Distance Learning for Teachers

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Our civic education resources, designed for collaborative learning, are full of rich content that can be adapted to a distance learning environment.  

 

A person's hands at a computer desk - Les mains d'une personne à un bureau d'ordinateur

Civic Action: Then and Now

Summary 

This activity asks students to examine different types of actions that citizens took in historical case studies to help students understand how political change happens. They can then apply that understanding to a present-day issue that they care about. 

Read more about the classroom activity 

Distance Learning Adaptation 

  1. Have students watch one or both civic action case study videos: Women and the Vote in Manitoba and Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in the Constitution.
  2. Invite them to look for examples of civic actions that citizens took to bring about change. 
  3. Then, have students examine four possible ways to take civic action as shown on the activity board
  4. Using the graphic organizer, students can put examples of actions from the video into the relevant sections. 
  5. Once students understand the four ways to take civic action, have them analyze a news story by identifying the four different actions in the story. We recommend finding some sample articles on civic actions that fit your curriculum.

 


Geography of Elections

Summary

In this activity, students reflect on different communities by examining their own federal electoral district and comparing it to at least one other, using maps and fact sheets. They can then think about which electoral district would be easier to represent as a member of Parliament.

Read more about the classroom activity 

Distance Learning Adaptation

  1. Have students read through the fact sheet for your school’s riding. 
  2. Ask them: Do you live in the same riding as the school? What surprises you about the data in the fact sheet? 
  3. Have students find similarities and differences between the school’s riding and another one somewhere in Canada. Students can write their observations in the comparison chart
  4. Then, they can analyze the 2019 federal election results map. To consolidate the learning, ask: Which of the ridings you studied would be easier to represent as a member of Parliament?

 


Digital Skills for Democracy

Summary

This activity asks students to think about the importance of trustworthy information before they make a decision on a political or electoral issue. Students can then reflect on the impact of false and misleading information in politics.

Read more about this classroom activity 

Distance Learning Adaptation

  1. As a Minds On opener, have students take this trivia quiz. They can check their answers using slides 3 to 11 on the Slide Deck for Teachers. 
  2. Then, have students read through the five digital strategies to learn how to check whether digital content is trustworthy. 
  3. Select one of the case studies from round 1 or round 2 and have students analyze the case study. Tell students to stop after reading each card and rank how trustworthy the scenario is using the graphic organizer. They should record the reasons for their ranking as well. 
  4. Students could share their graphic organizers with the class to compare thinking and have an online discussion.

Extension activities 

  • Have students create a public service announcement to inform their peers about the best way to respond to misinformation and disinformation online. For example, students could create an infographic, brochure, video or podcast.
  • Have students try these fact-checking activities developed for the 2019 federal Student Vote program.

Voting Rights through Time 

Summary

This activity asks students to reflect on inclusion and exclusion, then examine case studies related to voting rights in federal elections. They will create a timeline to see how particular groups were included or excluded in Canadian democracy over time. 

Read more about the classroom activity  

Distance Learning Adaptation

  1. Have students read through one of these case studies: Japanese Canadians, Youth, or Women. Language learner versions are available. 
  2. Based on the model, students draw a “timeline with attitude.” They should include dates on the horizontal line and add a vertical scale showing exclusion to inclusion.
  3. Students create a title for each event in their chosen case study that summarizes the date and the main idea of that event. For example, “1916: Manitoba Women Vote.” 
  4. Then, they write those titles on their timeline, placing them both chronologically and by inclusion/exclusion. When they are finished, they can see when there were times of more change and times of more stability/lack of change.
  5. Have students share their timelines if possible. How do they compare? Do they look the same or different?
  6. Students can reflect on these questions to consolidate their learning:
  • What surprised you about inclusion and exclusion in Canadian democracy?
  • What is one question you have now?
  • Are other changes needed to make Canada’s democracy more inclusive?

Extension activity


Elections by the Numbers

Summary

This activity asks students to think about patterns and trends in their school or community and then apply that thinking to voting trends. They use data sets to analyze past data, make predictions about future trends and communicate their learning by creating an infographic.

Read more about this classroom activity  

Distance Learning Adaptation

  1. Have students think about trends they see around them in school or in the community. Are there different trends for different age groups? Ask students: Could you track these trends in a more precise or mathematical way? How? What do you think are the youth voting trends in Canada? 
  2. Students then examine the voter turnout graph. Ask: What do you notice about this graph? What do you wonder?
  3. Next, students examine the voter turnout by age group table. They then create a visual representation of this data, like an infographic or graph, to show the data effectively. Have students share their concept with their peers and notice how their representations are similar or different. Next, show the Elections Canada infographic. How is it similar to or different from the students’ work?
  4. Students can then consolidate their learning by answering one or more of these questions:
  • What influence can you have on youth voting trends?
  • What is interesting or important to you about the data on youth voting?
  • Make a prediction about an election 10 years from now. Do you think voting among 18  to 24-year-olds will increase, decrease or stay the same? Explain your thinking.
     

Mapping Electoral Districts

Summary

In this activity, students consider the concept of fairness in a familiar context. Then they explore this concept in the context of federal elections by mapping electoral boundaries on an imaginary country. They learn how professional geographers at Elections Canada use maps and analyze population data to support decision makers in drawing fair electoral boundaries.

Read more about the classroom activity 

Distance Learning Adaptation

 

  1. Ask students to imagine they are celebrating a family birthday in their household. There are seven people at the party: Two grandparents, two adults, one 3-year-old and two teenagers. 
  2. Everyone wants a piece of birthday cake. Have students think about how they would divide the cake so everyone gets their fair share. Should everyone get the same-sized piece, or should it be divided based on each person’s age, size or other factors?
  3. Just like a gigantic cake, Canada is divided into 338 electoral districts. In each district, voters elect one member of Parliament to represent everyone who lives there. To reflect changes in the Canadian population, the electoral districts are adjusted every 10 years, taking into consideration these factors: the size of the population, geographic features and social factors such as culture and language. To learn more about the process, read the Fact Sheet for Teachers.
  4. To learn how Elections Canada supports the process of mapping electoral districts, have students watch the short video Interview with an Elections Canada Geographer. Then, have students explain how geographers support fairness in our elections and democracy. Students can reflect: Is this a career that would interest you? Why or why not?
  5. Students can also explore the federal redistribution website, which shows how federal electoral districts are redistributed. Have students share what patterns and trends they see.

Does Voting Matter?

Summary

In every election, whether voter turnout is high or low, one person is elected in each electoral district and ends up with the power to participate in decisions that affect all of us. In this activity, students explore how much they care about decisions that the federal government makes and how much voting matters to them. 

Read more about the classroom activity 

Distance Learning Adaptation

Have students consider whether they care if the government

  • places penalties on businesses that contribute to climate change
  • joins a military alliance that could lead to war
  • changes prison terms for serious crimes
  • removes coins as a method of paying for items
  1. Explain that the Government of Canada makes decisions about each of these matters through our elected members of Parliament. Whether we realize it or not, and whether we choose to vote or not, many aspects of our lives are affected by the government’s priorities and by the decisions of lawmakers.
  2. Ask students to reflect on this question: “Does voting matter to me?” Have them use a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 = It doesn’t matter to me at all, and 5 = It matters to me a lot.
  3. Watch the videos of Marie-Claire and Marcie, where they talk about why voting is important to them. Ask students: How have Marie-Claire’s and Marcie’s experiences influenced their attitudes to democracy and voting?
  4. Ask students: After hearing these stories, would you change your ranking of 1 to 5 on the question “Does voting matter to me?”

Extension activity

  • Ask students to write a brief reflection or make a short video to explain how much voting matters to them and why.