Family History Lesson Plans

The Ontario Genealogical Society is happy to provide elementary and secondary school educators with educational resources for their classrooms which integrate family history into the Provincial Curriculum. With the generous support provided from the Archives of Ontario, each lesson plan includes primary resources for students to work with and learn from.

These lesson plans aim to increase awareness and interest of genealogy and family history through student-driven learning with historical thinking concepts. Where grade appropriate, social media and online curation tools have been included, as well as communication activities that encourage students to make connections to current events, and their own family histories. These lesson plans are cross-curricular in nature, and aim to increase knowledge and curiosity of social provincial history in Ontario. Creating learning environments where students can explore the histories and importance of where they live, and how their personal histories contribute to our history making, will ultimately provide students with the tools to be empathetic and active historians.

Each lesson plan includes a survey link for educators to complete after using the lesson plans provided. Through this feedback we hope to collect important data on how these lessons are used and suggestions to improve the lesson plans.
We encourage you to review the list of lesson plans and their descriptions below.

• Gr. 1 – Family Trees: Knowing Our Families
Students deconstruct what family is, learn how to create a family tree, and identify different types of family heirlooms and their purpose.
Key words: diversity, family, family heirloom, family tree, respect, symbolic

• Gr. 2 – Time Capsule
Students learn about the importance of record keeping by learning about and creating time capsules.
Key words: keepsake, memory box, significant, time capsule

• Gr. 4 – Family Interview
Students will interview an older relative and later reflect on their own experiences in comparison.
Key words: diversity, family, family origins, interview, respect

• Gr. 6 – Identity Mapping
Students discover forms of identity through traditional family food items, mapping activities, and reflecting on their familial experiences.
Key words: ethnicity, ethnic origin, gallery walk, identity, traditions

• Gr. 7 – People Profiles
Students will be given historical content of an individual or a group of people to analyze. They will communicate their findings via social media outlets to demonstrate their learning, and present material to their peers.
Key words: current event, organizer, primary source, secondary source, social media

• Gr. 10 – WWI Canadian History with Hashtags
Students are given a subject to learn about in their groups, and will record important information specific to their topic before communicating their findings with their peers.
Key words: hashtag, photo analysis, primary source, propaganda, secondary source, total war, victory bonds

• Gr. 12 – Critical Challenge: Museum Exhibit
Students will assume the position of a museum curator and will review four topics, and choose one to advertise as a museum exhibit through a social media outlet.
Key words: curator, holistic, museum exhibit, primary source, secondary source, social media

• Gr. 12 – R.A.F.T.
Students will select a topic from a list of exhibits and present their learnings in a creative format with an assumed role and a target audience.
Key words: culture, historical perspective(s), holistic, identity, primary source, secondary source

• Additional Resources for Teachers
The OGS also has a genealogical essay competition open to Gr. 11 and 12 students. The Dr. Don Brearley Genealogical Essay Prize includes a $500 award and applications are due by April 1st each year. See the Essay Competitions page for more information including competition guidelines for your students.

If your students are interested in conducting genealogical research on their own families, please refer to the following resources:
• Ontario Genealogical Society: How to Research Your Family Tree (coming soon!) for information on how to start genealogical research
• Archives of Ontario: Tracing Your Family History for information on the Ontario resources for family history research
• Library and Archives Canada: Genealogy and Family History for information on national records for family history research
Cyndi’s List for international resources

 

Generous support for this project was provided by:
archives-ontario                       ontario
Project supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, under the Government of Ontario’s employment program, the 2015 Summer Experience Program.