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Elementary Guide

The materials presented in this resource support many of the learning outcomes contained in the Social Studies Five Integrated Resource Package and the Social Responsibility Standards for the intermediate grades. The prescribed learning outcomes (PLOs) are identified in the section “Curriculum Connections.” The suggested time frame for the unit ranges from 14.5 to 18.5 hours of classroom instruction.

The lessons provide students with opportunities to critically reflect upon events and issues in order to make connections with the past, examine the present and hopefully, shape the future. Students examine primary sources: copies of actual photographs, government documents, post cards and personal accounts to make these connections. Their reflections are chronicled in their journals.

Although the PLOs specifically address the grade five curriculum, the resource has been field tested in grades four, five, six and seven because it supports the goal of the British Columbia Social Studies K-11curriculum “to develop thoughtful, responsible, active citizens who are able to acquire the requisite information to consider multiple perspectives and to make reasoned judgments.”

It includes:

  • a rationale for teaching about the internment of Japanese Canadians,
  • frequently asked questions about the Japanese Canadian internment,
  • cautions and guidelines for teaching controversial issues,
  • detailed teaching strategies and suggestions for journal entries,
  • related teacher and student resource material from primary and secondary sources,
  • a rubric for assessing student performance,
  • relevant teacher background materials (bibliography, historical overview, glossary, annotation for children's books).

Furthermore, this unit covers many of the learning outcomes of the grade five Social Studies curriculum and the Social Responsibility Performance Standards. It addresses specific needs in the Social Studies curriculum by providing:

  • content information about the internment of Japanese Canadians and the knowledge about significant consequences for many families in British Columbia,
  • an understanding of issues of human rights, racism, discrimination and the redress of Japanese Canadians, in order to realize how easily stereotyping happens and how dangerous it may be to remain silent, and
  • a foundational springboard from which to study other cultures that form our multicultural Canada of today.

The Unit consists of thirteen lessons:

  1. Introducing the Issues and Keeping a Journal
    Using a "Beliefs" statement chart, students begin to think about some of the key issues behind this unit before the actual study of the content. The teacher will also be able to survey the baseline of attitudes held by students.
    Students reflect on what they learn by keeping a journal. To help frame their thinking, students are given sentence starters. The journal is a valuable assessment tool for teachers to determine the kind and level of critical thinking and understanding students attain after each lesson.
  2. Fair/Unfair Game
    Students play a strange game in which the rules are not clear and do not seem fair (i.e. scoring is not based on merit, but on physical characteristics), so that they can experience discrimination.
  3. Classroom Charter of Rights
    Students work in groups to create a set of rules for the classroom based on their ideas of fairness. Students experience the frustration of not being able to participate in a democratic process.
  4. Comparing Classroom Rights with the Canadian Charter of Rights
    Students learn about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They compare and contrast the classroom rights with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms using a Venn diagram.
  5. What is Discrimination? What is Racism?
    Students learn about discrimination and racism through a strategy called Concept Attainment, which uses examples and "non-examples" to illustrate the concept of equality.
  6. Viewing Photographs
    Students learn to analyze photographs by using the 5 Ws and H. (Who, When, Where, Why, What and How). They gain knowledge about the Japanese Canadian experience by viewing these photographs.
  7. Propaganda and How Rumours Develop
    Students play the "Telegraph Game" to experience how messages can be distorted as they are spread. They are shown some outrageous headlines and have to determine which ones really came from a newspaper. Students learn about the effects of mass media.
  8. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Treatment of Japanese Canadians
    Students determine whether or not Japanese Canadians were treated fairly with respect to certain rights that other Canadians held. Students use a variety of primary and secondary sources as evidence to support their opinions.
  9. Location of the Internment Camps
    Students locate internment camps on a map of British Columbia. They learn about the different hardships that were forced upon Japanese Canadians when they were relocated from the west coast of British Columbia.
  10. Living in Internment Camps
    Students simulate the cramped and crowded living conditions of internees by trying to fit their own belongings in a floor plan of an internment shack. They also examine various primary and secondary sources to learn about life during internment.
  11. Demographics
    Students examine charts to analyze the distribution of Japanese Canadians over time and from province to province. This activity could be a data analysis exercise in math class.
  12. Redress: How to Apologize for Making a Mistake
    Students assess a number of scenarios to determine whether a situation warrants an apology; and if yes, suggest how reparations could be made. They learn that the bigger the mistake (or injustice), the bigger the apology (and the more difficult it is to make that apology). They learn about redress for Japanese Canadians.
  13. Timeline
    Students examine the main events in Japanese Canadian history.