Lesson Plan 2: Running a Battalion

Click here to download this lesson plan: Battalion Lesson Plan

Click here to download the student instruction handout: Battalion Handout


In this activity, students will be given several documents that showcase daily life for a soldier living with their unit. Students will develop their skills for using primary sources by examining the documents in order to learn details about daily soldier life. Using this knowledge, students will, in character as a soldier, write a letter home describing what their life has been like while with their unit.

Recommended Grade Range:

All provinces and territories except Quebec: Grades 10 to 12. Quebec: Secondary 4 and 5.


This lesson should follow previous discussions and lessons on the First World War.


  • Students will develop their research skills through examining primary sources for information on the daily life of soldiers.
  • Students will learn the living conditions for soldiers who were stationed at home in Canada.
  • Students will reinforce their knowledge of Canadian society during World War I through exploring the attitudes and living conditions present in their primary source research.

Estimated Time:

1 class period (2-3 with extension activities).

Materials Required:

  • Computer lab with internet access for students to access the documents.


Instruct the students to access the relevant documents on Waterloo at War. The following are examples that can be used:

  • File 28 (Circular Letters) Letters from 1st Division Officer outlining various┬átraining regiments.
  • File 29 (Canteen) p. 6. Letter from Lieut.-Col. Lochead to Capt. Spencer about the canteen.
  • File 29 (Canteen) p. 9. Abstract of receipts and expenditures in the canteen for February.
  • File 51 (Board of Inquiry)
  • File 7 (Discipline)

Instruct students to gather information about daily life for soldiers in the regiment. Instruct students to write an in character letter to a loved one about daily life, using the researched information. Tell students to apply their knowledge learned in class of Canadian social history of this period, complementing their researched information in their letter.

Extension Activities:

Have students read their letter to the class. Afterwards, discuss how the letters apply to their knowledge of Canadian social history learned in class.