Lesson Plan: Remembrance Dog Tag

Aim

To learn about and remember the Canadian Armed Forces members who gave their lives in service in Afghanistan by researching the Canadian Virtual War Memorial database and other on-line resources.

Objectives

Youth will be expected to:

  • learn about the military identity discs, known as ‘dog tags’, to better understand the contributions of Canadian Armed Forces members who died in Afghanistan and are found in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial; and
  • develop an awareness of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and achievements of Canadian Armed Forces members.

Target Audience

This activity is suitable for ages 12 to 18.

Sequence of Events and Anticipated Time Frame [75 minutes]

(This activity can be modified to fit available time.)

  • Introductory Discussion [15 minutes]
  • Research and Preparation [15 minutes]
  • Presentations [30 minutes]
  • Wrap-up Discussion [15 minutes]
  • Possible Extension Activity [variable]

Materials

Introductory Discussion [15 minutes]

Ask youth if they know what a military 'dog tag' is. Have they ever seen one?

This dog tag activity is designed to help them 'put a face on remembrance'. Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan have been the longest armed conflict in our country’s military history. It sadly has also been the deadliest since the Korean War. 158 Canadian Armed Forces members died during our country’s military efforts in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014. Taking a few moments to think about these men and women is a way to remember all those who served.

What is a Military Dog Tag?

A dog tag is a piece of formal identification for military personnel. It must be worn when soldiers are on duty. The name ‘dog tag’ comes from the similarity to real tags used to identify dogs. It is called an ‘identity disc’ or I disc. The tag bears important information on the individual, such as the name, rank, service number, blood type and religion (to call the appropriate clergy person in case of injury or death).

Identification tags have been worn by Canadian troops since the First World War. The Canadian tags are now designed to be broken in two pieces in the event of death; one piece remains with the deceased and the other piece is sent to the Department of National Defence.

Share that March 2014 marked the end of the Afghanistan mission and the return of the last Canadian troops. Talk about why it is important to recognize, remember and say thank you to those Canadians who bravely served in Afghanistan.

Research and Preparation [15 minutes]

Using cardboard paper for added strength, print the dog tag cards (PDF). They contain information about the Canadian Armed Forces members who died during our country’s engagement in Afghanistan.

  • Cut out the individual pieces. If you wish to re-use the dog tags, laminate them.
  • Make two holes in each of the dog tags and attach a piece of string or metal beaded chain.
  • Distribute the dog tags.
  • Have youth research the individual on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial Web site and ask them to add their fallen Canadian Armed Forces member’s service number and age directly on the dog tag.
  • They may search the Internet to find out more personal information about their fallen soldier, such as their hometown, place of enlistment, places where he/she served, cause of death, place of burial, etc., which could be included in their presentation.

What is the Canadian Virtual War Memorial?

This site contains a registry of information about the graves and memorials of more than 118,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served valiantly and gave their lives for their country. Included on this site are the memorials of more than 1,600 men and women who died in service to Canada since the Korean War, including peacekeeping and other operations. The site also contains digital images of photographs and personal memorabilia. The purpose of the Canadian Virtual War Memorial is to recognize and keep alive the memory of the achievements and sacrifices made by those who served Canada in the defence of freedom and so have contributed to the development of Canada as a nation.

Presentations [30 minutes]

Have each youth present 'his' or 'her' fallen Canadian Armed Forces member to the group.

Wrap-Up Discussion [15 minutes]

Lead a discussion around the dog tag activity by asking the following questions:

  • Do they better understand the contributions of Canadian Armed Forces members who died in service in Afghanistan?
  • Are there other ways to use the dog tags to honour those who served? (Note: for example, wearing the dog tag at a Remembrance Day ceremony, creating a ‘peace tree’ with all dog tags representing the ‘leaves’ of the tree, etc.)

Possible Extension Activity [variable]

Youth may wish to vary this activity by doing a research activity on a Canadian Armed Forces member from their town or region who served in Afghanistan and make a class presentation. If the Veteran is available and interested in coming, he or she could be invited to share his or her personal experiences there with the class.

Date modified: