The lessons provide students with opportunities to critically reflect upon events and issues to make connections with the past, examine the present, and, hopefully, shape the future. Students examine primary sources: copies of actual photographs, government documents, and personal accounts to make these connections.

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How to use these lessons

Start with the Main Dispossession Activity: the Powell Street simulation.

Do the 8 Supporting Lessons concurrently so that you are ready to take away the students’ simulated possessions and property by Lesson C: Introduction to Internment (Viewing Photographs).

Each lesson contains these parts:


  • a synopsis of what students do in each lesson


  • curriculum connections for each lesson, including what students will learn to do, what they will know by doing the lesson, broader competencies explored by doing the lesson, and First Peoples’ Principles of Learning addressed by doing the lesson.


  • a “recipe” for how to teach each lesson

With most of the Supporting Lessons, there are also Extensions and Variations so that you can go deeper or take things in a different direction.

You can choose to skip some of the Supporting Lessons if you are limited in time.

Main Activity and Supporting Lessons

Main Dispossession Activity: The Powell Street simulation

Using a low-tech simulation on a bulletin board, students learn what it was like for Japanese Canadians to be removed from their homes and to have their property and businesses taken from them and sold without their permission.

Supporting Lessons

Lesson 1. Beliefs (Introducing the Issues)

Using a “Beliefs” statement chart, students begin to think about some of the key issues behind this unit before the actual study of the content.

Lesson 2. Fair/Unfair Game (“FUF”)

Students play a strange game in which the rules are not clear and do not seem fair.

Lesson 3. Introduction to Internment (Viewing Photographs)

Students analyze photographs to gain knowledge about the Japanese Canadian experience.

Lesson 4. Suitcases: Going to Internment

Students evaluate what is important to them by trying to figure out what they would bring if they were suddenly forced out of their homes.

Lesson 5. Living in Internment Camps

Students simulate the cramped and crowded living conditions of internees by trying to fit their own belongings into a floor plan of an internment shack. They also examine various primary and secondary sources to learn about life during internment.

Lesson 6. Dispossession: Letters of Protest

Students read letters of protest from dispossessed Japanese Canadians to see how some of them reacted to the losses they suffered.

Lesson 7. Charter of Rights and Freedoms & Treatment of Japanese Canadians

Students determine whether or not Japanese Canadians were treated fairly with respect to certain rights that other Canadians held.

Lesson 8. Redress: How to Apologize for Making a Mistake

Students assess a number of scenarios to determine whether a situation warrants an apology and how reparations could be made. They learn about redress for Japanese Canadians and evaluate whether the apology was appropriate.

Though it does not include the Powell Street simulation or the dispossession protest letters, some teachers like having the entirety of the supporting lessons, pictures, handouts, etc. in one place. Download the original Internment and Redress teaching resource here.