Supply Line Discovery Boxes – Canadian War Museum
By Leah Judd, BCSSTA
September 2020

An artifact can connect a student to history in a powerful and physical way.  Being able to hold a shell casing, try on a heavy military jacket or swing a gas rattle creates a personal connection and a physical memory.  Of course, at the moment many students might not be able to touch the artifacts if physical distancing, co-horts and mask wearing guidelines prevent touching shared artifacts.  Fortunately the Canadian War Museum has provided alternative suggestions for using their materials.

We had the Supply Line at school our first week back. Using the WWI artifacts was a new opportunity for students in Grade 10 Social Studies, so none of the students worried that they might have missed it in the Spring of grappling with a full face mask from the Canadian War Museum First World War Discovery Box, pre pandemic. school closures and accessing on line learning.  Students were able to photograph the artifacts, to use for creating their own sketches.  In pairs, they discussed what the artifact was, and how it might have been useful for Canadian soldiers.  They talked about the materials used, and how they might have changed for modern warfare.  Limitations were uncovered by the students, as they wondered aloud about a gas mask, knowing first hand what it is like to wear a mask at school. Some students realised they had something similar at home, and shared their personal stories.  One student has a set of shell casing that are brought out to display dried flowers at Christmas!  Watching a video of WWI, students had no trouble distinguishing between the two armies, having sketched the Brodie Helmet included in the Supply Line box.

Currently the Canadian War Museum ships out 2 different Discovery boxes (First World War and Second World War) to elementary and secondary schools across Canada – at no charge. The boxes are available for a 2 week loan.

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