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Activities and Writing Projects

Ideas for Using the Images Canada Website in Your Classroom

Lifestyle Survey

In groups, students survey different aspects of life in Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some categories:

  • Homes
  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Leisure activities
  • Work
  • Tools and implements
  • Clothing

Students record the types of homes, transportation, etc, and keep a running tally of the number of images depicting these aspects of life, and when and where they were photographed. For example:

Types of homes

Number of images

Date

Place

Tents

4

1907, 1919, 1897, 1905

Saskatchewan 2
Alberta 2

Sod houses

8

1911, 1914, 1903, 1910, 1912, 1911, 1909, 1901

Saskatchewan 5
Alberta 3

Buffalo-hide lodges

5

1895, 1910, 1920, 1914

Manitoba 1
Saskatchewan 3

Students use their surveys to track changes in technology and ways of life over time, and to make reasoned generalizations about aspects of life in different periods and places. Results can be graphed and combined with images and text to make a presentation or display.


Guess What It Is!

To sharpen descriptive skills, students choose an image and write a careful description of the image or an object in the image, including perspective. They then read the description to a partner, who attempts to identify and/or draw the object or scene described.


Role Playing

Students create a role-playing presentation based on an interesting image that they have selected from the Images Canada website. Elements depicted can be:

  • The events that led to the moment of the image
  • The events following the image
  • The lives of the people (or animals) in the image on the day it was created
  • The life of the photographer on the day it was created
  • A dramatic event of which the image captures a moment

Recreating the Past

Students study various images of life in the past, and use what they have seen and learned to create their own two- or three-dimensional representation of a similar scene.


A Moment in Time

Using key words on a subject that interests them, students can browse the Images Canada database of images and choose one that they find particularly interesting. They can write a short story about one or more of the following, or a story of their own imagining:

  • The events that led to the moment of the image
  • The events following the image
  • The lives of the people (or animals) in the image on the day it was created
  • The life of the photographer on the day it was created
  • A dramatic event of which the image captures a moment

If It Were Me…

Students imagine that they have been transported back in time, to the setting of an image they find intriguing. They should describe the setting and explain how they would respond to the situation:

  • What would be the first thing they would do?
  • How would they earn a living?
  • Would they travel, and if so, where to?
  • Could they survive and prosper easily, or would they have to learn new skills?
  • What would they miss the most?

If They Were Here…

Students imagine that people from the image are transported to the present day. How would they react?

  • What might they like, find interesting or be amazed by?
  • What might bother, disturb or disgust them?
  • What skills might they have that we might find useful or interesting?
  • What skills would they have to learn to adjust and prosper?
  • What would they miss the most?

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Students select the image of a person from the Images Canada website, and, using the clues in the image, describe the person in detail. Some details may need to be invented, but all should be consistent with the image. Some things to consider in the biography:

  • Personal details: name, age, place of birth
  • Occupation and past work experience
  • Other skills
  • Places this person has visited or lived in
  • Personality: Is the person outgoing? Shy? Clever? Kind? Funny? Quick-tempered? Religious? (Educators may want to brainstorm a list of personality characteristics prior to starting the writing exercise.)
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Hobbies, interests, and favourite or least favourite things
  • What this person would most like out of life
  • Habits
  • Favourite expression
  • Anything else interesting
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