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Academic Introduction

As the 20th Century fades more and more into our collective memory, it is still important for educators to examine the great and violent confrontations that have made the century one of humanities bench marks for destruction, and paradoxically, the development of amazing leaps in social, cultural and technological developments.

The Battle of the Atlantic was conducted for 69 months over the reaches of millions of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean and its adjunctive seas. It was an area of conflict that was conducted from the tropics to the arctic, and was the confrontational realm that held the key to the resolution of what we call World War II. Without the free passage of strategic materiel and men from North America, Britain would not survive the Nazi onslaught. Without that same resource, Russia, would not have received the aid that contributed to its ability to hold and finally repel the German invaders. In short, who controlled the Atlantic would ultimately dictate the outcome of the war.

The ABC of the Battle of the Atlantic is designed to help teachers and students in grades 9-12, learn more about this region and the role that Canada and the Canadian Navy played in the conflict in stimulating and innovative ways. It is a multidiscipline and bilingual resource that enables teachers to view the Battle of the Atlantic through their own academic prism. From history and geography, through language, art and music, math and science, family studies and media studies, students and teachers will be able to link their discipline to a component of this study. The programme consists of several components, each of which can be used separately or as part of a complete and integrated unit. The programme also includes teachers with complete instructional support and contains lesson suggestions that educators of all levels of experience will find of value.

Teacher Resource

The T.A.Blakelock designed Teacher Resource provides a comprehensive overview of the programme. It includes an academic rationale for each subject application along with sample lessons and a selection of lesson suggestions. Additional discussion topics are provided along with suggested areas of research that can be pursued by individuals and small groups.

A modified BBC radio game show, Just-A-Minute, has been included in the programme and this provides an innovative and challenging vehicle for in school, in-class academic competition; the principal author of the programme secured permission for its modification.

Personal accounts of Canadian, British, and German veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic, and of those family members who waited the outcome of the conflict, were gathered in the development of this programme. These veterans were critical to the development of this resource and will provide a valuable academic component and catalyst for schools to utilize the veterans of their community as primary sources.

A series of student produced DVD s will provide another dimension to the project. Undertaken by students and teachers in four High Schools (three in Canada and one in England), these DVDs are testament to the interest the topic has garnered from educators on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Teaching Strategies

An ABC Of The Battle of the Atlantic provides strong support for a variety of skill development, particularly in the areas of history, geography, world issues and language arts. A very strong writing strand has been designed and applied to all subjects.

An ABC of the Battle of the Atlantic

A unique introduction to the longest and most important theatre of operation in the European Theatre of Operations. From A to Z, an Alpha-poetic examination of the Battle of the Atlantic and the role played by the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine. Twenty-six themes are presented for individual or group activity.

The Just-a-Minute Game is a modified BBC Radio Game, permission for which has been granted for educational application. The game is an excellent support of the ABC programme and provides students with a challenging format for presenting their public speaking and listening skills, as well as their knowledge about the Battle of the Atlantic.

Educational Aims

The Battle of the Atlantic project provides an opportunity for students to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the critical role played by Canada and its naval arm during the most devastating conflict in history.

The multi-discipline interpretation undertaken by a team of more than a dozen teachers at T.A. Blakelock High School, Oakville, ON, shows how the overall topic can be applied through the widest range of subject areas: Geography, World Issues, English, Math, Science, Economics, Art, Physical Education, Music, Media Studies, Fashion, Food, Family Studies and French.

International Links

Cities in Conflict is a component that seeks to link T.A. Blakelock HS with four High Schools: one in each of Halifax, N.S., St. John's, NL, Liverpool and Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. These cities were pivotal in the Battle of the Atlantic.

The aim of this initiative is to invite a team of students from each school to develop a video that speaks to the role their city played in the Battle of the Atlantic. Their work will be combined with the Blakelock video study of the role played by the Canadian destroyer HMCS Haida.