Case of Curiosity

The Case of Curiosity is a multi-modal teaching tool that emphasizes differentiated learning. Students engage with a variety of objects and achieve learning goals through a number of instructional strategies.



Teacher Candidates: Jim Kavanaugh, Gary Maize, Krislyn Malott, Mike Marcon

Subject: History     Grade/Class: CHC2P

Date: November 18th, 2014           Time: 8:30-9:45 am

Duration: 75 Minutes

Lesson Topic: Life in the Trenches


·      Historical Inquiry: use the historical inquiry process and the concepts of historical thinking       when investigating aspects of Canadian history since 1914

·      Social, Economic, and Political Context: describe some key social, economic, and political events, trends, and developments between 1914 and 1929, and asses their significance for different groups in Canada


By the end of the lesson students should/will be able to:

1.     Select and organize relevant evidence and information on aspects of Canadian history since 1914 from a variety of primary and secondary sources ensuring that their sources reflect multiple perspectives

2.     Interpret and analyze evidence and information relevant to their investigations, using various tools, strategies, and approaches appropriate for historical inquiry

3.     Use appropriate terminology when communicating the results of their investigations

4.     Identify some major developments in science and/or technology during this period, and assess their significance for different groups in Canada

Learning/Teaching RESOURCES:

·      Teaching tool: Case of Curiosity and items (WWI Letter, Gas Mask, Photograph, Trench Maps)

·      Modelling clay for Trench Map assignment

·      Activity Description to be completed in class

·      Assignment Description to be completed in following classes and on own time

·      Four Envelopes

·      Powerpoint and handout

·      Laptop and projector

·      Anticipation guide

·      KWL Graphic Organizer

Lesson Sequence


·      Anticipation guide – distribute to students and instruct them to answer the ‘before lesson’ true or false questions


Activity 1: 10 Minutes

·      Distribute handout to allow students to follow along with Powerpoint presentation

·      Instruct students to fill in the necessary blanks

·      Powerpoint presentation “Life in the Trenches”

Activity 2: 10 Minutes

·      Divide groups

·      Instruct all students to stand up and gather at the centre of the classroom

·      Then instruct students to move to one of the four corners of the room depending on their interest in the activity/assignment

·      One corner will be the writing assignment (Letter), another corner will be the photo assignment (Photograph), another corner will be the role play assignment (Gas Mask), and the final corner will be the art assignment (Trench Maps)

·      Once students are in the corners of their choice, teachers should evaluate the number of students in each corner and make adjustments accordingly

·      Once group numbers have been finalized, record group members and activity/assignment

Activity 3: 25 Minutes

·      Introduce Pedagogical Tool – Case of Curiosity – containing four historical items

·      Letter, Gas Mask, Photograph, Trench Maps

·      Assign each item to the appropriate group along with corresponding envelop containing activity instructions

·      Instruct students that they have 20 minutes to explore their item in a tactile way and complete the activity as a group

·      While groups are completing their activity, the teacher is to circulate the classroom and present each group with the assignment, which they will complete in the following class periods. If any extra time is needed, students will have to meet outside of class.

Activity 4: 15 minutes

·      After completing the activity, each group will share with the class what they have learned about their historical artefact

C) Differentiated Instructional Strategies:

·      The assignment will allow each student to work to their own strengths (writing, photography, art, drama)

·      Adjust accordingly to classroom demands

·      Provide instructions written and verbally

D) Culminating Activity: 10 Minutes

·  Return to anticipation guide and answer the ‘after lesson’ true and false questions

·  Take up answers as a class

E) On-going Assessment/Evaluation:

·      Observations will be made as to how well students are working in their groups

·      Informal formative assessment will be made on students participation during anticipation and culminating activity, as well as the activity aligned to their historical artefact

·      Over the following class periods, students will be given time to work on their group assignments, which will be formally assessed

Reflection & Self-Evaluation:

After class, the teacher will reflect on what went well, what didn’t go well, and what needs to be revisited to make instructions more clear.



Areas for clarification:

Follow-up activities/ideas or next steps:

·  In the following classes, students will be given time to work on their group assignments, which will be handed in to be marked


Praxis Paper

The goal of this project is to create a multi-modal tool, which will allow for differentiated learning activities depending on student strength and interest. We will present students with a “Case of Curiosity” which will give them an opportunity to explore items inside the case and get to work with historical objects in a tactile manner. Each student will be required to do both an activity and assignment linked to the item they choose from the case. They will be doing both the assignment and the activity in groups. Each item will have an activity that will help guide them to get to know their item and explore it through a series of questions.

The second dimension of this is a more in depth assignment that will allow students to demonstrate learning goals in their preferred learning style. There is a letter writing assignment that will require students to research various dimensions of trench life and incorporate historical facts into a creative letter; blending information with creative writing. There is a gas mask item that will require the students to role-play the use of gas masks in a battle scene performed in front of the class or filmed.  There is a clay model trench assignment where students will use their artistic talent to create a clay model of the trenches. Finally, there is a photo scavenger hunt that will require students to explore history by engaging with digital technology.

The point of these differentiated learning strategies is to give students an opportunity to achieve learning goals in a multi-modal fashion. Hopefully, it will encourage students to explore history in a way that engages them, instead of being forced to follow the teacher’s preference or preferred learning style. The goal is to give student authorial control over their learning. Moving away from what Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum calls “assigning and telling” (Vacca 11). According to this style Content Area Reading states, “You probably had teachers who used an instructional strategy for teaching with text that included the following: Assign a text to read then, in subsequent lessons, tell students what the material they read was about, explaining and elaborating on the idea and information in the text through lecture and question-and-answer-routines” (Vacca 11).

The object of our pedagogical tool is to expand what is typically defined as learning, and give students a greater sense of agency over what they do in class, how they achieve learning, and what they produce for marking. It is important to remember that the concept of the Case of Curiosity can be expanded to include other objects from different historical periods or other areas of study entirely.

Works Cited

Vacca, Richard, et al. Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum. Boston: Pearson, 2014. Print.

Multi Lit Praxis Paper

Teacher Candidates: Jim Kavanaugh, Gary Maize, Krislyn Malott, Mike Marcon

Life in the Trenches

Multi Lit Project

Life in the Trenches Handout