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Comparing Then and Now

This modelling the tools is incorporated into critical challenges at grade 4, however, it can be adapted for use at all grade levels.



Compare toys.

  • Encourage students to ask their parents or grandparents what their favourite toys were and why. Invite students to present one of these toys (the toy itself, if possible, or a picture of it), along with the reasons why the interviewee loved the toy. Ask students to consider whether or not the toys would be fun to play with today. Are there better toys now? Determine if the reasons for the choices are the same as those of their parents or grandparents. Note the criteria students use–play value, durability, cost, aesthetics, appeal to personal interests, conformity (not being left out because everyone else has the toy) or attention (having the toy when nobody else does). Suggest additional criteria as students present their views and list them on the chalkboard. Create a chart for students to compare toys then and now for each of the identified criteria. Ask students to write a paragraph explaining their answer to the question. In the case of toys, how good were the good old days?

Compare school experiences.

  • Assign students to interview older people about their elementary school experiences. Compare past and current practices in various areas, such as the subjects studied, time spent on each subject per day and on overall school work each day, disciplinary methods, teaching methods, rituals (e.g., assemblies, singing O Canada, saying the Lord's Prayer), arrangement of the classroom and textbooks. Create a chart for students to record this information. Invite students to imagine what it would be like to attend school in these earlier times. Encourage students to bring photographs of old school scenes and consider using photocopies of the pictures to create a poster display. Assign students to write a diary-like account of a day in the life on an elementary student in this earlier time. Ask students to write a paragraph explaining their answer to the question, In terms of schooling, how good were the good old days?
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Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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