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Canada's Role in the Second World War

  • Military History
  • Secondary – Junior

This Learning Tool appears in 2 Collections

From the collection:
Canada at War, created by Historica Canada

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


This activity would begin with the understanding that the students have already had thorough tutelage in Second World War history, especially leading up to the Invasion of Normandy by the allies in June 1944. At this point, students will then be placed in groups of no more than two or three, where they will be given the choice of researching one of the Canadian units that participated in the liberation of Western Europe. Using resources found online, in the library, as well as any possible oral history from veterans students will then come up with a PowerPoint presentation dedicated to the history of that unit between 1944 and 1945.


a. For students to gain a greater understanding of the role played by Canadians in the Second World War

b. To allow students to put faces and stories to the names of men and women who served in the Second World War. 

c. For students to develop a lasting history of a Canadian military unit that fought in the Second World War.

d. To develop students’ audio-visual and presentation skills through the production of a PowerPoint presentation


Time Allowance:
Students would have 3 weeks; teachers should plan for at least 5 periods of class time


1. Introductory Phase 

Teacher would lead a class discussion to review prior-knowledge about the Second World War, as well as the role that Canada had played up to D-Day, 6 June 1944.

2. Developmental Phase 

Students will begin their PowerPoint projects by taking trips to the school computer labs and library. There they will begin their research into their unit. The PowerPoint project should include:

a) Between 10-15 slides detailing the history of the unit during the specific time period.
b) Pictures relevant to the project.
c) Specific names and stories of veterans who served in the unit.

Other possibilities might include using digital video or audio interviews of veterans.

3. Summary Phase

The culmination of this activity would be the presentation of the PowerPoint projects to the class and, if the work is well done, perhaps to the local veterans' branch.

4. Possible Extension

A possible extension to this project would be for the students to develop their own historic monument in dedication to the unit studied.


The teacher will evaluate the students in this manner:

1. Depth/Clarity of the analysis of the role played by the unit /15
2. Sufficient information presented (e.g. number of slides, etc.) /10

The students will then evaluate their peers based on their presentation including:

1. Preparedness /5
2. Volume/Rate of Speech /5
3. Posture/Eye Contact /5
4. Enunciation /5
5. Use of Notes (no reading from the slides) /5

Total: /50 marks