Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan #23

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Learning History Through Media:
Reporting on the Past

Grades 7 to 12

Language Arts, Journalism, History, Technology

This lesson plan will assist the teacher bring historic events alive for their students. Using about media and journalism in the classroom is a great way to learn about history! Students can explore the past and the present through newspapers, television, radio, film and photos. And they can look at the ways that today's current events are being recorded for future generations.




1. Brainstorm with students about historic events, people and activities they would like to write about out of the current class curriculum. Ideas such as ‘The Sinking of the Titanic', The Great Fire in St. John's, Fathers of Confederation, historic people in their province, etc.

Write the story ideas on the board and assign to students. Take 15 minutes to discuss story ideas with students. Ask them to write down information they already knew on the subject selected.

This project can be done on an individual basis or a group (3-4 students) basis.

. Tell the students they will be writing this story as if they were reporting on it for the local newspaper of the day.
Review with students the 5W's Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes How). Students will need to tell their readers who was involved, what happened, when it took place, where the action was set and why it happened that way.

Use the inverted pyramid style which means that articles should be written with the most important information first and the least important last. Review with students SNN's Writing Guide and check out Lesson #1 on Writing a Newspaper Article.

. Students to do research on the internet, books, library and museums on their subjects. (Remember to cite all web addresses when taking material directly from a site).

4. This project is to be done as if the student reporter was there, talking with people involved in the event. Students will gather information from the internet, books, libraries, museums especially personal accounts by people in the community that were present during the event. They will write their article as if they were interviewing them. Students can do interviews as well with people still living who have knowledge of the event using video/audio which can be used in an SNN article.

5. HOMEWORK: Students to write a profile article on their historic subject citing source material and using vivid words and phrases to bring their stories alive! These articles will then be presented in class.

Students will be evaluated on in class participation, research and well-written profile article.


Assign your students to cover the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Have one student report from Halifax where the survivors of the wreck were brought. Assign another to talk to the people who received wireless messages from the Titanic in her last moments. The students can write a series of stories to go on the front page of the newspaper on the morning after the ship sank. Students would gather information on the Titanic from internet sites, books, etc. about the people that were involved in the event - especially their account of the event.



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