 2001 out there, but in this house it is 1951."

    This lesson explores the social and cultural trends in Canada through the 1950s and 1960s using primary source videos to understand the pace and type of change. This forms the springboard to examine the process of dividing the past into historical periods.

    The emphasis is on social and cultural change, but this could also be linked profitably to political, environmental or other change.

  • Historical Perspectives
    1700-1800, 1800-1900

    Students research the background of a voyageur and consider how this may contribute to the lifestyle they led. Examination of the biography and paintings of Frances Hopkins -- the wife of Hudson’s Bay official Edward Hopkins -- provides an alternative perspective to the voyageurs adventures that are commonly described in textbooks and other popular sources. A final perspective is considered when students look at the diary entries of John MacDonnel, a clerk for the Hudson Bay Company who travelled with voyageurs to Grand Portage on Lake Superior just south of present day Thunder Bay. Students will look at the evidence presented in all sources to develop an historically accurate perspective of voyageurs and those involved in the fur trade.

    The Life of a Voyageur - High
    Life of a Voyageur - middle
    Life of a Voyageur - low
  • Historical Significance, Primary Source Evidence

    The Dieppe raid has been described as a complete disaster and as a learning tool for the Allies. Historians and military experts have debated this point since the end of the raid. In this task, we ask students to examine primary and secondary documents to see how and why the opinion of the raid changed over time. The students are also asked why the Dieppe Raid is historically significant for Canadians.

  • Historical Significance
    1700-1800, 1800-1900

    Funding and support for the development of this lesson plan is the result of a grant from Alberta Education to support implementation of the K-12 Social Studies curriculum. Financial and in-kind support was also provided by the Calgary Regional Consortium (

    In this unit, students first work in small groups to examine 16 event cards outlining significant moments in Canadian history from 1755-1845. Using criteria for historical significance, students rate each of the 16 events. They then choose eight events they consider to be the most historically significant. Each group then uses a 'significance grid' to construct a chronological timeline of these eight events. Included in the timeline is a picture of the event and a justification as to why they deem the event to be historically significant.

    Students then work individually to judge which event they personally consider to be the most historically significant. Based on their chosen event, each student designs a cover for an issue of "The Beaver" magazine and then writes an editor's note to explain the historical significance of the event.

    Beaver Cover Exceeds Expectations
    Beaver Cover Meets Expectations
    Beaver Cover Below Expectations
  • Historical Significance

    The teacher will present students with the following scenario: A delegation of visitors from overseas is coming to their area. The class has been asked to develop a display depicting important events that helped shape elements of our current Canadian identity. The teacher will select a historical period that the class has studied for the students to present. The students' work will be on display at a reception for the visitors.
    Within this time frame, each student will select two or more events or people that he or she considers to have historical significance in shaping an element of Canadian identity. Each student will then research background materials, and select which one event or person is most significant in shaping Canadian identity. Students will then create an original visual representation of the event, or person and write a supporting statement of 3 • 5 paragraphs (300 • 500 words) evaluating the significance of their choice. Students will demonstrate how this event or person is significant by showing how it is very important to the larger history of the period and by showing how it clarifies our understanding of an enduring or emerging issue in Canadian history.

    Students will justify their choice of visual images used to represent the event or person. (Visuals may be representational or symbolic. For example, students may use the Canadian flag as a symbol of Canadian identity, regardless of the time period in which the chosen event occurred.)

What is a Benchmark?

<p>John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising &amp; Marketing History,<br />Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections</p>

A surveyor cut a "benchmark" into a stone or a wall when measuring the altitude and/or level of a tract of land. A bracket called a "bench" was secured in the cut to mount the surveying equipment, and all subsequent measurements were made in reference to the position and height of that mark.

The term "benchmark" was first used around 1842 to refer to a standard of quality by which achievement may be measured.

The foundation documents available through the Benchmarks site attempt to help teachers establish standards for assessing student learning of the modes of thought that constitute historical thinking.

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History,
Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections