Teacher Resources

Black Creek Pioneer Village provides a great immersive educational experience for youngsters. We’ve put together a selection of tools and suggested activities that you can use, both before and after your class visit, to help students get the most of their time at the Village.



PROGRAM-SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES

 


GENERAL ACTIVITIES

Black Creek Pioneer Village interpreter presents a baking demonstration for school children

Pre-Visit

• Read a Novel depicting early settler life in Victorian Times. CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LIST

• Create/discuss a list of words pertinent to early settler life.  CHECK OUT OUR VOCABULARY PAGE

• Have students record all of the times they use electricity, running water and/or cars in one day. Discuss the lists in class.
Suggested questions:

› Do students think they could live without using electricity/running water/cars?
› Do they use these a lot in their day?
› What alternatives could they use if they did not have these things in their homes/lives?

Post-Visit

• Hold a class spelling bee. CHECK OUT OUR VOCABULARY PAGE

• Write diary entries for a week in the life of a 19th-century apprentice or student, including his/her thoughts.

• Create a step-by-step procedural written piece on an everyday process (such as wool production or the milling of flour) in pioneer life.

• Compare today’s transportation to the transportation of early settlers. Students can map their route to school, discuss how long it takes and what modes of transportation they use. Incorporate mathematics: Have students calculate how long it would take them to get to school in the 1860’s. Calculate how far they can walk per minute. Chart their results.

• Most early settlers came from different countries around the world. Have students research their own genealogy (back to their grandparents’ generation — or beyond!). Have a class discussion about the factors that lead families to emigrate to a new land. Students may interview family members and share family experiences.

 


CROSS-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

students take part in a re-creation of a pioneer school day

Mathematics

• Visit a local cemetery and record birth/death dates. Graph dates and draw conclusions on longevity.
Potential Curriculum Covered: Data Management & Probability

• Compare today’s transportation to the transportation of early settlers. Students can map their route to school, determine how long it takes and discuss what modes of transportation they use. Have students calculate how long it would take them to get to school in the 1860’s. Calculate how far they can walk per minute. Chart their Results.
Potential Curriculum Covered: Measurement, Number Sense and Numeration, and/or Data Management & Probability

• Calculate and plan the construction of a barn or log cabin. Students can create a floor plan/layout with measurements. Students can also construct at least the skeleton of their barn or log cabin with materials such as popsicle sticks and/or straws.
Potential Curriculum Covered: Measurement, Geometry & Spatial Sense

• Students can pretend they are storekeepers of the general store. Students will have to think about what goods they need to have in their store, what price they get the goods for, what price they will sell them for and how many people will have to buy the goods. Teachers can add in bartering systems and do a mock-real life version in the classroom.
Potential Curriculum Covered: Number Sense & Numeration

• Students can calculate a daily schedule for children in the 1860’s. Many children had chores to do as well as schoolwork — and school was often an hour’s walk from their home. Classes started at 9:00 am and lasted until 5:00 pm. How could children fit all their chores into the day and go to school? Students can list chores that had to be done and determine how long they might take and plan a schedule for a pioneer child.
Potential Curriculum Covered: Measurement (Time)


Science & Technology

Black Creek Pioneer Village interpreter demonstrates a spinning wheel for elementary school students

• Record the weather for a month. Students can pretend they are recent immigrants to Upper Canada and use the weather data to determine how weather would effect settlement in terms of building a house, farming and travel, etc. Science experiments can be conducted with growing plants to determine ideal growing conditions.
Potential Curriculum Covered: Grade 3 Growth & Changes in Plants, Soils in the Environment

• Look at the structures pioneers built in Upper Canada. How were they constructed? Were they strong? Students can construct a log cabin, barn or other pioneer structure, or at least the frame of any with materials such as popsicle sticks and/or straws.
Potential Curriculum Covered: Grade 3 Strong & Stable Structures

• Students can do experiments with different plant materials to determine whether they would make a good dye for wool. Which plants could be used to dye wool yellow (Dandelion), pink (Rhubarb), orange (onion skin), brown (Oak bark or walnuts), or red (madder root)?
Potential Curriculum Covered: Grade 3 Growth & Changes in Plants, Soils in the Environment


Health & Physical Education

• Plan a gym class based on games and sports played in Victorian Times. Games & Sports include Victorian baseball, hoop rolling, skipping rope, jacks, badminton, stilt walking, three-legged races, marbles and even cricket!
Potential Curriculum Covered: Active Living, Movement Competence: Skills, Concepts, and Strategies.


The Arts

Dance:

• Research and practice the dances that would have been part of a social such as quadrille, polka, waltz, Sir Roger de Coverley or a cottilian.

Art:

• Have students design a patch on paper or fabric about something they learned at Black Creek Pioneer Village and tape/sew them all together to make a patchwork quilt.

• Create Cornhusk Dolls

• Create Fortune Tellers

• Create a Conestoga Wagon using Shoe boxes, toilet rolls, paper and modeling clay/drawings for horses. Pair it with a Mathematics lesson to see which one can hold the most weight!


HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES

Black Creek Pioneer Village interpreter demonstrates hool rolling for elementary school students

Post-Visit

• Make a paper patchwork quilt

• Create clothspeg or cornhusk dolls

• Create fortune tellers

• Pickle/dry fruit or vegetables

• Bake bread

• Create woven placemats

• Recess Games: Skipping rope, cats cradle, hoop rolling

• Make jam

• Conduct a class sewing lesson

• Barter for “goods” in the classroom

• Make butter

• Create a Conestoga wagon using Shoe boxes, toilet rolls, paper and modeling clay/drawings for horses. Pair it with a Mathematics lesson to see which one can hold the most weight!

 


PROGRAM-SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES

– Back to School –

students take part in a re-creation of a pioneer school day

Pre-Visit

• Have students brainstorm and write a list of school rules. Discuss why these rules exist and use this list to compare to the rules of 19th century schoolhouse after the visit.

• Read a novel depicting early settler life in Victorian Times. CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LIST

• Have students draw a map of their route to school. Discuss how long it takes and what mode of transportation they use.

Post-Visit

• Continue your Victorian School Day and plan a recess of Pioneer Games! Students can play traditional games including marbles, jacks, skipping rope, hoop rolling and jacks.

• Compare school in the 1860’s to school now. Students can prepare skits or write journal entries about the similarities and differences. Which environment do they like better, and why?

• Students can compare the list of school rules in Victorian Times to the list of school rules they have now. Which rules are good? Which ones are bad? Have students create their own suggested list of school rules.

• Suggested Cross Curricular Activities.


– Pioneer Life –

young girl and older woman in pioneer costume do textile work

Pre-Visit

• Read a novel depicting early settler life in Victorian Times. CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LIST

• Discuss “what is a pioneer?” Talk about people who are pioneers in their professions or agents of change today.

• Have students brainstorm a list of chores they do or that their families do at home.

Post-Visit

• Map a pioneer village in 3D! Have students choose different buildings seen at Black Creek Pioneer Village and build a model of the building (using materials such as popsicle stick and straws). Have students present their buildings to the class and place the buildings together as a village in what they think is the most appropriate location for each.

• Create a step-by-step procedural written piece on an everyday process in early settler life, such as wool production or the milling of flour.

• Create a full day of Victorian school in the classroom! Create slates using whiteboards or chalk paint, play traditional games during recess, dress as Victorian children, participate in a spelling bee and follow the school rules of the 1860’s. CHECK OUT THE LIST OF RULES.

• Have the class make a list of chores that had to be done in 1860’s Canada by children and adults. Do students think they could do all these chores if they had to today? In groups, students can act as a family and try to divide the chores to get them done in the day. Students can discuss how long each chore would take. Would every child in the family get to go to school, or would some have to stay home to help with the chores? Decide which member of each group would do what and plan a schedule for the day.

 


– Society & Change –

history actors re-enact a temperance rally at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Pre-Visit

• Read a novel depicting life in the second half of the 19th century Canada. CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LIST

• Introduce and discuss these terms: temperance, franchise, suffrage, and angel of the home.

• Students can interview a parent or family member about the technological changes and advancements that they have seen in their lifetime.

Post-Visit

• Discuss laws impacting the workplace today that would not have been enacted in the 1860’s and 1870’s.

• Research and practice the dances that would have been part of a social, such as the quadrille, polka, waltz, Sir Roger de Coverley or cotillion.

• Have students pick a topic (such as transportation, clothing, housing, religion, minorities, or women and children) and make a presentation on how circumstances have changed from the mid-1800’s.

• Design a newspaper page communicating the important happenings and issues in village life in Canada in the mid-1800’s.


– Many Hands –

a blacksmith and apprentice work together at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Pre-Visit

• Read a novel depicting early settler life in Victorian times. CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LIST

• Introduce vocabulary of words from around Village. CHECK OUT OUR VOCABULARY PAGE

• Students can make a list of all the chores they do around the house, and the chores their parents do. Could they do these without electricity, running water or cars? Discuss: How can all these chores get done? How would you divide the chores up in the family? How would you get food if you could not go to the grocery store all the time?

Post-Visit

Create a step-by-step procedural written piece on an everyday process in early settler life, such as wool production or the milling of flour.

Invite a farmer into the classroom to talk about farming practices and farm life. Students can compare farm life now to farm life in the 1860’s.

Cross Curricular Activity Suggestions.

Hands-On Activities Suggestions.


– Yesterday’s Child –

young apprentices at work in the Printing Office at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Pre-Visit

• Read a novel depicting early settler life in Victorian times. CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LIST

• Introduce vocabulary of words from around Village. CHECK OUT OUR VOCABULARY PAGE

• Have students create list of chores they do. Do any of these chores require electricity? How would they do them without electricity or running water?

Post-Visit

• Compare the life of a child in the 1860’s to the life of a child now. Students can put on skits, present posters, and write journal entries about daily life. Students can also discuss which time they would prefer to live in, and why.

• Recess early settler style! Play games that pioneer children would have played at recess, including cat’s cradle, ball-in cup, rolling hoops, skipping rope, jacks and marbles!

• Hands-On Activities Suggestions.


– Sensory Adventures –

students try their hands at baking in a kitchen at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Pre-Visit

• Discuss the five senses with the class.

• Introduce a topic such as “What is a Museum?”, “What is History?” or “What is the Past?” Invite students to draw a picture of a special memory and discuss the concept of the past.

• Look at pictures of pioneer times.

Post-Visit

Create a chart of the five senses and discuss the different sensory experiences at Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Compare students’ houses to those in Victorian times. What are the similarities and differences?

Do some hands-on crafting or prepare a recipe. Hands-On Activities Suggestions.


– Charlie Needs a New Cloak –

students try on pioneer clothes at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Pre-Visit

• Read the book Charlie Needs a New CloakCHECK OUT OUR BOOK LIST

• Have students discuss what happens when they need new clothes. Do they buy them from a store? Do their parents make them? Where do the clothes in the store come from?

• Discuss the terms”sheep,” “shears,” “carding,” “spinning,” “weave,” “loom” and “cloak” with students.

Post-Visit

• Talk about taking care of an animal. Invite students to draw pictures illustrating the concept. Invite a farmer into the class to discuss the importance of caring for animals.

• Create a comic strip on the steps to make a new cloak.

• Do some hands-on crafting or prepare a recipe. Hands-On Activities Suggestions.


– Life in a New Land –

history actor at Black Creek talks to youngsters about life as a pioneer in a new land

Pre-Visit

• Read a novel depicting early settler life in Victorian times. CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LIST

• Discuss push and pull factors. Why do people move from one place to another? Students can record answers in a variety of ways: as diary entries, comic strips, and so on.

• Discuss with the class what moving to a new country is like today. Have students think about the social and economic implications. Leading questions: Where would they live? How would they stay in touch with family? Where would they go to school? Would you eat the same meals?

Post-Visit

• Create an advertisement encouraging newcomers to settle in Black Creek Village.

• Have students research their own genealogy (back to their grandparents’ generation — or beyond!). Have a class discussion about the factors that lead families to emigrate to a new land. Students may interview family members and share family experiences. Have students draw on a map to show where their families came from. Where did pioneer families come from?

• Have students build, model or draw a house or village with all the things needed to survive as a pioneer in a new land.


– 1837 Rebellion –

re-enactment of a historic battle

Pre-Visit

• Discuss: “What is a rebellion?”

• Discuss the terms “Family Compact,” “Moderate” and “Reformer.”

• Discuss some of the main personalities involved in the events leading up to the 1837 Rebellion.

Post-Visit

• Write a speech that a prominent Rebellion figure might have given. Get in character! Act it out — or even film it.

• Do a project on a Rebellion personality and present to the class.

• Create a chart displaying similarities and differences in education in the pre-Rebellion years, in the 1860’s and today.

• Write a proposal to a local government official offering an alternative to clergy reserve and Crown land placements, and explaining the benefits of this plan.

• Design a newspaper communicating the important happenings and prominent personalities of the Rebellion.


– Christmas Past –

Carolers perform during Christmas by Lamplight at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Pre-Visit

• Read a novel depicting early settler life of Victorian times. CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LIST

• Discuss Christmas traditions. Encourage students to interview parents and relatives about family holiday traditions.

Post-Visit

• Victorian Christmas crafts! Create pomander using orange or apples studded with cloves. String popcorn and cranberries to make decorative chains.

• Research the origins of traditional Christmas carols and put on a concert for other classes!

• Get students to draw pictures of traditional Christmas celebrations. Locate the countries on a map where these celebrations originate. Use the pictures to make a class collage or scrapbook.

• Create homemade Christmas gifts for family members

• Create a Christmas card depicting scenes from Black Creek Pioneer Village.

• Create decorations using only the materials available to pioneers. Whip up a batch of homemade glue!