Museum Classroom: William Hamilton Merritt Biography Mobile

Lesson: William Hamilton Merritt Biography Mobile?
Topic: The Welland Canals
Sub-Topic: The History and Routes of the Four Welland Canals
Grades: 1-3

Activity: William Hamilton Merritt Biography Mobile

Materials Required:

– Blank paper/ Lined paper
– Pencil and eraser
– Pencil Crayons
– Scissors
– Tape
– Paper Plate
– String

Materials Provided:

– Merritt Bio Cards (6)
– Merritt Mobile Template (3)

Pre-Lesson Activity: Biography Mind-Map

On a blank piece of paper, formulate a Getting to Know You mind-map. With a partner or by yourself, brainstorm the type of things you might want to know about a person. For example: where are they from? How old are they? What is their favourite ice cream? What is an interesting fact about them that no one would guess? What was their best vacation?

The answers to these questions makes a biography of a person. A record of information about a person. Often, biographies are made about famous people who have done something very special.


William Hamilton Merritt is an important figure to the Niagara Region. He was one of the founding fathers of the Welland Canal, developing the idea and overseeing the construction of the First Welland Canal.

Make sure you have printed out three pages of the Merritt Mobile Template and William Hamilton Biography Cards. Using the William Hamilton Biography Cards, read the different facts about Mr. Merritt. Choose one fact to draw and restate in the appropriate spot on the template. For example, if you are reading the Interesting Facts cards, you will choose one interesting fact to share.

When all the information is collected, cut out your templates, and create a mobile from a paper plate and string. You may choose to draw a portrait of William Hamilton Merritt at the top of the paper plate or a printed image of him can be glued on. With assistance, tape your information templates to pieces of string. The string is then attached to the paper plate. Add a string to the center of the paper plate and hang the mobile up, if desired.

Wrap-up: Discussion

Once you have completed this activity discuss with your family who William Hamilton Merritt was, what he did, and why he is an important person to record details about him in a biography. What were some of the interesting facts you had learned from each biography card? Why did William Hamilton Merritt want to build the canal? Is he someone our community should celebrate and learn about? What else would you like to know about him?

Extension Activity:

Select and research another famous (or not so famous) Canadian and make your own biography mobile about them.

Provided Materials:

William Hamilton Merritt Biography Card (1)
William Hamilton Merritt Biography Card (2)
William Hamilton Merritt Biography Card 3
William Hamilton Merritt Biography Card 5
William Hamilton Merritt Mobile Template 3

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