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Black Creek Pioneer Village
1000 Murray Ross Parkway
Toronto, Ontario M3J 2P3
416 736-1733
bcpvinfo@trca.on.ca

Pre and Post Visit Activities V1

Pre and Post Visit Activities for Black Creek Pioneer Village Education Programs


Step into the Past

Pre Visit

  • old schoolRead a novel depicting early settler life or Victorian times.
  • Read a diary/journal of a settler in nineteenth century Ontario.
  • Discuss "what is a pioneer?"-talk about people who are pioneers in their profession or agents of change today.
  • Establish a list of words pertinent to early settler life.  Augment the list after your visit to Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Post Visit

  • Visit a local cemetery. Record birth and death dates. Graph the dates and draw a conclusion to longevity of life in different time periods.
  • Discuss traditions left to us by settler families.  Relate to family traditions that newcomers today want to keep alive.
  • Research plant materials that are good dye sources and note the colours that they produce.  Make a colour wheel and chart plant materials to correspond with colours on the wheel.
  • Collect commonly accepted nineteenth century household hints.  Present them on an illustrated poster.
  • Create a floor plan for a three room pioneer home.  Draw the views of the inside walls.  Label the objects within the home.
  • Choose a job/task you saw at Black Creek Pioneer Village, in or around a home.  What changes/inventions happened over the years to make the task easier or more efficient.
  • List occupations you saw at Black Creek Pioneer Village.  Note the occupations that would have counterparts today.
  • List ten tools or machines you saw at black Creek Pioneer Village.  Rank in order of importance to the group effort of the settler family.  
  • Map a pioneer community.
  • Research types and designs of fences most often used in pioneer communities.

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Life in A New Land

Pre Visit

  • Study a World map to compare centers of immigration in the 19th century compared to today.
  • Read a novel depicting pioneer times.
  • Record the weather for a month. Pretend that you are a recent immigrant to Upper Canada and determine how the weather would effect the task of settlement.
  • Establish a list of words pertinent to settler life. Augment the list after the visit to Black Creek Pioneer Village.
  • Survey the class to determine what household items would be repaired to today.

Post Visit

  • Brainstorm optimum conditions for a new home site. Rank the conditions in order of importance and explain the reasons for the order.
  • Research the construction of a log house.
  • write an advertisement outlining reasons why a newcomer should settle in Black Creek village.
  • Lists signs of early Canadian life that can still be seen in your community. Debate the reasons why communities change or stay the same.
  • Organize a "lunch box" social as a class activity.
  • Select a job observed at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Research the tools and materials required for the job and some of the products produced. Create a poster of the person at work.
  • Dramatize a day in the life of a family who are new to Canada, first day on the job in a trade/farm, preparing a meal or holding a barn raising bee.
  • Plan a menu for the main meal at a nineteenth century corn husking bee. Prepare some of the food as a group project.
  • Discuss the economic development of a pioneer community as it relates to the trades.
  • Tabulate the various types of mills that were operational in the 19th century.

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Yesterday’s Child

Pre Visit

  • making butterRead a story that depicts the life of a family in nineteenth century Ontario.
  • Discuss “what is a pioneer?”-talk about people who are pioneers in their profession or agents of change today.
  • Survey the class to determine what household items would be repaired or replaced today.

Post Visit

  • Evaluate the designs of clothing you saw at Black Creek Pioneer Village as to colour, design and suitability to lifestyle.
  • List the chores and responsibilities children would have had in the nineteenth century. Speculate on the age at which they would be able to do these chores.
  • Dramatize a day in the life of a child-first day of school or an apprenticeship, chores around the house or on the farm, a trip to town.
  • Hold a class spelling bee.
  • Make butter.
  • Chart a comparison of home tools used today with that of yesterday for laundry, cleaning, and gardening.
  • Collect commonly accepted nineteenth century household hints. Present them on an illustrated poster.
  • Write diary entries for a week in the life of a nineteenth century apprentice or student including his/her thoughts.
  • Write a letter to one of your classmates using cross writing. Seal the letter with sealing wax.
  • Design a one page newspaper communicating the important happenings in a small village.

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Many Hands/Stitch in Time

Pre Visit

  • Tin SmithRead a novel depicting settler or Victorian life.
  • Discuss farming with a list of work that must be done.
  • Catagorize jobs that are done in and around the home.
  • Study pictures of early settler/Victorian home interiors. Identify and list tools that are evident.
  • Research cleaning methods used in the home tody. Determine products/methods that could have poor environmental consequences.

Post Visit

  • Design a sampler including a proverb or motto and motifs.
  • Construct puppets of nineteenth century children. Develop a puppet show discussing the adage “many hands make light work”.
  • Write a poem about wool processing.
  • Develop a crossword puzzle using words that are pertinent to the jobs the children did at “Sam’s House”.
  • Dry or pickle some fruits and vegetables.
  • Classify the tools you saw according to job or trade.
  • Debate the merits of cooking on a wood stove vs.an open fire.
  • Consider the energy sources required to complete home and farm work. Rank these sources in order of usage.
  • Draw a poster illustrating woodworking tools of yesterday and today.
  • As a class project make your own “punch rug”. Have the students bring in scrap material from home.
  • Plan a hot meal suitable for the family on pioneer wash day.
  • Consider the modern conveniences used for heat, light, laundry and sanitation. Debate the advantages/disadvantaged of these conveniences as opposed to their pioneer counterparts from an environmental point of view.
  • Identify items in the pioneer home that could be recycled or reused.
  • Conduct a class sewing lesson.

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Society and Change

Pre Visit

  • Print ShopInterview a parent as to the technological changes and advancements that they have seen in their lifetime.
  • Research a 19th century Canadian who was a pioneer in their field of work. or an agent for change.
  • Read a novel that takes place in the second half of 19th century Canada.
  • Discuss the terms: temperance, franchise, suffrage,and “angel of the home”.

Post Visit

  • Have a class debate on the issue of alcohol prohibition.
  • Compare clothing of today with clothing of the 1860's and 70's in regards to comfort, practicality and restraints.
  • Hold a class “lunch box social”.
  • Play a game of baseball(research 19th century rules)
  • Discuss laws impacting the work place today that would not have been enacted in the 1860's and 70's.
  • 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.
  • Visit a local cemetery. Record birth and death rates. Graph the dates and draw a conclusion about longevity of life in different time periods.
  • Sketch the various motifs on tombstones. Research their meanings.
  • Write diary entries about the day in the life of a mill laborer, independent trade worker, doctor, minister’s wife, homemaker or a woman in a traditionally male dominated profession. Add to the list.

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1837 Rebellion Revisited

Pre Visit

  • Research living conditions in Upper Canada in the 1830's.
  • Discuss “what is a rebellion?”
  • Talk about the terms Family Compact, Moderate and Reformer.
  • Discuss some of the main personalities leading up to the 1837 Rebellion.

Post Visit

  • Debate an issue in class and then hold a class election the way it was done prior to Confederation.
  • Write a speech that a prominent Rebellion figure might have given. Get in character!
  • Put on a skit highlighting daily life for a farming family, a city family, a family new to Canada or a family considered part of the “Family Compact”.
  • Investigate the changes that occurred as a result of the 1837 Rebellion.
  • Do a project on a Rebellion personality and present to the class.
  • Create a chart indicating similarities and differences in education pre rebellion, 1860's and the present.
  • Write a proposal to a local government official offering an alternative to clergy reserve and crown land placements and the benefits of this plan.

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Waste Not, Want Not

Pre Visit

  • carrying waterDiscuss the adage “Waste Not Want Not”.
  • Review the 3 R’s as they are known today. Compare with the 3 R’s in the 19th century.
  • Research some pioneer chores done in and around the home.
  • Research the most frequently used materials in settlement days e.g. wood, leather, cloth.

Post Visit

  • Create toys or puppets from scrap material.
  • Plan a 19th century school lunch and have the students bring their lunch in a traditional container.
  • Design a quilt block from paper or cloth and decide on an appropriate name for the pattern.
  • List ways of reusing the newspaper then and now. Rank in the order of effectiveness.
  • List the types of containers you saw at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Compare these to a list of containers you find at home today.
  • Deduce why early pioneers reused and recycled goods. Compare how these reasons relate to environmental motives today.
  • Write a letter using the persona of a pioneer child to a cousin in Europe explaining the various ways in which the family is reusing and recycling.
  • Record in journal or diary format the ways in which you reduced, reused or recycled over the course of a week.

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Sensory Adventures

Pre Visit

  • Fall at Black CreekDiscuss, what are the 5 senses?
  • Look at pictures of older homes.
  • Look at pictures of people from “long ago”.

Post Visit

  • Make a pioneer snack and share as a class.
  • Draw a picture of your favorite building or activity.
  • Plant some seeds, care for them, and watch them grow.
  • Make a class list of new sites, sounds, smells, tastes and new things felt while at Black Creek Pioneer Village.
  • Learn and sing songs about the senses or experiences at the Village, for example: Head and Shoulders...., Ba Ba Black Sheep.

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Charlie Needs a New Cloak

Pre Visit

  • spinning woolRead the story “Charlie Needs a New Cloak”
  • Discuss “What is a museum?”
  • Look at pictures of people from long ago.

Post Visit

  • Draw a picture of your favorite building or activity.
  • Write a short story about the “mouse” or the “mischievous” sheep.
  • Read other stories that the depicts the lives of children long ago.

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Christmas Past

Follow Up Activities

  • Create a pomander using oranges or apples studded with cloves
  • String popcorn and cranberries to make a decorative chain.
  • Discuss the difference between carols and popular Christmas songs. Practice traditional songs/carols from other lands.
  • Bake or produce gingerbread wo/men from other materials. Decorate appropriately.
  • Draw a picture of traditional Christmas celebrations as experienced by the students. Locate countries on the map where these celebrations originate. Use the pictures to make a class collage or scrapbook.
  • Write a pioneer Christmas letter to a friend or relative in the homeland.
  • List the Christmas gifts you saw in the Village. Sort into two groups-home-made or purchased?
  • Compare present day Christmas preparations with those of a family living in Daniel Stong’s “First House”.
  • List new “Christmas Past” words learned at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Define the words. Reinforce by having a Friday afternoon “Spelling Bee” like those in the early one room school.
  • Make at least ten words from the letters in the sign “LASKAY EMPORIUM”
  • Play games similar to those played after a Victorian Christmas dinner.
  • Plan a menu for a Victorian Christmas dinner.
  • Produce a Christmas card depicting scenes or concepts from Black Creek Pioneer Village.
  • Create decorations using material available to the pioneers. Even make home made glue!
  • Read Christmas stories.
  • Research the history of Christmas trees.
  • Research the differences among the speicies of coniferous trees generally used as Christmas trees. Discuss the environmental impact of Christmas trees.

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Toys of Yesterday

Follow Up Activities

  • Produce your own Christmas rebus.
  • Write your own interactive story like the one in the workshop. Have the entire class participate in telling the “story”.
  • Design your own toy using the principals of energy and motion.
  • Play charades. Have each student contribute a charade to act out. Keep to a theme.
  • Make and play with a string and button toy.
  • List gifts and toys that you saw in the Village. Sort into two groups-homemade or purchased?
  • Discuss various holiday games and toys that children in the class play with their families and friends.

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