Museum Classroom: Re-purposing the Welland Canal

Lesson: Re-purposing the Welland Canal
Topic: The Welland Canals
Sub-Topic: Comparing the Past and Present Welland Canals
Grade: 4-8

Activity: Welland Canals Past and Present Photos

Materials Required:

  • Pencil
  • Erasure
  • Scissors

Materials Provided:

  • Welland Canals Past Photos
  • Welland Canals Present Photos
  • In the Future graphic organizer

Pre-Lesson: Discussion of Time
Before the activity, print of the Welland Canals Past Photos and cut them to create puzzle pieces. Cut up puzzle pieces based on age and level of difficulty.

For this activity, you will need a large table or open floor space. With a partner or family member, unscramble the Welland Canal Past Photos puzzle pieces to put together each picture. Once the puzzle has been completed, with your partner or family member, discuss the picture and formulate questions and make inferences based on the picture.

After you have completed the puzzle pieces to each Welland Canal past photo, review the corresponding Welland Canals present photos and continue the investigation process with these photos. Compared the past and present photos and discuss with your partner or family member their similarities and differences. What does it look like now compared to before? Is it still used? Can it still be used? Are the ships the same? If not, how are they different? Has anything been added? Discuss how the former canals have changed in the community over the years.  What has happened to the materials? Could it still be used? What is the importance of historical landmarks? And how can we preserve our history?

Note: if you do not have access to a printer, STCM has made this lesson virtual. Read the following steps below to complete the activity online. STCM recommend these steps be completed by the individual facilitating the lesson rather than the one completing the activity.

1. Download the Repurposing Welland Canal Photographs Adobe file to your computer.
2. Save the first 4 Welland Canal photographs to your computer. For instance, STCM-Welland-Canal-1.
3. Once you have downloaded all of the photos visit “I’m A Puzzle” at:
4. Select the yellow file folder next to “My pics”. A box will pop up with all of your computer files.
5. Locate your STCM Welland Canal photos and select one by double clicking or or open. This will load your picture onto the website.
6. Next to ‘Game Mode’ select which style of puzzle you would like.
7. Next to ‘Game Difficulty’ select how difficult you would like to make the puzzle. STCM recommends basing the level of difficulty based on grade and age range. You know your student best!
8. Once you have selected all of the puzzle modifications click start to generate your puzzle. Allow the individual(s) complete the activity to work on the puzzle.
9. Once the individual(s) have completed all of the puzzles, open the Repurposing Welland Canal Photographs Adobe document and allow them to view the corresponding present photographs to eat past photo.
10. Individually, with a partner or family member have them discuss and answer the questions above.
10. As these pictures will be used for the lesson later, STCM recommend opening multiple browser windows or tabs with the “I’m a Puzzle” link and creating all 4 puzzles for the individual(s) to complete. Do not exit the puzzle or refresh after the puzzle is complete as these pictures will be needed for the lesson below.

For this activity, imagine that it is many years into the future, and the Welland Canal is obsolete. Ships are either no longer used, or are larger than the canal can accommodate. The City of St. Catharines has asked for you to design a proposal to re-purpose the Welland Canal into something for the community. For this activity, work with a partner or family member to develop a slide presentation or detailed chart paper with your proposal stating your idea, reasoning, how it benefits the community and/or preserves history, sketch of their plan, and funding plans. Use the Future Use graphic organizer to organize your thoughts. It is important to take into consideration how the City of St. Catharines and the Niagara Region might be affected by the lack of ships going through the canal.

Wrap-up Discussion
Present your proposal to your family as if at a City Hall meeting. The audience is encouraged to ask questions and discuss your proposal. The audience will determine the top two ideas based on benefit to the community, historical preservation, and funding plans.

With a partner or group, create a skit composed entirely of maritime flags to communicate. Write a journal entry on your experience using non-verbal communication and the benefits and challenges you encountered.

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