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7 Canadian Confederation Resources for the Classroom

7 Canadian Confederation Resources for the Classroom featured image

Supplement your grade 8 history lessons with these seven resources about Canadian Confederation. Challenge your history students to a Confederation Kahoot! and lead inquiry discussions from our sample questions. From videos that explore the origins of Confederation, to virtual exhibits with artifacts from the founding fathers, this content is sure to bring some life to your history lesson.


Founding of the British North America Act

Discover how the seven colonies and two territories of British North America united to form a new country. Explore how American expansionism, political and economic conflict led to the formation of a united government and laws which became the British North American Act. 


The Story of the Canadian Pacific Railway

Part five of the ten-part CBC miniseries Canada: The Story of Us focuses on how John A. Macdonald’s vision of a united nation hinged on the promise of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Learn how this uncompromising vision of a country connected by rail led to land conflicts with Indigenous and Métis people, which culminated in the Indian Act of 1876.


Activity Idea: Debate for Confederation

Fathers of Confederation - Copy v2Working as a class or in small groups, have your students research the reasons for and against confederation. Divide the class into two sides and have them debating the reasons for and against confederation.

  1. Side A presents arguments in favor of confederation. (5 min)
  2. Side B presents arguments against the confederation. (5 min)
  3. Side A responds to information presented by Side B. (3 min)
  4. Side B responds to information presented by Side A. (3 min)
  5. Question Period (5 min)
  6. Vote on Confederation – have the class vote if they would move forward or
    reject confederation based on the arguments raised by both sides.

Stories of Confederation from the
Canadian Museum of National History

Stories of confederationFrom the actual stones thrown at Lord Eglin to the revolver used in the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee, this virtual exhibit provides an in-depth look at Canadian Confederation from a variety of perspectives. Broken down into four topic clusters, complete with artifacts and activities there is a plethora of education content to supplement your classroom lesson.      

Stories of Confederation


Heritage Minute: Sir George-Étienne Cartier

The ever-beloved Heritage Minutes are a flashback to the 1990s. We love this feature of Cartier, who, while not as famous as Sir John A. Macdonald, was an influential and important Father of Confederation, and one of Sir John A.’s closest friends and collaborators.


Confederation Kahoot!

Canada confederation womanAfter watching the above videos, challenge your class to a Kahoot! game to reinforce the key facts of Confederation.

  • Go to Kahoot.com
  • Click "login" or "create account" on the top right
  • Once logged in, go to the discover tab next to the home button
  • In the search field, enter “Brightspark: Confederation & Building the CPR
  • Click the “Brightspark: Confederation & Building the CPR” Kahoot
  • Hit “play” and select either Teach (live game where everyone plays at the same time) or Assign (students play at their own pace with a deadline attached to it)
  • Send the link and pin to your students (students do not need an account to play)


Political Cartoons from the Government of Canada Archives

Confederation cartoonExplore 25 political cartoons from 1840s-1890s that examine the issues surrounding Confederation from different regional perspectives.

Activity Idea: Have the students pick one cartoon and consider what they see: What/Who is overtly represented in this cartoon? What are they doing? What characters are used? What symbols do you see? What do the symbols represent?

Canadian Confederation Political Cartoons


Podcast: Assassination of D’Arcy McGee Ghost Story

Ottawa Jail haunted walksFrom our friends at the Haunted Walks of Ottawa, hear the grizzly story of Patrick James Whalen, who was wrongly accused of the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee. Starting at 10:30 into the podcast about the famous Ottawa Jail, this story delves into the details of the assassination and mysterious details surrounding Whalen’s imprisonment and execution.

Haunted Talks: Ottawa Jail


For a more immersive lesson on Confederation, consider taking your class on a trip to Ottawa. See more itineraries and ideas here.