I wrote this post when I was studying to become a teacher.
I recently went to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and viewed its War of 1812 exhibit to craft a grade seven field trip plan. Here it is, free of charge! If you’d like to download the flyer with lesson plans before, during, and after the trip, click on the link at the bottom.
Fight with Them!
If I told you that this is a lesson plan for the War of 1812, you’d likely groan, roll your eyes, and made your excuses to leave through the nearest door. “I haven’t the time to read,” you might say, “about a dreadful war with no effect on the present day.”
The way we used to teach the War of 1812 was indeed dry as toast. We need to change the way the war is taught. We need to take our students to fight the war at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Unique Vision
The ROM’s Sovereign Allies/Living Cultures exhibit takes the history of the War of 1812 and transforms it into a journey into the minds of untold heroes.
Few know the story of the First Nations who fought alongside the Brits to fight the Americans. Few know about how the War changed these First Peoples and their communities.
Too long we’ve told our students that, after the Europeans landed, Natives faded into white skins. The War of 1812 exhibit challenges both our ignorance and misconceptions—the First Nations fought the war to save Canada, and they kept their culture in the fray.
The exhibit tells the stories of people. Through 100 objects and original artwork—scalping knives, tobacco pipes, silver bracelets, red jackets, shiny medals, and torn flags—students meet First Peoples like John Brant, Tecumseh, John Norton, John Smoke Johnson, Little Pine, John Naudee, and White Crane.
The human element of the battles is also well captured by videos ranging from the conservation of the British Red Ensign to the interviews with elders about keeping their culture alive.
The students milling about the exhibit were not students, when I saw them. They were staring into the glass, entering the lives of the people, and asking questions about battle strategies: they were fighting the war in their heads.
Blood. Emotion. Real stuff.Plain talk. — aren’t these the ingredients of an unforgettable lesson? Fight the war at the ROM today.
Download the lesson plans (with more pictures) here: