Cinderella on the left – Video activity

Aim

To increase youth’s awareness of Canadian efforts during the Battle of the Scheldt in Belgium and the Netherlands during the fall of 1944.

Objectives

Youth will:

  • Gain an increased awareness of Canada’s post D-Day role in
    • clearing the French coast of pockets of German resistance;
    • the battle for the Scheldt Estuary;
    • the liberation of Belgium; and
  • Understand the importance of maintaining a steady supply line for the Allied armies.

Target audience

Grades 7-12, ages 12-18

Sequence of activities and anticipated time frame

  1. Background: 15 minutes
  2. Activity: 40 minutes
  3. Closing: 10 minutes

Materials

Introductory discussion [15 minutes]

Begin a general discussion about the Second World War. More than one million Canadians served in uniform during the conflict—that is more than the entire population of some provinces. Using a world map as reference, ask the students if any of them can name the countries where the Canadians fought in Europe and the names of specific events or battles of the Second World War.

You could begin by telling the students that many Canadians landed at Juno Beach in Normandy, France, on D-Day, June 6, 1944. After pushing the enemy out of France, the Allies then moved into Belgium and were in need of a way to keep getting supplies to the advancing troops. By early October, the Canadians were fighting to liberate the Scheldt estuary (river) that leads to the major port of Antwerp in Belgium. The task was difficult due to the flooded and muddy terrain that left little cover for the Canadians and other Allied troops. By November 8, the enemy was defeated, allowing Allied transport ships to begin bringing much-needed supplies into the port of Antwerp later that month.

Video viewing activity [40 minutes]

In this activity, the class will view the NFB video, Cinderella On The Left", from "Part 10" of its "Canada At War Series", to learn more about Canada’s role in the liberation of Belgium during the Second World War. Afterwards, students will be asked a series of questions based upon the film’s contents.

To ensure that all the students are engaged during this activity, they will be asked to fill in a question sheet while they are viewing the video. Afterwards, working in pairs, they will exchange their question sheets and correct the answers.

Wrap up discussion [10 minutes]

Following the video activity, enter into a discussion with the class on the following questions:

  • Why was it important for First Canadian Army to clear the English Channel Coast of the German defenders that remained there?
  • Why might it have been meaningful for the Canadians to be given the task of liberating the French seaside town of Dieppe? What thoughts and feelings might the Canadian liberators have had as they entered Dieppe on their march up the coast?
  • What safety and security did the Belgian port of Antwerp offer to the Allied armies?
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