Think Like a Historian: Introduction to the Halifax Explosion

Inference : An inference is an educated guess, based on evidence and reason. 1. Using your notes from the I See, I Think, I Wonder Chart , draw three conclusions that answer the guiding question: What can we learn from Arthur Lismer’s sketches about people’s experiences during the Explosion? 2. Discuss your conclusions in small groups. Are your findings similar to or different from those of other groups? 3. Have a class discussion. D) REACHING CONCLUSIONS Compare one of Lismer’s sketches with a similar photograph in the Image Comparison Supplement in the Arthur Lismer Worksheets Package on the Education Portal . 1. Working in pairs, choose an image set from the available photographs and sketches to compare. Record notes about the details in each of the images in the Finding Proof Chart in the Arthur Lismer Worksheets Package . 2. Consider the similarities and differences that you found and discuss your findings with another pair. • Are the images more similar or different? • What are the most important similarities or differences? • Are there inconsistencies? • What does comparing images of the event reveal to you about the Halifax Explosion? Write a brief caption for a sketch and a photograph from each artist’s perspective. Modification Contextualizing a primary source involves placing the source in space and time. Examining the context of a source helps us situate one piece of evidence in the wider picture of history. To analyze Arthur Lismer’s sketches as evidence from the past, it is important to consider them within the events of the time. 5. ARTHUR LISMER: SKETCHES A biography of Arthur Lismer is available in the Arthur Lismer Worksheets Package on the Education Portal . In the following activities, you will work toward a better understanding of the experiences of people who survived the Halifax Explosion. To begin, watch and listen carefully to the “Halifax Explosion in Sketches” video. After watching the video, share your responses with the class (including connections, questions, etc.). As you work through the activities in this section, keep in mind the following guiding question: Guiding Question: How do Arthur Lismer’s sketches provide a deeper understanding of the experiences of people who lived through the Halifax Explosion? Teacher Tip : Download the 3D Primary Source Pyramid from the Education Portal . Have students assemble a pyramid to help guide their analysis. Studying the details of a sketch can reveal a deeper understanding of Lismer’s perspective and the Halifax Explosion itself. In pairs, select a sketch to analyze. Use the I See, I Think, I Wonder Chart i n the Arthur Lismer Worksheets Package to record your observations as you work through the steps below. 1. Study the image closely. Cover three-quarters of the image with a piece of paper, and focus on one quadrant at a time to examine the details. 2. Working independently, begin with the “I See” section of the chart. Think about the following questions and record your observations in the “I See” section: • Who is in the image? Consider age, gender, social or familial role(s). • What details do you see? Consider the actions and expressions of figures, and the buildings or landscapes depicted. • What is the mood and tone? Consider the composition, and techniques like lines, shading and colour. 3. Next, work with your partner on the “I Think” section. Building on what you recorded in the “I See” section, develop inferences [see below] about what the sketch communicates, what Lismer’s intentions may have been, or what it might tell us about the Explosion. Which details do you think tell us the most about the experiences of people who lived through the Explosion? 4. Do you still have questions about what is going on in the sketch? List your questions in the “I Wonder” section. 5. Come together as a class to discuss your findings. 1. Working in pairs, review the Arthur Lismer Sketches Collection in the Arthur Lismer Worksheets Package on the Education Portal . 2. Using your knowledge and notes from Activities 1 and 2 in this guide, assess what evidence you can see in Lismer’s sketches of the Explosion. Consider the following questions: • Is the broader historical context of the First World War visible in Lismer’s sketches? • Is it obvious that these sketches depict the Halifax Explosion? Or could they be depicting another event? 3. Discuss your findings as a class. B) CONTEXT A.Y. Jackson, Fred Varley, Lawren Harris, Barker Fairley, Frans Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. Macdonald at the Arts and Letters Club (courtesy Archives of Ontario/F 1066-6/I0010313). Arthur Lismer, A.R.C.A. (courtesy Archives of Ontario/ F 1075-12-0-0-53/I0007820). The 5W s After watching the “ Halifax Explosion in Sketches ” video, complete the 5Ws chart to record your findings and organize your thoughts. 1. Use the 5Ws Chart i n the Arthur Lismer Worksheets Package to record your answers. • Who is the artist? • When and where were the sketches created? • What do they communicate? • Why were they created? 2. What questions do you have? 3. Discuss your findings as a class. Note to educators: Assign students one of the images in the Arthur Lismer Sketches Collection to analyze. C) EXPLORING E) FINDING PROOF A)