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Beyond Normandy


To introduce learners to Canada’s role in the liberation of Belgium during the fall of 1944.


Students should:

  • Gain a general awareness of Canada’s role in the liberation of Belgium;
  • Remember, honour, and appreciate the achievements and sacrifices made by Canadians during the Second World War;
  • Contribute thoughts, ideas, and questions to group discussions; and
  • Listen critically to others’ points of view.

Target Audience

Grades 7-12, ages 12-18

Sequence Of Activities And Anticipated Time Frame

  1. Background: 10 minutes
  2. Activity: 40 minutes
  3. Closing: 10 minutes

Suggested Class Materials

Pre Class Assignment

Ask your students to become familiar with the history of Canada's participation in the liberation of Belgium by reading the Canada Belgium booklet and the Canada Remembers the Liberation of Belgium Public Information Sheet and be prepared to come to class and discuss what they have read.

Background (10 minutes)

Provide some background information on the Second World War by asking some general questions of the group regarding the causes of war, the various combatants, and the scope of the war on land, sea, and in the air, up until September 1944.

After a general overview of the Second World War has been given, engage the students in the lesson by asking them some more personalized questions such as:

  • Has anyone ever travelled to Europe? To Belgium?
  • Can anyone find Belgium on the map/globe?
  • Can anyone name any cities in Belgium?
  • What language or languages do the people of Belgium speak?
  • Can anyone name any countries or cities that are on or near Belgium’s borders?
  • Does anyone know someone who participated in the Second World War, or more specifically in the campaign to liberate Belgium from German occupation?

Activity (40 minutes)

Explain to the class that they are going to play a game of "Jeopardy!", which is very similar to the popular game show on television.

Based upon a class of thirty students, divide your class into five groups of six members. Have each group line up side by side, with the team members positioned one behind the other. Ask various questions based on the material the students were asked to review on the VAC website and from the Canada Remembers the Liberation of Belgium Public Information Sheet that you supplied them with.

The student at the front of each group’s line will have the opportunity to respond to the first question. The first student to raise his or her hand (or blow a whistle; ring a bell; buzz in, if a buzzer is available; etc.), will get a chance to answer. If the student answers correctly he or she wins a point for his or her team (keep track of points with a scoreboard on the chalk board or chart paper). If the student fails to answer the question correctly, the four other opponents at the front of the other lines have a chance to answer by being the first to indicate that they know. Each player receives only one chance to answer and if the correct answer is not given by any of the students, you will give the correct answer (just like Jeopardy!). All players at the front of the line now move to the back of the line and the next student from each group has a chance to answer the next question, and so on until all questions have been answered. A prize may be given to the team with the most points at the end of the game.

Closing (10 minutes)

Hold a short discussion based on today’s activity and allow the students to express their thoughts and feelings about the campaign to liberate Belgium from German occupation.

Follow-Up Activity

  1. Have students work in pairs to create a time line of the significant accomplishments of the First Canadian Army in France and Belgium from the end of the Normandy Campaign until the liberation of Belgium in late November 1944.
  2. Have students make a glossary of new words, terms, or phrases they have heard throughout today’s reading, "Jeopardy!" game, and discussion. Students may search for the word meanings in dictionaries and encyclopaedias, or invite them to search the Internet, especially the history section of Veterans Affairs Canada’s Web site.

Students may wish to add to their glossary throughout the whole unit, as new words, terms, or phrases are mentioned.

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