Activity: Seeing Stars
Students use activity sheets to define "celebrity" versus "important person", as well as to explore the online exhibition, Face to Face: The Canadian Personalities Hall.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
- About 45 minutes of classroom time, plus homework time
or time in the computer lab
- Student copies of Sheet 1: Seeing Stars and Sheet 2: Canadian Personalities
- Pieces of paper or nametag stickers
- Internet access
WHAT TO DO
Photocopy the student sheets for this activity. Sheet 1: Seeing Stars is for classroom use. Sheet 2: Canadian Personalities can be done in the computer lab, or as homework. Have all sheets ready before you start.
Write the word "celebrity" on the board. Ask students to come up with definitions. Example: "A widely-recognized person who commands a high degree of public and media attention."
Once you have a working definition, ask students to suggest a list of celebrities and what they are famous for (e.g., Wayne Gretzky, hockey player), and write these on the board.
After a few minutes, ask students how many of their suggested celebrities are Canadian. Note which ones are Canadian on the board. Do the students see any groupings (e.g., musicians, athletes, politicians)?
Hand out Sheet 1: Seeing Stars, and have students work on it for a few minutes. On this sheet, students will be asked to differentiate between "famous" and "important" figures. When they have finished filling in their sheets, they will have identified one famous Canadian and one important Canadian.
Once the students are finished filling in Sheet 1: Seeing Stars, ask them to write the name of their "famous" Canadian and their "important" Canadian on two pieces of paper (or nametag stickers).
Begin by having students identify themselves as their "famous" Canadian. Ask them to divide into groups based on the categories already suggested above (i.e., musicians, athletes, politicians, etc.). Which category is the largest? Why do students think this might be? Are there any other differences, such as male versus female celebrities, regional differences, language differences, or ethnic diversity?
Repeat the process with their "important" Canadians. Do the students feel that anyone is missing from their groupings (e.g., women, visible minorities, etc.)?
Ask students how many of their Canadians are living or dead. Ask all students representing living Canadians to sit down. Are there many dead Canadians? Why, or why not? (Note: You may wish at this point to explore how students find out about celebrities and famous people - television, Internet, word of mouth, news media, textbooks, movies, etc. - then ask if they find it harder or easier to learn out about Canadians who lived a long time ago, such as Samuel de Champlain or Sir John A. Macdonald.)
Explain that the Canadian Museum of Civilization has created a special exhibition to celebrate important Canadians. Give the students Sheet 2: Canadian Personalities. Do any of them match the people selected by your students? Ask students if they can guess the selection criteria for choosing these personalities (see below, "Selecting Canadians for Face to Face: The Canadian Personalities Hall" for more information). Assign each student one of the Canadians from the sheet. They can complete this sheet as homework, or in the computer lab.