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What Would They Have Said? A Role Playing and Interview Activity
An activity for use with the Canada in the Making site
This activity will give students the opportunity to study Canadian
constitutional documents and historical figures. Students will play
an historical figure in an interview. They will be required to answer
questions about the events and documents in which they played a
Social Studies/History; Ages 14 and up
This is a group project in which students work on understanding
different perspectives on the events surrounding various events
and documents in Canadian constitutional history. The main portion
of the activity should take two to four hour-long sessions online.
Note that the sources used in ECO can be printed from the browser
and then photocopied.
Outcomes (WCP, APEF); Expectations
(ON); Objectives (QC)
Table of Curricular Relevance by Course
British Columbia and Yukon Territory
Computers with Internet access.
Materials for a presentation:
Traditional print materials (card, paper, markers) or
Multimedia tools (PowerPoint, overheads)
Student Work Sheet
Extension Work Sheet
Early Canadiana Online: Canada in The Making
Other links can be found in the Student Work Sheets.
Students will need
An understanding of Web navigation symbols, tools and terminology,
particularly the tools used in ECO.
Familiarity with research and interview skills.
An understanding of the events leading to the 1837 and 1838
Ask about contentious constitutional issues facing Canadians today.
Some examples include:
Division of federal and provincial powers
Québec's right to separate unilaterally
Individual rights vs. collective rights
Ask about different viewpoints on these issues. Are there any historical
or cultural roots to these views? Do students understand where their
own attitudes come from?
Hand out Student Work Sheets and introduce students to the ECO Canada
In the Making Web site. Read the assignment and discuss.
Assign pairs/groups. Each group is to research one significant constitutional
document and the events and people surrounding it.
One person in the pair/group is to act as the interviewer and he
or she must develop meaningful questions about the issues surrounding
the historical document. The other student(s) are to act as a real
or fictional historical figure and must research the life of the
individual in order to represent that person's viewpoint and personality
well. In groups, students may represent different historical views/personalities
(eg.: William Lyon Mackenzie and Lieutenant Governor Sir Francis
When research has been completed, students should practice their
interviews. You may choose to pre-record the interviews for presentation
to the class. Recordings may also be reviewed for self-assessment
purposes. Students may be invited to develop a rubric and participate
Discuss: Which of the groups and individuals above achieved their
goals, and to what extent? Who was the short and long-term "winner"?
See the rubric.
Prepare materials for a timeline of documents. Students can summarize
their document, comment on key figures, and note the points of contention
for each document. See the extension
worksheet for details.