Note to teacher: This lesson may be broken up into two parts.
Lesson: Historic Moments in Canada: Commemorating Contribution and Sacrifice
Topic: Exploring the lives of Canadian Soldiers
Activity: Researching and understanding Canadian soldiers and their actions
Theme: Human contributions and sacrifices during significant historical times
- Students will assess the significance of contributions of selected Canadian soldiers
- Students will expand their understanding of the concept of sacrifice
- Students will explore, organize, and analyze selected evidence
- Students will evaluate the actions of indivuals
- Electronic Device (computer, tablet, laptop)
- Blank piece of paper
- Comparing the Contributions and Sacrifices of Famous Canadians handout
- Reflection: Contribution handout
- Reflection: Sacrifice handout
- People of St. Catharines: World War II War Efforts handout
- Comparing the Contributions and Sacrifices of St. Catharines Men and Women who served in World War II handout
Pre-Lesson: Contribution to Society
Begin by asking students “What does it mean to make a contribution to society?” Allow students time to formulate thoughts and answer.
Teacher: A contribution can be a financial gift in the form of a donation or financial support but a contribution to society, or in the case of war, to one’s country, allies and democracy, it means something more.
Note to teacher: Students explore their understanding of what it means to contribute to society then determine criteria from which to assess the actions of Canadian public figures.
Break students up into small groups. Inform students that in their groups they will discuss what it means to contribute to society using the questions provided below. Students will then generate a list of characteristics from which 3 criteria will be used to assess different personalities. One student should take on the role of a scribe and record notes for the group.
Note to teacher: print off and handout copies of questions to each group or post them on a Smart Board.
Questions about contributions:
- What forms do contributions take? How do we see contributions in our lives?
- In what ways must actions benefit others to be considered contribution?
- How are individual and group contributions perceieved differently by people?
- How should the significance of a contribution be determined? Consider the historical thinking concept of significance: to what extent should a person or group actions:
- have resulted in change, with deep consequences, and affected many people over a long period of time?
- reveal anything that leads to a deeper understanding of the world?
- be part of a ‘meaningful place in a narrative’ (interpretation of the past of present)
Note to teacher: Students may identify characteristics like: benefiting others, gifts of time (volunteering), advocating a cause, guiding society (Harriet Tubman), membership in a group that offers services to less fortunate (Community Care), researching and discovering scientific discoveries (David Suzuki), advocating for others (Gord Downie).
As a class, discuss group answers and determine 3 top criteria to be used as a class in: Comparing the Contributions and Sacrifices of Famous Canadians.
- Download and print the Comparing the Contributions and Sacrifices of Famous Canadians handout. If you cannot print, we recommend downloading the Adobe or Word version of the handout.
Inform students that they are to select 3 famous Canadian from the list below and write their names on the handout in the space provided. Students are to conduct research from reliable sources and list what they feel are their top contributions to society under their names. Once they are finished, students must then apply the 3 class criteria into a single contribution score for each person between 0-5, 0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest score.
Julia Verlyn LaMarch
Once students have completed the contribution portion of the handout distribute the Reflection: Contribution handout and ask students to think and reflect on the following question: Why is it difficult to compare the contributions of three different people who do not share common experiences? What factors did you take into consideration when making your decision?
- Download and print the Reflection: Contribution handout. If you cannot print, we recommend downloading the Adobe or Word version of the handout.
Note to teacher: Through guided inquiry, determine the class criteria for the concept of personal sacrifice.
Write down or project on a Smart Boar the following definition of personal sacrifice:
“To give-up something that is valuable to you for others or a cause.”
As a class, discuss the criteria provided and choose 3 that students will use to assess their chosen Canadians.
Note to teacher: distribute copies of criteria or project on Smart Board.
- Degree: giving-up own needs versus dying for a cause,
- Scale: the number of people making the sacrifice and/or benefiting from it.
- Cost: loss or suffering to the individual or group;
- Perception: the benefit to others for whom it was made; and,
- Significance: the principle or ideal for which the sacrifice was made
Once students have decided on the criteria, inform students they are to go back to their Comparing the Contributions and Sacrifices of Famous Canadians handout and list what they think the sacrifices under each individual are. Students must then apply the 3 class criteria into a single score between 0-5, 0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest score markers on the lines ‘sacrifice.’
Once students have completed the sacrifice portion of the handout distribute the Reflection: Sacrifice handout and ask students to think and reflect on the following question: Does taking personal sacrifice into consideration change your outlook on each individual’s contribution to society? Explain your reasoning.
- Download and print the Reflection: Sacrifice handout. If you cannot print, we recommend downloading the Adobe or Word version of the handout.
St. Catharines Connection – Exploring the Context
Students will transfer their new awareness and understanding of contribution and sacrifice to Canadian women and men who served in World War II.
Begin by asking students what do they know about World War II from a global perspective, followed by a national perspective and lastly local perspective. Allow 5-10 minutes of discussion.
Read the following excerpt to students and encourage them to reflect on what they are listening to.
The Second World War began at dawn on September 1, 1939, as the German Armies swept into Poland. The German armoured divisions destroyed Polish defences in the west. As previously agreed with Germany, the Soviet troops crossed the eastern frontier. Trapped between two advancing armies, Polish resistance ended and Poland Surrendered.
On September 7th, 1939 Parliament met in a special session and on September 9th, 1939, the war officially began for Canada when Parliament voted to support the British and French against the German incursions in Poland.
The Second World War went on to last six years and left a legacy of death and destruction. Truly a world war, it encircled the globe from the Atlantic to the Pacific and touching the far reaches of the Arctic. Soldiers were not only confined to battlefields, for new weapons of destruction made war possible on land, in the air, and beneath the seas.
During the six years that this war raged across the globe, 1,086,343 Canadian men and women enlisted. At the time, Canada had a population of 12 million, making this a significant contribution to the war effort.
Of the lives lost, 43,671 were killed, including 2,343 from the Royal Canadian Navy, 22, 917 from the Army, 17,101 from the Royal Canadian Air Force and 1,629 from the Merchant Marine. Additionally, more than 50,000 were injured with approximately 29,000 deemed seriously disabled form their wounds.
Financial costs greatly effected the country totalling to an estimated $21,786,077,519 – not including the cost of post-war medical expenses and payments to dependents and pensions for veterans.
The war ended for many Canadian on May 7th, 1945 with Victory in Europe. Canadians continued to fight in the Asian theatre for a few more months and ended on August 14th, 1945 with Victory in Japan.
For the City of St. Catharines, it is estimated that 4,000 men and 150 women enlisted in the armed forces with 215 losing their lives.
Allow a short discussion following the excerpt and ask students what information stood out to them and why.
Explain to students that they are going to be conducting research on three St. Catharines locals who served in World War II. Students will explore who each individual is and their war efforts and record the information on their People of St. Catharines: World War II War Efforts handout. Once students have completed their People of St. Catharines: World War II War Efforts handout, distribute the Comparing the Contributions and Sacrifices of St. Catharines Men and Women who served in World War II handout. Explain to students that they will plot for each individual the way they did for the famous Canadians they picked.
- Download and print the People of St. Catharines: World War II War Efforts handout. If you cannot print, STCM recommend downloading the Adobe or Word version of the handout.
- Download and print the Comparing the Contributions and Sacrifices of St. Catharines Men and Women who served in World War II handout. If you cannot print, STCM recommend downloading the Adobe or Word version of the handout.
Take up the sheets as a class and discuss the score students gave to each individual. Ask students why they scored each individual the way they did.
Wrap up Discussion
Consolidation – Commemorating Canadian men and women who served in World War II
Write or project on a Smart Board the following questions and discuss with students as a class.
Does your understanding and perception of contribution and sacrifice change when you consider individuals who fought in the Second World War to defeat Germany?
How can the contributions and sacrifices made by an individual be measured against the collective efforts of the Allied forces fighting in the war?
What can you do to commemorate individuals who have fought and served in the First and Second World Wars and continue to serve?
Students who have cognitive, learning, or mobility issues may verbally describe their answers in addition to their reflection piece or use an assisted learning device (i.e. computer, iPad, tablet, etc.) to complete the handouts.
As a class, explore the Historypin: Coming Home: St. Catharines and the End of WWII and read about the many stories of the Canadian men and women who served during WWII.