Learning Outcomes

Curriculum Connections

Instructional Organizer

Extension Activities

Select Bibliography for Class Use


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PART 1: The Classroom Issue Referendum
PART 2: The Community Meeting
PART 3: Writing the Newspaper
PART 4: The Class Newfoundland Referendum
PART 5: Creating the Class Timeline Display
PART 6: Closure



40 minutes


  • evaluating information
  • applying information in decision making
  • supporting a position with reasons


  • BLM 4-1: Referendum Ballots (one ballot slip for each student)
  • BLM 4-2: Referendum Positions Organizer (one copy per pair of students)
  • BLM 4-3: The Newfoundland Referendum (one overhead transparency)


Grouping - whole class

  1. Prepare to conduct a class vote on whether or not Newfoundland should join Confederation. Create several makeshift voting booths in the classroom and plan to use the principle of the secret ballot.

  2. Use the sample ballots provided (BLM 4-1). Photocopy and cut copies for your class.

  3. Ask students to vote on the referendum statement:

Grouping - teacher/student
  1. Have a "Chief Returning Officer" (yourself, someone from the class who did not vote, or a third party) count ballots and later announce the referendum results.
Grouping - whole class
  1. While votes are being counted, summarize with students the reasons of Newfoundlanders for supporting and opposing Confederation. You may want to make chalkboard, chart-paper or overhead-transparency lists.
Grouping - pairs
  1. Have students complete Part 1 of the Referendum Positions Organizer (BLM 4-2), working in pairs. Then prepare for class referendum results.
Grouping - whole class
  1. Record the vote count on the chalkboard and calculate the percentages of Yes votes and No votes on the referendum question.
Grouping - pairs
  1. Ask the class, collectively, to suggest possible reasons for the outcome of the ballot. Then have students complete Parts 2 and 3 of their Referendum Positions Organizers.
Grouping - whole class
  1. Show the class the overhead transparency on The Newfoundland Referendum (BLM 4-3), which shows the actual results, and discuss the information.

  2. Ask students to reflect - in a discussion or in writing - on their experience of the referendum:

    • Did they find the referendum a fair way to reach a conclusion? Why or why not?
    • The actual results in Newfoundland were very close. Do these results affect their opinions about the fairness of the referendum?
    • What was the function of the community meeting? Why was it important?
    • What was the function of the press in the referendum?
    • What is the responsibility of the individual in any referendum?


Evaluate the Referendum Positions Organizers. Do they show:

  • at least two reasons to support Confederation?
  • at least two reasons to oppose Confederation?
  • accurate tallies of the class vote?
  • a fair representation of the reasons for the class results?

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