Background Activities

Lesson Plans One and Two

Grade Level: High School & Middle School

(Expected Outcomes to vary – Teachers must adapt depending on grade Level)


The purpose of this introductory activity is to provide students with background knowledge on Ireland and the Irish in New Brunswick while developing or enhancing research skills. Students will also focus on varied ways to evaluate information sources.


1. Divide the students into small groups and ask each group to collect 15-20 facts on Ireland and the Irish in New Brunswick (perhaps ten facts on each). Have the students record the source of their information next to each fact collected. Cut the paper into strips, each of which contains one fact.


2. As a class, generate a list of categories based on the facts the students have collected. These categories will serve to organize the information collected. Record these categories on a wall chart. Ask each group to paste its facts in the appropriate categories on the wall chart.


The following is a list of resources that students may use to begin researching. Students should be encouraged to discover additional sources on their own.


Ireland Facts

New Brunswick Facts

Another New Ireland Lost: The Irish in New Brunswick by Peter Toner

Almost as Bad as Ireland: The Experience of the Irish Immigrant of Canada, Saint John, 1847 by James M. Whalen

Timothy Warren Anglin: Irish Pioneer in New Brunswick

A Famine Journal: The Journal of Gerald Keegan

Saint John, New Brunswick: The Irish Story

Who Were the Celts?

Map of Ireland

Maps Of New Brunswick and its Counties

3. As the students move through the lesson activities, encourage them to continue to record information about Ireland and the Irish in New Brunswick on the wall chart. Post this chart as a shared resource for further lesson activities.


4. After the wall chart is complete, ask each group to create a brief paragraph describing how it collected and categorized its information. Have each group share its paragraph with the class. Lead a class discussion on the following questions:

– What were the most useful sources of information?

– What would you do if you were to find conflicting information?

– What were the most effective strategies for categorizing information?

– What did you learn from your research about searching for information, summarizing information, and analyzing information?


5. Ask each group to select one information source that it found to be extremely helpful, and share it with the class. Have the students discuss the reasons for their selections, and compare similarities and differences in each group’s choices. After all the groups have presented their favourites, assist the students to create a class rubric (set of rules or criteria) for rating information sources. After completing their rubric, have the students visit the following Web site:


University of Nebraska – Rubric for evaluating a website


Compare and contrast the class rubric with suggestions from this Website.