Suggestions for teaching with The Legends of Lake on the Mountain: An Early Adventure of John A. Macdonald
Idea One - Geography has always been important to settlement patterns. What made the community of Stone Mills (now Glenora) so attractive to early Upper Canada settlers who were looking to make a living? Have students construct a diorama of a flour or saw mill in a village. Combines Social Studies/History, Art and Science.
Idea Two - Pretend John A. Macdonald had a Facebook account at age 13 (the age he is in the novel) in 1828. Draw his Profile page, illustrating things like:
- the number of friends he has (be prepared to defend your number)
- four groups he belonged to (you can make these groups up, but be faithful to the time period)
- three fan pages he “liked”
- five recent status updates he would have made as he experienced the events in the novel
Combines Art, Social Studies/History, and Language.
Idea Three - The character of American Darius Marshall in the book serves to challenge a young John A. Macdonald about the advantages of a revolution (like the U.S. had) versus incremental change (the way Canada progressed.) In a teacher-led discussion, talk about the advantages and disadvantages of both revolution and evolution for a nation. If Canada had chosen the path of revolution, what would our revolution have been about? (Differences in English-French, religion, Aboriginal Canadians vs. settlers, customs, etc.) As Prime Minister, write a persuasive letter to the Canadian people, arguing for either revolution or evolution. Combines Language and Social Studies/History.
Idea Four - Create a scrapbook that showcases Early Canada between prescribed dates. Dedicate pages to lifestyle, key towns, trade and commerce. Dedicate a page for a timeline of the life of John A. Macdonald from the moment he left Scotland as a young boy to when he became the first Prime Minister of Canada in 1867. Combines Art with Social Studies/History.
Idea Five - Uniting Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec into Canada was only the first step in creating the country. Macdonald believed the Americans were still interested in acquiring British Columbia and the vast northwest, which wasn’t even defended. Discuss western settlement, the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the history of the North West Mounted Police. Have students pretend they are in the shoes of John A. Macdonald, having to convince B.C. to join Canada. Have them create a PowerPoint of no more than 10 slides to try and convince B.C. that they should join Canada and help create a more powerful, larger country.
Combines Social Studies/History with Language.
Idea Six - The Rebellion of 1837 occurred just eight years after the historical fiction events of The Legends of Lake on the Mountain: An Early Adventure of John A. Macdonald. Have students locate, through the characters they encounter in the novel, the parts that demonstrate how attitudes were changing, leading up to the rebellion.
Combines Language and Social Studies/History.
Idea Seven - Research ‘Lake on the Mountain’ in Prince Edward County on the Interent, (the location where this book is set.) What are the unique geographic features of the region? What is the most likely, scientific cause of these features? Describe push and pull factors for a region like this when it comes to settlement. Combines Language, Geography and Science.
Idea Seven - Research, online, the folklore and legends of Lake on the Mountain in Prince Edward County. Create a scrapbook that illustrates the two legends the author adapted for The Legends of Lake on the Mountain (buried treasure and a creature living in the lake), as well as at least three more legends from this area that you find in your own research. What is your favourite legend and why? Combines Language and Critical Thinking.
Idea Nine - John A. Macdonald will turn 200 years old in 2015. Come up with ideas on how the country could celebrate the birthday of our first prime minister. What can your town, city or school do? Your ideas should be presented to your principal and a copy sent to your mayor, Member of Parliament, or other elected official. Combines Critical Thinking/Language and Social Studies/History.