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Historica Canada Education Portal

Canada Bound

  • Immigration
  • Intermediate – Middle School

This lesson plan was created by members of Historica Canada’s teacher community. Historica Canada does not take responsibility for the accuracy or availability of any links herein, and the views reflected in these learning tools may not necessary reflect those of Historica Canada. We welcome feedback regarding the content that may be linked to or included in these learning tools; email us at


Nearly every Canadian can trace their family tree back to an ancestor who immigrated to Canada at some point. Somewhere back in time, most of us have a homeland from which our forefathers, fathers, or selves immigrated. For what reasons did they immigrate and what method did that immigration take?

How long ago the immigration took place may dictate the mode of travel. If the ancestors arrived many generations ago the method of travel was likely limited to boats. Later arrivals may have occurred first by boat, then by horse and wagon, and even later, by rail. Recent (relatively speaking) arrivals may have arrived by air first and then by rail or automobile.

The methods and reasons behind the waves of settlement in Canada will be the general focus of this project with each student researching their own family’s story.


Aim of Project Plan
• To discover the reasons why ancestors would choose to relocate to new, sometimes uncharted, territories and countries.
• To record some of the student’s family stories.
• To link students with their family histories
• To create an awareness of various ways to gather information.
• To gain practice in various ways of presenting information learned.


Activities can be conducted all together to create a large unit on immigration, or specific activities can be conducted on an individual basis. 


Activities to conducted

• Web based scavenger hunt to get information on early pioneers in Alberta.
• Buddy interviews to gain practice in formulating questions and answer techniques.
• Post Cards to friends and relatives left behind.
• Role playing- putting students into shoes of those being left behind and those leaving.

During the project each student will complete an interview with a parent, grandparent, or community elder to discover how and why each family settled in Canada.

From these interviews students will garner enough information to write journals of the journey to Canada from whatever homeland. Included in the journals would be the moment of choice, when the ancestor chose Canada as the destination, or their community/province specifically. The journey, the arrival and the first year in the new “home” would be related so as to give a clear indication of the struggles encountered by immigrants.

Students will create a game based on the theme of immigration. The game type is the student’s choice the following ideas could be used:
1. A board game similar to The Game of Life.
2. A trivia in the format of Who wants to be a Millionaire.
3. A trivia game in the format of Trivial Pursuit.
4. A board game similar in format to Snakes and ladders with snakes being obstacles encountered and ladders being good things.
5. A game based on the charades format or that of Inprovational Drama.


Resources Required

• Computers to be shared by teams of students
• Handouts listing possible websites
• Encyclopedia, and texts
• Post cards From The Past Template and examples
• Examples of journals 

Useful Sources: