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How did some aspects of daily life change in the first 100 years of Canada’s existence? In this lesson students examine statistics from several time periods to learn about Canada’s people: their location, their gender, their attendance in educational institutions and their marital status. After examining and collecting data, students will infer and generalize about the changes and consistencies in how and where people lived in Canada’s first century as a country.


  • To locate relevant information using historical documents.
  • To analyse, classify and interpret information from historical documents.
  • To read a variety of graphs, charts and tables for specific purposes.
  • To scan written text for specific information.
  • To infer and draw conclusions.
  • To work collaboratively in a small group, using appropriate co-operative learning skills.
  • To communicate information and understanding using a variety of communication tools, including tableaux.
  • To use vocabulary specific to the topic and theme.
  • To demonstrate an understanding of some of the changes in the lifestyles of Canadians between 1867 and 1967.

Suggested grade level and subject areas

Social Studies, History, Language


10 to 20 minutes for the introduction (steps 1 to 4)
50 to 60 minutes to complete the worksheets (step 5)
20 to 30 minutes to prepare the tableaux (step 6)
50 to 60 minutes to present and assess the tableaux (steps 7 to 10)

Vocabulary (as used in the context of this lesson)

Dramatic tableaux – a drama consisting of a series of 'frozen' pictures represented by a person or group, with no dialogue, put together in sequence to tell a story. The actors in the tableaux arrange themselves in poses to represent people and ideas, and then they freeze. They hold their poses for a few seconds before moving to the next frozen picture.
Generalization – inference or general conclusion.
Rural – related to country life.
Urban – related to life in cities or towns.
Urbanization – process in which there is an increase in the percentage of people living and working in urban places.


Canada Year Book resources

1927/1928 (PDF)

1947 (PDF)

1967 (PDF)

Classroom instructions

  1. Present the following outline to the class:
    1. In this lesson, you will be working in small co-operative groups.
    2. Each group will examine data about a different aspect of life in Canada in its first 100 years as a country and then generalize about where and how Canadians lived.
    3. Each group will share its generalizations with the class through a series of tableaux, in which the actors pose while a short historical fact is read.
    4. Each group will then summarize what they have learned from their own research and from the reports of others.
  2. Divide the class into six groups (one for each worksheet topic) and assign all students in each group copies of the same worksheet to use in their online research. Explain that they will be creating and presenting tableaux to illustrate the generalizations they make from the data.
  3. Discuss presentation methods for tableaux with the class. Remind them of the following features of tableaux:
    1. There should be a series of 'frozen pictures,' with each picture demonstrating a particular aspect of the information to be presented.
    2. In each scenario, each person must be visible from the same camera angle and clearly visible to the audience.
    3. Each picture should show some depth and be related to the short historical fact being read.
    4. Sometimes exaggeration is helpful to the audience in interpreting the intent of the message.
    5. When each picture freezes, a narrator steps out of the scene and presents the narration, which should be short and dramatic.
    Often a single, simple prop will enable students to step outside themselves and help others understand their tableaux more easily; some examples are a hat, a cloak or a walking stick. Encourage students to use their imaginations, with a warning to present accurate information, not fiction!
  4. Have students pick co-operative learning roles within each group. There should be a recorder, checker, materials manager, summarizer, reader and clarifier. There is no manager, director or 'boss,' just group members who rely on each other.
  5. Instruct students to complete their student worksheets using the Canada Year Book online site.
  6. Allow time for groups to organize and create their presentations. Circulate to assist them.
  7. Have each group present its tableaux.
  8. After each presentation, have students note the key message or generalization presented by each group. They will use the Summary worksheet for this.
  9. Have the class reflect on the assignment by discussing the worksheets together. Fill in the overhead or electronic version of the Summary worksheet to ensure that the class understands the important messages from each presentation.
  10. Use the evaluation rubric to assess the work completed during the lesson.


Students can reflect on the classroom discussion to determine other aspects of Canadian life to research. Students may wish to enhance their learning by using the index in each Canada Year Book to decide on research into other aspects of life in Canada during the first 100 years. Topics might include infant mortality, life expectancy or cost-of-living indexes.