Lesson Plan: $5 Bill Recognition

By: Paul Wiper, with contributions from Charlene Camillo

Paul Wiper

Education Collaborator

A graduate from Western University (B.Ed, 2006), Paul Wiper teaches History and Law in the Thames Valley District School Board, in London, Ontario. Paul first began engaging with the history of Indigenous veterans when a mentor introduced him to the story of Francis Peghamagabow as a young Infantry Officer in the Canadian Forces Army Reserves (2001-2012).

As an Afghanistan veteran, he brought his military experience to the classroom and has been grateful to continue to learn from and collaborate with Indigenous colleagues in developing recognition for Indigenous veterans in schools during veterans week and Remembrance Day ceremonies. Paul has also been involved in local writing projects to help implement curriculum revisions aimed at fulfilling the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In his classroom approach, Paul tries to engage students’ sense of justice in examining the history of this country in an honest way.

Charlene Camillo

Education Collaborator

Charlene Camillo is from the Moose Cree First Nation and of Italian heritage.  She is a teacher and coach in the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB).  

From 2016-2022, Charlene was the Learning Coordinator in TVDSB for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education.  In this role, she led professional learning for staff and helped to develop various opportunities for Indigenous students.  She also created lesson plans and resources for use in classrooms, and shared best practices in bringing Indigenous content into schools.  

Charlene taught multiple subjects from 2010-2016 at Saunders Secondary School in London, ON.  In 2022, she returned to Saunders and has been teaching History and Indigenous Studies while coaching Girls Basketball and Girls Hockey, and supporting the Indigenous Student Association.

Charlene has been fortunate to work with multiple First Nations as a teacher and a coach.  She continues to take feedback and learning from Indigenous students and families to provide opportunities for staff and students to enhance their knowledge of Indigenous experiences. 

Recommended Grade Level

9-12/Sec V

This lesson and activity can take place in one 60-75 minute period.

Prior Learning and Experiences

Learning Goals

Lesson Outline 

Lesson Materials

$5 Bill Recognition Slideshow

Note: A Google Slides version of the slideshow is available here with all speaker notes.

$5 Bill Lesson SlideshowDownload
Indigenous Candidates for the $5 Bill Handout
$5 Bill HandoutDownload

Lesson Steps

  1. Welcome students and complete any opening routines you usually do as a class.

  2. Have the slideshow ready to go on a computer and projector.

  3. Ask the students to consider the question on slide one.  Give them the prompt, How do we decide who is deserving of recognition?  What do people have to do to earn public recognition?  Have students discuss in pairs or small groups and then consolidate the conversation as a class. 

  4. Have the students consider the case of a school that is changing its name by introducing and viewing the video about Barbara Howard.  Ask why the students decided Barbara Howard was more deserving of recognition in their community.

  5. Explore the process that took place in selecting a person to be featured on the $10 bill in slides 5-12.  Then explain that the Government of Canada is in the process of selecting someone for the new $5 Bill.  (Note the use of Canadian as a requirement.  Many Indigenous people object to being called “Canadian,” though they wouldn’t be excluded from consideration based on their identity.)

  6. Before viewing the candidates for the $5 Bill, have the students discuss ideas about a criteria for selection.  This is a good opportunity to circulate and discuss some possibilities as they work in small groups to come up with some ideas.  

  7. Distribute the Indigenous Candidates for the $5 Bill handout. 

  8. Discuss as a class some of their ideas for the criteria.  This is a challenging concept for some students to come up with on their own, but sharing some of what they came up with as a class and allowing each individual to create their own criteria on the handout should offer enough support and freedom to set-up the thinking task of selection.

  9. Provide time for students to explore the Canadian Encyclopedia links for the candidates and ask them to narrow their selection to two candidates.  Have them complete the chart detailing the person’s contributions and what their selection would represent.  If students are struggling with that idea of what their selection would represent, try viewing the video linked in slide 15 and discuss the example of Chief Crowfoot as representative of the treaty relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples.  Ultimately students should select ONE candidate and explain why they would select them.  Student responses should make reference to the criteria they created earlier.  

  10. Finally, students can consider the NWAC’s “Change The Bill” campaign and select which of the notes they would pick and explain why.