Picturing the Past
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Activity, printable version

Short Answer Questions

Lesson Plans for "The Guest Children"

The Guest Children is part of the Picturing the Past website at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Picturing the Past is a collection of essays, web exhibitions, and stories that focus on the Canadian National Railways photo gallery. The site exhibits this collection of images, obtained by the Canada Science and Technology Museum from CN Corporation on 10 May 2000. The collection spans more than one hundred years of Canadian history, providing a vibrant glimpse into our past through the lens of a camera. It contains more than one million images, including pictures of celebrities, royal visits, Canadian towns and cities, agricultural activities, First Nations people, preparations for the First and Second World Wars.

The collection itself is astonishing; however, there is often little information available about each individual photograph. Therefore, we have tried, through a series of fictional stories, exhibitions and essays, to give life and context to these pictures.

This story, The Guest Children, was developed to be used primarily by children aged nine to twelve. In keeping with this goal, we are providing a series of activities and questions that can be used in classrooms in conjunction with the site. Although the story itself is fictional, the experience of children crossing Canada is based on historical truths. As such, the site can be used for classes in the fields of:

  • Language Arts
  • Geography
  • History/Social Studies
  • Drama
  • Canadian Studies
  • Others, as you deem appropriate

The Guest Children is divided into twelve 'Stops' - each consisting of one or two short vignettes. The characters, Anne (aged twelve) and George (age nine) are British evacuees (called Guest Children by the Canadian Government) sent from cities in Britain to Canada during the Second World War for safety. The characters have a series of conversations, encounters and experiences as they travel from Britain to Canada by ship, and then from Halifax to Vancouver by rail. Each 'Stop' consists of a series of animations, which integrate the photographs that pertain to the encounters.

Short-answer questions are provided here to aide with the students' comprehension of the vignettes; each set is provided in printable, PDF format that can be handed out to your class. Each set of short-answer questions is followed by suggested activities.


Evacuation / Guest Children / Separation of siblings

Immigration / loneliness / boredom

Homesickness / leaving family and friends

Sailing / safety precautions - lifeboat drills, gas masks, life jackets

Soldiers / Canadian Army / women in the Armed Forces

War effort / Victory Bonds / nursing / war work / hospital trains

Bombing / Anderson shelter / U-boats

Rationing / food

Railway work / Centralized Traffic Control System

Prisoners of war

Recreation activities / amusement parks / baseball / swimming / beaches

Scenery / Canadian Shield / the Prairies / mountains / ocean

Airplane repair / maintenance / pilots

Royal Canadian Air Force / TransCanada Airlines / Avro Ansons / Airplanes / Royal Canadian Air

Force / British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

Agricultural work