A cross-curricular approach to civic education 

Published Date
Four students are seated at table. They each have a card in hand. An activity board is placed on the table.

Curricula across Canada are vast and are different in every province and territory. That’s why Elections Canada has designed its educational resources to be cross-curricular. Our lessons have links to many subjects that go well beyond Civics and Social Studies—including History, Geography, Media Studies and Math—and can be taught in numerous courses.

Our Curriculum Connections tool helps teachers identify which Elections Canada resources work best for their class. To find the perfect fit, teachers can browse through hundreds of curriculum connections, narrowing their search by province or territory and by subject area and/or resource. In 2021, we reviewed all secondary curricula nationwide to ensure that the course suggestions are up to date and relevant. Some connections may be surprising.

Digital Skills for Democracy

In Digital Skills for Democracy, students learn five strategies for verifying online information by exploring a series of scenarios, both real and realistic, involving false and misleading information. Ultimately, they will understand how to find out if online information about political issues is trustworthy. The resource has strong connections to Social Studies, Media Studies and English Language Arts, but it can also be used in other subject areas:

  • in a Career Education class to teach students how to manage their personal information online and explore their future education and job options using trustworthy sources 
  • in a Computer Science class to help students learn key tools for practising good digital citizenship 
  • as a discussion starter for a senior-level Global Issues course, since misinformation and disinformation are a global concern

Civic Action: Then and Now

In Civic Action: Then and Now, students examine historical case studies to learn how to take civic action in the present, making this resource a great fit for a History or a Civics and Citizenship course. However, it can also be a relevant activity for an Ethics or Law course. In Ethics, students are expected to define and give examples of concepts such as freedom, justice, autonomy and social order. The civic action case studies provide students with rich, concrete examples of citizens demonstrating these concepts. In a Law course, students must engage in dialogue and reasoning skills. The structured small-group discussions included in this lesson allow students to practise these skills.

The resource also works well in an Indigenous Studies course. One of the case studies examines a successful Indigenous civic action: the “Constitution Express” train and other efforts by First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders that led to the inclusion of section 35—Aboriginal and Treaty Rights—in the Constitution Act, 1982. This little-known chapter in Canadian history can empower youth with the knowledge that Indigenous peoples have a long tradition of advocating for and asserting their rights. By participating in the lesson, students not only practise skills of consensus building and analysis, but they also reflect on the issues that they care about in their own schools and communities.

Using a cross-curricular approach, Elections Canada’s educational resources give teachers the opportunity to engage students in the topics of elections and democracy at various times and in different contexts during their secondary studies, making them better prepared to participate in electoral democracy when they reach voting age. Explore our Curriculum Connections tool to find the right resource for your classroom.