Museum Classroom: The Old Canals

Lesson: The Old Canals
Topic: The Welland Canals
Sub-Topic: Comparing Past and Present Welland Canals

Grade: 1-3

Activity: Welland Canals Past and Present Photos

Materials Required:

  • Pencil
  • Erasure
  • Scissors
  • Lined paper (for notes)

Materials Provided:

  • Welland Canals Past Photos
  • Welland Canals Present Photos
  • 5 W’s Triangle worksheet
  • Before and After 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. In addition, Print of the 5 W’s Triangle worksheet and Before and After graphic organizer. For this activity you will need a table or open floor space.

Note: if you do not have access to a printer, STCM recommend downloading both the 5W’s Triangle work sheets and Before and After graphic organizer and manually copying the worksheet on to blank/lined paper or simply viewing the documents and answering the questions on lined paper.

The Welland Canal is one of the most amazing man-made marvels ever constructed. The Welland Canal has remained a pivotal piece in St. Catharines history and economic growth and development. For almost 200 years, the Welland Canal has gone through various maintenance and placed in different locations throughout the city.

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. Use the five W’s worksheet to help prompt your investigations and use the 5 W’s Graphic Organizer.

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 Welland Canal Past 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 Welland Canal Present 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.

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. Compare 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? Use the Before and After graphic organizer to organize your findings

Wrap-up Discussion
Present your findings to family members and discuss any significant changes in the pictures. As a group 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?

Draw a historical monument for the old canals. Alternatively, draw a future use for the canal. This can include a short sentence explaining the drawing.

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