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Designing Diversity: Grade 7

How do we design monuments that authentically reflect Canadian history and society?
Don Huynh, Dylan Martin, Tyler Shaffer, Amanda Snodgrass, Amanda Tetzlaff, Gillian Waugh
Werklund School of Education

EDUC 520 S10 Interdisciplinary Learning


Canadas history is rich with moments both of greatness and of terrible oppression. These moments often overlap, creating a complex understanding of our countrys
history and identity. This national history is commemorated in monuments across the country, many of which only tell one side of the story. The purpose, therefore, of this project is to have
students choose an existing Canadian monument, research its history and design alternative monument that better represents marginalized populations who are often silenced and
excluded from such commemoration. Students will build their respective monuments, taking material choice and environmental conditions into account. This assignment contributes to the
deconstruction of the Grand Narrative, resisting oppressive powers of all forms. By participating in such an assignment, students will learn what it means to be a more ethically engaged
citizen of Canada with an entrepreneurial spirit (Alberta Education, 2011).

Rationale and Authenticity

Interdisciplinary Advantages and Approach

This is a significant issue within Canadian contexts. The Truth and

Reconciliation Commission (2015) has recommended that there be
more inclusive representation of their heritage and histories in historic
sites and monuments. But this issue is not unique to FNMI groups. The
history of all marginalized peoples must be more meaningfully
recognized. A recent example is that of the Brock Memorial near
Niagara Falls commemorating Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock who fell in the
War of 1812. A second memorial was inaugurated in October of 2016
commemorating heroic efforts of First Nations people in the same war.
Because this is something that professionals are currently tackling, the
work that students will produce as a result of this project and the
competencies that they will develop throughout the process will have
meaning beyond the classroom. By showcasing their work at the end of
the project, the students have the opportunity to make a significant
contribution to the community in which they live in.

Phase 1


Interdisciplinary learning erases the disconnect between school subjects and their
corresponding professional programs, giving students a better idea of what people actually
do in specific careers. Connections are made between their different classes, contextualizing
their knowledge, developing metacognition, and strengthening their meaning making
processes. Interdisciplinary lesson design is not meant to be one more thing to add to
teachers plates; instead, it should be seen as an opportunity to be creative and freedom
from the confines of an isolated subject.

Rationale check-ins: Drafts of student monument and material rationale will be submitted to
teachers for approval.
Journaling: Students will submit a reflective journal at the end of each phase.
Blueprints: Like the journal, students will be drafting blue prints and submitting them after
each phase.
Pitch: Students will pitch their rationale and monument design at the end of Phase 2 to the
class and an invited expert from Calgary Public Art.
All these formative assessments are opportunities to give feedback to students and check progress
and understanding


Students will gather a portfolio of their journals, blueprints, accompanying poem/narrative

and rationales that they have been accumulating throughout the project for submission
and evaluation. Students will also participate in a showcase of their scaled clay
monuments and visual presentation of their rationale and documented process for their
peers, experts, and invited guests.

Phase 3

Phase 2

Phase 4

Revise, Perfect, Create

Design, Elaborate, Pitch

Introduce, Engage, Explore



This project encompasses the discipline areas of Social Studies, Science, English Language
Arts, and Art, while an expansion of this unit may include aspects of Engineering and Math.
Social Studies forms the foundation of this assignment as students consider marginalized
populations and their significant roles in Canadian society. The 7th Grade Science Structures
and Forces unit informs students design plans and adds authenticity to the project. English
Language Arts allows students to analyze themes inherent and relevant to specific structures
and their accompanying narratives. Art is expressed in the visual creation of the students
monument as well as its aesthetic appreciation.


Wrap up and Reflect

Introduce the unit to engage students in the problem and

begin exploring the necessary background information.
Students will start thinking critically about Canadian
monuments, general monument design, and generating
an awareness of multiple perspectives. Students will
explore task expectations and build assessment rubrics.

Begin the design process. Students will be engaged in

blueprinting and aesthetic. Students will be analyzing possible
materials for building and consider the structural integrity of their
monuments. At the end of this phase, students will present a
comprehensive pitch to an expert and receive feedback from
both the expert and their peers.

Students will take the feedback they received after phase 2

and revise their work accordingly. They will sculpt a scale
model of their monuments in clay and will write a
corresponding poem, short narrative, or epitaph. Students will
consolidate their work in a portfolio that will contain all journals,
drafts, blueprints, and rationale.

Students will present their final products in a showcase with

their peers and invited guests. The expert that was present
for the pitch will return and observe their final work.
Students will then take part in a debrief discussion and write
a final journal reflecting on the entire process of the project.

Essential Questions and Learning Outcomes*

Social Studies

Essential Questions and Learning Outcomes

Social Studies

Essential Questions and Learning Outcomes

Essential Questions and Learning Outcomes

Social Studies

Social Studies

EQ: What do monuments say about our history and society and why
does this matter?
LO: Students will be able to think critically about monuments and how
they reflect Canadian values by exploring historic and contemporary
issues from multiple perspectives through meaningful research

English Language Arts

EQ: How do we evaluate the dynamic between voice and silence

through poetry and narrative?
LO: Students will be able to distinguish between a reliable and
unreliable voice and recognize authorial bias.


EQ: How do we articulate and reproduce scientific terminology and

concepts in relation to structures and forces?
LO: Students will understand and be able to apply scientific discourse
to practical examples in relation to structures and forces.


EQ: How are power, politics, and culture articulated through image
and structure?
LO: Students will be able to recognize and use art to communicate
symbolic representations of power, politics, and culture.

EQ: How do we communicate ideas and information effectively and

LO: Students will learn how to communicate in a persuasive and engaging
manner through speeches, multimedia presentations and written and oral
reports, taking particular audiences and purposes into consideration.

English Language Arts

EQ: How can we purposefully create texts to give voice to silenced

LO: Students will be able to create texts using respectful language and
awareness to diversity.


EQ: How do we compare materials, while considering cost, practicality and

modes of failure due to such things as heat and environment?
LO: Students will analyze materials through pro and con analysis and
evaluate variables such as safety, cost, strength, malleability, and modes of


EQ: How do we plan and represent 3D structures?

LO: Students will practice blueprinting techniques in both 2D and 3D

EQ: How do we critically analyze our own work?

LO: Students will apply skills of metacognition, reflecting upon what they
have learned and what they need to learn

English Language Arts

EQ: How can we enhance communicative techniques to focus and

perfect a message?
LO: Students will be able to productively critique their own work and the
work of others.


EQ: How do we demonstrate competency in refinement, while giving and

receiving criticism with other groups?
LO: Students will be able to provide valuable ways of improving each
others work, while also being able to incorporate improvements into their
own designs.


EQ: How do we successfully shape and model clay?

LO: Students will be able to model scaled structures in clay.

EQ: How do we design monuments that authentically reflect Canadian

history and society? Why do you think that this is important?
LO: Students will understand the unique nature of Canada and its land,
history, complexities and current issues.

English Language Arts

EQ: How do we improve systems of process?

LO: Students will be able to effectively write in a reflective manner on
a specific set of experiences.


EQ: How are monuments built to be structurally sound and survive in

specific climate conditions?
LO: Students will demonstrate an understanding of structural integrity.


EQ: In what ways can we appreciate art?

LO: Students will be able to use the appropriate language to
appreciate, explain, and reflect on art and the artistic process.

*These are just a selection of the more important learning outcomes. There are far more shown on our website

Alberta Education. (2011). Framework for student learning: Competencies for engaged thinkers and ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit. Edmonton, AB: author. Available at
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to action. Retrieved from

Image Reference
Landscape of Nations. [Online image]. Retrieved October 27, 2016 from

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