Grade: 8

In a variety of groupings, using interactive techniques, students will work together to understand different parts of a treaty and how it influences Canadian identity. Students will use the graphic organizer to collect and organize information in order to create infographics (alternate option: a poster board) to show their understanding about a treaty and its impact on Canadian identity.

Essential Question

How do treaties influence identity?

Big Idea

Students will be able to explain the relationship between different treaties or elements of a treaty in Canadian history and will understand how it influences Canadian identity.

Students will understand how First Nations and specifically Dakota people were a part or not a part of different treaties.

View Complete Lesson Plan

Lesson Outline

At least 8 class periods
1. Understanding what a treaty is
2. Explaining the project and choosing a historical event
3. Understanding what an infographic is
4. Reading and researching about the event and collecting information
5. Creating a rough sketch of proposed infographic
6. Creating the final infographic (2 class periods)
7. Peer and self reflection


Social Studies DR 8.2: Describe the influence of the treaty relationship on Canadian identity.


English Language Arts CC 8.4: Use pragmatic (e.g., use appropriate language register), textual (e.g., use artistic devices such as figurative language), syntactical (e.g., combine sentences to form compound and complex sentences for variety, interest, and effect), semantic/lexical/ morphological (e.g., use words to capture a particular aspect of meaning), graphophonic (e.g., correctly pronounce words with proper emphasis), and other cues (e.g, arrange and balance words and visuals as well as fonts) to construct and to communicate meaning.

English Language Arts CR 8.6: Read and demonstrate comprehension and interpretation of grade-appropriate texts including traditional and contemporary prose fiction, poetry, and plays from First Nations, Métis, and other cultures to evaluate the purpose, message, point of view, craft, values, and biases, stereotypes, or prejudices.

NOTE: There are many great math infographics that could be tied in with this lesson to look at how numbers play a part in infographics

Teachers will co-construct a checklist with the students for the final project.

Example criteria could consist of:
– able to explain the relationship of the event to Canada’s identity
– uses words and pictures to effectively express the historical event and Canada’s identity

This lesson requires students to self assess and peer assess. Depending on how familiar students are with doing peer and self assessing, the teacher might need to provide more guidance than what is listed in this lesson.

Part 1: Understanding What a Treaty is

Use the Silent Conversation Technique

  1. Read the first paragraph from Government of Canada website page on treaties that states: (This information could be shown from a data projector so students could follow along while the teacher is reading it aloud.

“Treaties with Aboriginal people in Canada

The Government of Canada and the courts understand treaties between the Crown and Aboriginal people to be solemn agreements that set out promises, obligations and benefits for both parties.

Starting in 1701, in what was to eventually become Canada, the British Crown entered into solemn treaties to encourage peaceful relations between First Nations and non-Aboriginal people. Over the next several centuries, treaties were signed to define, among other things, the respective rights of Aboriginal people and governments to use and enjoy lands that Aboriginal people traditionally occupied.

Treaties include historic treaties made between 1701 and 1923 and modern-day treaties known as comprehensive land claim settlements.

Treaty rights already in existence in 1982 (the year the Constitution Act was passed), and those that came afterwards, are recognized and affirmed by Canada’s Constitution.” Access Government of Canada website page on treaties here.

  1. The teacher could do a brief think aloud about some difficult vocabulary they are experiencing while they are reading the information.
  2. On a whiteboard or large piece of chart paper write the question: What are characteristics of a treaty?
  3. Break the students into partners, and have one looseleaf sheet of paper and a pencil or pen between the two of them.
  4. Explain that they will be having a silent conversation through passing notes to each other to answer the question in step #2. It might feel odd for the students to sit quietly while the other person writes down an answer but it allows everyone to contribute.
  5. The first person writes the question at the top of the shared page. While the first person is writing the question, the second person can think of one thing to write as a response because they will start the response.
  6. Students should write back and forth at least three times. As the teacher monitors the students, they can have a note pad where they can write their own notes to different student conversations to help move the conversation forward.
  7. Repeat the process once more have the second student start the silent conversation by writing the question: What treaties do you know about?
  8. Seeing the silent conversation will shed some light on what students’ understanding is of treaties.
  9. Explore the Treaty Timeline the OTC has created to show there are more than just the numbered treaties that are a part of Canada’s history.
  10. Allow students time to explore the OTC Treaty Timeline. Have students record three events from the OTC Treaty Timeline on their looseleaf.
  11. Collect students’ looseleaf at the end to use at the end of the project to use in their self reflection.

Part 2: Explanation of Project

  1. Hand out the Choice Board handout, and explore the different components of the assignment.
  2. Allow students time to look at the different choices they can explore.
  3. Have students submit their choice of what they wish to spend time researching. Go through the choices making sure that all the choices have been covered on the choice board and if any student is proposing their own research, it is approved.
  4. The teacher can choose whether students do the actual infographic individually, or in groups no larger than 3.

Part 3: Understanding Infographics

  1. Define what an infographic is (see this link for a definition).
  2. Examine one strong example of an infographic and discuss key attributes.
  3. List the key attributes on the board.
  4. Hand out 5 new infographics. There are examples from this site that you could choose from.
  5. Have students in groups of 3 critique the infographics and rate them from worst to best.
  6. Then have each group pair up with one other group and listen to each other explain why they ordered the 5 infographics in the order they did.
  7. Have students in their group go online and find an infographic that would demonstrate a strong example and then have them explain why.

Part 4: Research

  1. Again, examine the Infographic Choice Board Assignment and tell students which choice they have been approved to research and if the project is being completed in groups, which group members they will be working with.
  2. Have students look at the Infographic Organizer hand out. Discuss what good questions are.
  3. Co-construct criteria with the students on all the elements of an assignment as a checklist by having students and yourself brainstorm important elements to make a quality infographic. Once the brainstorming is complete sort and organize the ideas into categories that can be titled.
  4. Allow time for research on computers and and students can use the available Dakota Information Cards on the website.

Part 5: Rough Draft

  1. Create an assessment sheet using the Checklist Sheet incorporating the ideas from co-constructing criteria and handout to students so they are aware of the expectations for creating the infographic
  2. Review what are quality components of creating a sketch for people to examine.
  3. Review how to create quality graphics and what graphics can be used off the internet.
  4. Have students finish filling in the Infographic Organizer hand out and then have students get at least one other peer to look at their rough copy and make comments about what they are thinking about creating.
  5. Have students share their rough draft with an adult before moving to create the final copy.

Part 6: Infographic Creation

1. Allow students the opportunity to complete the infographic.


Part 7: Sharing and Reflection

  1. Post the infographics in a location where they are spread out and allow students to view them.
  2. Discuss the components of filling in the Reflecting on the Infographic hand out.
  3. Either assign students to look at certain infographics or have the students choose which infographics they would like to learn from and reflect on by filling in the reflection sheet. Have students reflect on their own infographic and between 2-4 other infographics that were created by other students.
  4. Display the quote that was used to start this study and ask students to again reflect on the quote and what they think about the quote now that they have spent time examining a historical event and it’s relationship to Canada’s identity. This could be done as a discussion or as a paragraph writing assignment.



  • If infographics do not seem like a good choice for the class that is being taught, poster boards would be an option that could be substituted in place of creating an infographic.


  • Teach key vocabulary (treaty, infographic, Dakota, First Nations) before expecting students to create an infographic.


  • Have students look at the 2 or 3 infographics and create a double or triple venn diagram looking at the similarities and differences between the information in the  infographics.

Materials Required