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Lesson Plan: Forget-me-not

Aim

To increase youth awareness of the 100th anniversary of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel in the First World War, and in particular, remember the sacrifices and achievements made by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Objectives

Youth will be expected to:

  • develop a basic understanding of the Canadian efforts at the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont Hamel;
  • develop an awareness of the importance of Memorial Day (July 1st) in Newfoundland; and
  • develop an awareness of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and achievements of those who served and died at Beaumont-Hamel during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 by the wearing of the forget-me-not flower.

Target audience

This activity is suitable for ages 5 to 7.

Sequence of events and anticipated time frame [30 minutes]

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

  • Discussion [10 minutes]
  • Read aloud [5 minutes]
  • Colouring sheet activity [15 minutes]

Materials

Discussion [10 minutes]

Have a brief discussion with your students about what makes a person a friend. Discuss sharing, playing together, helping, etc. Then shift the conversation to what they think a whole country could do to be a friend.

Provide the children with a bit of an understanding about the First World War. Talk about how the war began more than 100 years ago, well before their parents and even their grandparents were born! Look at a world map and locate the continent of Europe. Discuss and show them how far away Europe is from Canada. See if they can spot Newfoundland and Labrador and their own province or territory, and then see if they can find France. Discuss how far away from each other these places are.

Mention that the war started in Europe when some of the countries there were “bullying” some other countries. In places like France, people and families lost their homes, and many people were cold and hungry. Newfoundlanders decided to help make this bullying stop, and they sent hundreds of soldiers to help.

Some of these brave people were fathers or young sons. It was probably hard for them to leave their families in Canada and go so far away to risk their lives. What would their families be feeling? What would the young men be feeling? Does any child in the class have a parent who has to travel far away for work? If so, how did it make them feel? Or how do you think it would make you feel?

The Newfoundland soldiers fought in many difficult battles, but at the battle of Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916, many soldiers died and it was a terrible day in Newfoundland history. Some 800 Newfoundlanders went into battle that morning and sadly, more than 700 of these brave soldiers would be killed, wounded or go missing in the fighting. This made the families and people living in Newfoundland very sad.

Read aloud [5 minutes]

Read aloud the story ”Forget-me-not” to help students understand how on July 1, 1917, one year after that tragic battle, Newfoundland chose the blue forget-me-not flower as the flower to wear every July 1st on Memorial Day to remember those brave soldiers who died.

Colouring sheet activity [15 minutes]

Provide the children with a forget-me-not flowers colouring sheet. Once completed, you may wish to display them on the wall in your school, and perhaps you could take a picture and share it on social media, such as the Canada Remembers Facebook page.

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