Duration: 1-8 Class Periods
Grade Level: 9-12
Welcome to The Canadian Studies Project. In successive issues of TEACH Magazine, you will find four lesson plans that explore the following themes: equity, diversity, interdependence and peace. Due to limited space, the curriculum links and additional content will be posted on the Web site: www.teachmag.com/canadianstudies. The content of The Canadian Studies Project is also connected to a television series called Get Outta Town! (www.getouttatown.tv), where a host teen travels the world and meets up with teenagers to experience the life and culture of different communities from a local teenager's point of view. Video content from the series is posted on The Canadian Studies Web site.
Canada is a country of diverse peoples. Through the activities detailed in the following lesson plans, we are confident that you and your students will enjoy and celebrate Canada's unique status among nations.
We would like to hear from you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know the kinds of projects and activities in which you have engaged. Send us your students' work and we will post the best entries on The Canadian Studies Project Web site.
Samsul is 15 years old and lives in Ampara, a coastal region of Sri Lanka. He lives in a village where the economic base is fishing. Each day, the men head out in their fishing boats to ply their trade in hopes that the catch that day may be plentiful enough for them to sell to the local markets and supply their personal needs as well. It is a difficult and precarious existence. The sea is often rough and there are storms. Boats can be damaged or lost. The boats themselves are expensive to buy and maintain, and the price of fuel for the boats' diesel engines is steep. Samsul has left school and is now helping his father fish for a living. His father is grateful for the help - an extra pair of hands is very useful. When the men aren't fishing, they are darning their nets or making necessary repairs to their boats. Samsul enjoys working with his father and is proud of the fact that he is helping to support the family through his labour. And by supporting the family, he is, in a way, supporting the village as well. When the fishermen sell their catch, they have money they can spend in the village to purchase goods from some of the local tradesmen. This, in turn, helps them support their own families. In this way, everyone in the village is interconnected. Each depends on the other for help, trade or barter. Because of this system, everyone in the village knows everyone else. Sometimes this can be a nuisance, as neighbours know each other's business and other intimate or personal details. It also means that this codependant system that has been created in Samsul's village is fragile and vulnerable to collapse in certain extreme conditions.
Unfortunately for Samsul and his fellow villagers, some of these conditions do exist. They have been caught in an ongoing political dispute for many years. Samsul's village is near a regional border that has been in dispute for two decades as a rebel faction has been fighting the government for independence. Samsul and his fellow villagers have not taken sides nor declared their support for one side over the other. They try to keep their heads down and cooperate with everyone. But the dispute causes serious problems for the villagers. In the past, the village has been raided by the rebels and although they were treated well enough, many of their much-needed supplies were taken and no compensation was offered. Then, when government troops intervened and the rebels left, some of the villagers were accused of aiding the insurgents. Once the government troops were satisfied this wasn't the case and felt the area was secure enough, they left, opening the door to the rebels once again. And so it continued. …