Lesson Plan: Immigrant Stories


Social Studies 4, Outcome 2:

Students will examine the stories of various explorers, of land, ocean, space and ideas, inclusive of Acadians, African Nova Scotians, Gaels, Mi’Kmaq and additional cultures.



To familiarize students with the stories of Gaels' immigration to Nova Scotia, emigration of a large number of Gaels and the impact this had on attitudes towards Gaelic language and culture.


Suggested time

2 hours


Anticipated Outcomes

Students will

  • Display an understanding of some of the struggles the Gaels faced as immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries, relating this information to what they already know about pioneer life.
  • Be able to note differences in society in Scotland vs that of pioneer Nova Scotia and 21st century Nova Scotia.
  • Be able to define the term "immigrant" in their own words and relate this to their understanding of immigrants in today's context.
  • Display an understanding of the reasons behind some negative attitudes towards Gaelic culture and language in the early 1900s.


  • Discuss the meaning of the term "immigrant".  Note that unless we are of indigenous peoples, we all descend from immigrants.  Do we know any recent immigrants?
  • Read the story of the Hector and look at some pictures on the LCD projector.  How many years ago was 1773?
  • Read About the Bard MacLean.  Look at the picture of the island of Tiree in the file labeled "pictures" on the LCD projector.  Note the difference in appearance between the island and Nova Scotia.  How many years ago was 1819?
  • Listen to the song "Be Merry and Raise a Tune" 
  • Read the story of Big Finlay. 
  • Watch Dan Angus Beaton telling the story and try to guess what he is talking about throughout'
  • Read the story told by Johnny Archie MacKenzie
  • In small groups fill out appx.6 on the differences between stories.

Review and Reflection

  • As a class, discuss what we wrote on appx. 6.


Bonus Activity

Research log cabins and share information with the class.  Create log cabin dioramas.  Learn about what woods are best to use and how to fill in the gaps between the logs with moss or mud to keep the cold out.