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Canadian Agriculture at a Glance Teacher's Kit > Lesson plans

Lesson: Where were your ancestors in 1871?

View the article (PDF)
Curriculum connections
Notes to teacher
Teaching and learning strategies
Assessment/evaluation strategies
Accommodation and enrichment strategies
Links to other activities
Suggestions for further research


This activity looks at farm families in the 1870s, contrasting life in pioneer times with that of today. Students look at the profile of their family and community now and in the past.

Curriculum connections


  • demonstrates an understanding of the changing demographic patterns in Canada
  • explains how immigrants, individually and as communities, have participated in and contributed to the development of Canada.

Notes to teacher

In order to complete this activity, students need access to the history of both their families and their community. For students who do not know about their ancestry, the teacher might suggest they research the history of their region or country of origin (PDF). For a website that may be helpful in this exercise, go to

Teaching and learning strategies

  1. Students read the article "Where were your ancestors in 1871?" on pages 35 to 42 in Canadian Agriculture at a Glance (PDF).
  2. Students make up a series of questions to profile their families as well as their community 100 years ago. They research the answers, noting the contributions made to their communities by different groups.
  3. Students create a family tree, following the model in the worksheet.
  4. Students add terminology to their glossary.

Assessment/evaluation strategies

  1. Evaluate students' family tree worksheet.
  2. Assess glossaries for accuracy and completion.

Accommodation and enrichment strategies

  1. Some students may require assistance in order to complete written work.
  2. Students with special needs may work with a partner to complete a task.
  3. Templates for note-taking should be provided to students with special needs.
  4. Main ideas and/or new information should be mapped out and organized to meet the needs of all students.
  5. Wherever possible, vocabulary lists should be provided with a discussion of context clues and related vocabulary.
  6. Students with special needs may wish to complete an oral, taped or video presentation rather than a written assignment.
  7. For enrichment, students may make an electronic presentation to highlight the differences.
  8. For enrichment, students may trace their family's history from their country of origin to Canada. Can they find a farmer on their family tree?

Links to other activities

This activity is linked to:

Suggestions for further research

  • Students could visit an historical village in their area such as Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ont., Kings Landing in Fredericton, N.B., or Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary, Alta.
  • Students can use 2001 Census of Agriculture data in E-STAT for data analysis, graphing and mapping activities for specific geographic areas of local interest.

Please send comments or examples of how you used this lesson in your class to Learning Resources.

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Date modified: 2008-05-20 Important Notices