Vanguards of Science & Society
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- A package of handouts, assignment questions, and an answers sheet around accomplished women in Ontario's history.
First, select the length or reading level you prefer. There are two reading levels: roughly grades 3-6 and grades 7-12. The earlier reading level handouts are shorter - one page only. The later reading level is longer - two pages to each reading.
Then, select the Vanguards you wish your students to read about.
There are two Society Vanguards: Pauline Johnson (writer, poet, and performer) and Mary Ann Shadd Cary (writer, publisher, and activist). There are two Science Vanguards: Irene Uchida (scientist) and Emily Stowe (doctor).
Depending on what class you're teaching, you may wish to look at only science, only humanities, or all of the above. You may wish to focus on vanguards of colour: Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Pauline Johnson, and Irene Uchida. You may want women from the 1800s: Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Emily Stowe, and Pauline Johnson.
Download and print as many copies as you need - the readings are suitable for individual, pair, group, or reading aloud for the entire class.
Then, download and print copies of the activity sheet for each individual, pair, or group to fill out separately or together. There are five questions to answer.
Then, save a copy of the marking aid for yourself - it lists some likely responses your students will come up with. You're not limited to these answers, and there will be some points for discussion.
For example, Irene Uchida describes herself as never being hindered by her gender, only by her race. This may or may not be true, but this is her perspective. You can use this to highlight for your students the types of individual experiences that can exist in societies of systemic oppression.
We have put all four marking aids in one document, but you may only need to refer to one or two, depending on the readings you've chosen.
If you wish to have students answer the questions out loud and lead a discussion about each part, it can be helpful to have students compare their answers from different readings.
For example, what were the challenges that Mary Ann Shadd Cary faced due to her gender? What challenges did Emily Stowe face? Who, in your view, had it worse? Who had to fight harder against those challenges? Allow the students to debate their positions and consider the challenges as described by their classmates from readings they didn't do.
You can run this activity in-class or send it home as a homework assignment. If you'd like to include technology, you can send your students to the URLs attached to each item record and printed on each handout, where they can see more primary sources and explore other links related to the subjects.
Finally, once you've run this activity with your students, come back and tell us how it went! You can submit a comment on each item record, or send us a testimonial on the site as a whole. You can also get in contact with us by email or social media and send us your feedback and suggestions.
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