Exploring the ‘Dirty 30s’ in Canada
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In the Canadian History curriculum, there is a vast breadth of significant historical events and time periods that are covered. At this stage in the curriculum, covering the years between 1929 to 1945, there are a multitude of elements that could be covered and many important questions that could be asked. Our goal with these lessons and this particular story is to engage student-focused and student-led learning while we explore different perspectives in Canada. We also hope to reveal Canada’s global position and the position of Canada in relation to other countries throughout this time period. As we progress through our story, we will start with the potential causes of the Great Depression. Students will consider various events within Canada that led up to the Great Depression. They will ask questions and formulate predictions. They will also begin to consider the various voices that were present in Canadian history. Which voices are being silenced? Whose story is considered to be the Canadian Identity? What does identity mean in Canada? The focus of this lesson will be the causes of the Great Depression and the eventual consequences they may have. In the second lesson, we will explore what was changing in Canada, from prices to the social climate. The main focus will be on contrasting what has stayed the same in order to understand how the Great Depression impacted Canada. To do we will look at key social events and movements to highlight the tensions that were happening between both the citizens and the governments and between different Canadians. We will touch on the Canadian government's response to these movements to further highlight the changes that were happening. In the third lesson, the class will begin to explore what else is going on in the world throughout this time period. A large focus will be the building tensions across Europe and the significance of appeasement strategies that Canada was a part of. The focus for this lesson will be the historical significance of global decisions. It will set the stage for the entrance into World War II and what Canada’s role may have been. In the fourth lesson of this set, we will be focusing on having the students engage with what they have learned in a summative assessment. Student’s will focus on a perspective and analyze how a certain group of Canadians would have been impacted by and felt about the Great Depression. They will discuss this as a class, speaking from their chosen perspective. This will be followed by a journal entry, again from that same perspective. This is intended to have students look at the Great Depression from different perspectives in order to help them make their own inferences and opinions about what happened. Overall, we hope to encourage students to consider the multiple perspectives in Canada. We hope to encourage students to question history, question the stories that are told. We hope that students will be able to use their own perspectives to write their own histories. We also hope to encourage students to become global citizens of history and to develop a clear foundation for historical inquiry.