Canada House - Lesson Plan

Aim

To provide a general understanding of D-Day and the sacrifices and achievements made by Canadians in the Second World War in the pursuit of peace and freedom.

Objectives

Youth will be expected to:

  • develop an understanding of the history of the Second World War and the reasons why Canadians and Allied countries participated;
  • develop an understanding of the involvement and experiences of Canadians in the Second World War, in particular on June 6, 1944 (D-Day, the first day of the Battle of Normandy);
  • develop an understanding of the significance of Canada House being the first home liberated on D-Day; and
  • develop an understanding of human rights and freedoms, and the importance of when we need to stand up and protect those rights for ourselves and others.

Target audience

This activity is suitable for ages 8 to 12.

Sequence of events and anticipated time frame [45 minutes]

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

Recommended materials

Introductory discussion [10 min]

Before introducing D-Day and the Battle of Normandy to your students, you may wish to read the fact sheet Canada Remembers D-Day and the Battle of Normandy to familiarize yourself with Canada’s efforts there.

Brainstorm with youth on what they know about wars. Do they know of any times when our country has had to fight in a conflict? Have they heard of the Second World War? Have they heard of D-Day or Juno Beach? You may wish to record their responses.

Show where Normandy, France, is on a world map and how far away it is from your home province or territory. Explain how wars are hard and very dangerous for those who serve in them. You could discuss things like the terrain or share other basic information about the battle and the bravery of those who fought.

Share that 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, and it is an important milestone. Even 75 years later, Canadians and French people still remember those who served and sacrificed in this important battle.

Canada House handout and discussion [15 min]

Read aloud or distribute the Canada House handout and discuss as a group.

How do the students feel about what the Canadians did to help out in France? How do they feel about Germany occupying France? How does it make them feel knowing that Canadians can still visit this house where soldiers came ashore and where some died in the cause of peace and freedom?

Talk about concepts of peace, such as:

  • Our individual actions affect not only ourselves, or those in our family, but they also affect other people in other places;
  • It is important that we are tolerant of those who are different from us;
  • We need to fear less about people and cultures that are different; and
  • We need to respect one another’s human rights.

Word search activity [10 minutes]

Distribute the word search activity sheet (PDF) and have children find the words relating to Canada’s efforts on D-Day and in the Battle of Normandy.

Conclusion [10 minutes]

Open a class discussion on what the youth have learned. Take the opportunity to discuss any personal reflections that students may have regarding the experiences of the Canadians on D-Day and during the war. Is war ever worth it? Is it important to remember what Canadians did in war? How would the people of France and Europe feel about Canadians who served to help them in the war? What are ways that we can have a peaceful classroom, community and country?

Extension activity: Convention on the Rights of the Child [20 minutes]

Share with your students The Convention on the Rights of the Child and discuss.

  • Article 12: You have the right to your own opinion.
  • Article 16: You have the right to privacy.
  • Article 28: You have the right to a good quality education.
  • Article 31: You have the right to play and rest.

Ask the students: How would it feel to not have certain rights? Or how would it feel if your rights were suddenly taken away from you?

Look at Article 38 together. It states that children have the right to protection and freedom from war. As a class, read aloud The Eloquent Young Elephant poem by Sheree Fitch. How did the elephants feel after the young elephant spoke up about how they felt about war?

What happened to the older elephants? How did they react?

Explain that young people are small, but they can have a say and promote the message of peace at school, at home and in their community!

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