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Growth of a Nation: Trading Cards

Growth of a Nation: Trading Cards

Francesca Ianni, Governor General's Award Recipient (2004)

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Grades 7 – 10/ History, Creative Writing, Language Arts, Visual Arts. This can be a courseculminating activity to cover themes in the period from 1900-to the present or be modified for use as a unit activity for any era in Canadian history (such as the 50s, 60s 70s, etc.)


Growth and maturity of a nation; social, political, cultural, and economic growth


This activity should be introduced at the beginning of the Grade 10 history course. A planning sheet should be given to each student at that time so that they can record the two events/inventions/people that interest them after each unit of study. The challenge is to get the students to keep up with this. I recommend setting aside approximately 30 minutes at the end of each unit of study for the students to reflect on what has been learned and record on the planning sheet the two topics that they may be using for the trading cards. I also recommend holding on to these sheets for the students and redistributing them at the end of each unit so that the process can be repeated. In this way, each student will have a plan ready for this activity at the end of the course. There is a section on the planning sheet (see Appendix B) entitled “sources.” Encourage the students to record page titles of books and page numbers where the information of their topic is readily available.


Students will:

  • research and synthesize information
  • understand and appreciate the events/people etc that have shaped Canada
  • further develop analytical skills
  • further develop paragraphing skills
  • reflect on course material



This activity should be introduced within the first two weeks of the course and is then ongoing throughout the term.


Each student will create a package of 10 Canadian History Trading Cards. These cards can be the size of a card in a regular deck of playing cards, or larger. Cards may even be made into an interesting shape (something that symbolizes Canada, perhaps a beaver, maple leaf, canoe, map). These cards will be a visual representation of the history of Canada's growth and maturity into the great nation it is today. The front of each card will include a visual of the topic, while the back will include a written explanation in paragraph form. The first paragraph will include factual details, while the second will provide the historical significance. The ten cards will be packaged as if they were for sale in a souvenir shop in Canada. (See Appendix C for student handout.)


  • • Students will need to use their class textbook predominantly.
  • • Students should be encouraged to use the public library and/or school library to seek out books on Canadian inventions, famous people etc. to supplement the material in their textbooks.
  • • Bringing in a small, boxed game is a good way to remind students of what is needed as far as packaging a product. Point out the catchy title, description on back, bar code, price etc.
  • • Appendix A- Student Front-of-Card Samples
  • • Appendix B- Planning Sheet
  • • Appendix C- Student Handout

About the Educator

Francesca Ianni is an energetic history teacher who wants her students to be fascinated by learning and to enjoy coming into her classroom. Francesca infuses her lessons with stories and anecdotes as well as historical facts to engage her students. Her innovative teaching style includes the use of role play, oral presentations, murals, posters and other creative assignments along with teaching the importance of understanding the process for writing a proper historical essay. Francesca simply wants her student to love learning as much as she does.

Appendixes available in PDF file.


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