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Historica Canada Education Portal

Hyberia - A Simulation

  • Social History
  • Secondary – Junior

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


The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand the importance of culture and language in order to explore the question of French-English relations in modern Canadian history. Through a simulation that mirrors the French-English conflicts in the late twentieth century, students can explore the issues without being affected by their personal biases. This lesson was developed to teach French-English relations in Western Canada where students tend to have difficulty understanding and identifying with the complexities and struggles of French Canadians within Canada.


It is expected that students will:

• Compare and contrast forces that have united and divided Canadians during the twentieth Century, including Quebec separatism.

• Describe the role of cultural pluralism in shaping Canadian identity.

• Demonstrate skills associated with active citizenship, including the ability to collaborate and consult with others.

• Respect and promote respect for the contributions of other team members.

• Interact confidently.

• Develop and express appropriate responses to issues or problems.

• Develop, express, and defend a position on an issue, and explain how to put the ideas into action.


The initial stages of this lesson require no background. It is best to have students work through it 'cold,' with no preparation so that they look at it with an open mind and do not connect it to any particular issues.

After the debate, students will require some background on the French-English issues in Canada including but not limited to: Quebec Act, Official Languages Act, Bill 101, Patriation of the Constitution, Meech Lake Accord, Charlottetown Accord etc.


Time Allowance:
2 hours


1. Divide the class in half. An equal mix of boys and girls on each side will work best. Assign ½ of the students to be Altas and the other ½ to be Tankas.

2. Read through the introduction of Handout #1 with the students to set up the background to the assignment.

3. Have students devise a plan for how they will organize themselves to answer the required questions. For example, who will lead and organize the group, who will record information, and how will decisions be made?

4. Once this has been decided, give each group member a copy of Handout #1.

5. Have each group work collaboratively to answer questions 1 - 3 on Handout #1 and prepare to debate their argument according to the following debate format.

6. Bring the two groups back together and have each group present their ideas in the following format:

• Each side should present its concerns.

• The Tankas should present their proposed solution to the problem.

• The Altas then have the opportunity to agree or disagree to each of the Tankas proposals and to present a counter offer.

7. This format should be allowed to continue until some sort of solution has been reached between the two sides. The teacher must act as a mediator here to keep students focused and on task.

8. When a conclusion has been reached, discuss how students from each side felt during the negotiation process. Was the conclusion acceptable to each side?

9. Introduce the idea that the lesson was designed to develop historical empathy for individuals on both sides of the French-English debates in Canada in the twentieth Century.

10. Have student groups research the French-English Question in the twentieth Century and write a proposal of how the nation could solve the French-English conflict. Have them present their proposals to the class. This could be done as a formal or informal presentation or could be presented as a power point presentation in order to integrate the use of technology into the classroom.


Supporting documents for this Learning Tool

File type File size Action
Handout #1, Hyberia A Simulation PDF 1.81 KB Download

Supporting documents for this Learning Tool