Skip to main content

Historica Canada Education Portal

Designing Heritage Artwork

  • The Arts
  • 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


A lesson plan that gives students a chance to celebrate their heritage and have fun at the same time.


  • to explore and define the meaning of heritage 
  • to examine how postage stamps or tattoos create and deliver their messages visually 
  • to have students design their own heritage stamp, tattoo or other piece of art


Time Allowance:
45 minutes - 1 hour


Defining heritage: Have students watch some of the Historica Canada Heritage Minutes. What information is each of the Minutes trying to share or show us? Discuss the following questions:

  • What does the word, "heritage" mean? 
  • Is heritage important? Why? 
  • Does heritage have to be a story, as in the Minutes? 
  • Can it be a personal statement, a story of your roots?

Looking at postage stamps, tattoos, and other "practical art."
 Discuss with students what a stamp is, how artists create messages and meaning within this unusual medium. How do they use colour and detail to convey their messages and make stamps interesting to look at? Ask the same questions about tattoos. Have the students brainstorm other types of art or media that can convey a message, but may not traditionally be considered "art" (consider logos, event tickets, product packaging, etc.). Brainstorm with students about what images come to mind when they think about heritage and how they might use those images in their  designs. Discuss with students what ideas they will convey in the paragraph that explains the significance of their designs.

Have the students select one of the Heritage Minutes they watched and create a piece of "practical art" that reflects this moment in Canadian heritage. Each design will be accompanied by a paragraph the explains the significance and story behind their designs.