“What Canadian stories should be told, and how can we tell them?”
This was the question that the grade 10 students at Unity Christian High School (Unity Christian) in Barrie were asked to consider when learning about the history of Canada this past semester. The grade 10 History and English teachers teamed up their classes for a joint project aimed at telling Canadian stories and showcasing them both as a written story and as a museum exhibit.
|Photo above and below: Stacey Schenk|
In his address to parents and community members who attended the Simcoe County Museum’s opening of the exhibits, English teacher Jeff Weening explained that the project was developed out of a desire at Unity Christian to engage students in authentic learning experiences that provide cross-curricular opportunities, that engage and involve the community, and that give a real-life audience.
“We liked the idea of trying a project that combined two classes,” shared History teacher Kim Furtney, “and we thought this was a great way to tie English and History together. Of course, it’s also fun that it ties in so well with Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations this year!”
“It’s exciting that others get to come here and see the hard work that we’ve done creating the exhibits and telling the stories,” shared Nichola, a student at Unity Christian. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share our work in this museum and to allow others to experience the part of Canadian history that is important to us.”
When they had finished, the students’ exhibits fit into six main categories of history in Canada: sports, science and technology, culture, personal family stories, war and the arts. Their exhibits told the stories of famous artists like Emily Carr, shared little-known information about tanks and other vehicles used in WWII, gave an overview of the transformation of fashion throughout Canadian history, shared the experiences and challenges of immigrants who travelled the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life in Canada, told the story of famous Canadian hockey players and demonstrated different board games that have been used to entertain children over the years.
“This project gave us the opportunity to learn about things that were interesting and important to us individually,” shared Benjamin, another student at UCHS. “And yet, together, our projects became a tribute to Canadian history that we’re excited to share in our community over the next couple of months.”
“While the students are telling individual stories, they are also developing a vast knowledge of the stories and events that shaped our nation,” shared Ms. Furtney. “And, during this very special year of celebration in our country, that’s a wonderful way to celebrate being a Canadian!”
This article is sponsored by the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS).