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Social Studies, Technology, Math, Language
Using Historic Burrows Hall as a Learning Resource
Burrows Hall School, Grade 5
Feb. 4, 2005

Instructor: D.B. McCowan


Introduce the Agenda 

Handout 1: Keywords List (Listening Skills -- Important "Inputs") ("Meaning" column is blank). Take 1 minute to look over the keyword Handout. You can fill in the blanks with the keyword definitions as we go, so you have to listen carefully.

  • 9:15 to 9:45 -- Social Studies Discussion -- Your Community, Burrows Hall and Civics

Handout 2: Council Meeting Script (Inputs)

  • 9:45 to 10:15 -- 1854 Scarborough Council Meeting -- The Cattle Tax: Role-Playing (Procedures at meetings) (Data Management -- Mode; Mean; Median)
  • 10:30 to 11:00 -- Discuss and review what we have learned and study the Cattle Data (The Inputs) Data Management for Math class -- Mean, Mode and Median. We won’t talk about pages 78-79 in your text. But I’ll be covering that topic using different data.
  • 12:40 to 1:00 -- Discussion: Introduction to Information Processing -- Inputs --> Analysis --> Outputs

Handout 3: Language and Math Exercises (Outputs)

1:00 to 1:30 -- Start Journal Entry and start Math Exercises (Mode; Mean; Median). In other words, "Your Outputs"


Listening Skills -- Keywords for Today
Some Inputs for You to Use Later

Define these keywords today as you hear them discussed in class -- Listen Carefully! (Teh "Meaning" column in the handout is blank.)

Term Meaning
Amend / Amendment A change made using proper procedures
Assess / Assessment Measure at a point in time.
Census Take a snapshot of the people at a point in time. Includes the number of people plus other information.
Council / Councillor Entrusted decision-makers at a given point in time. (New people after elections)
Evolve Change over time.
Farm / Farmer An economic unit. One way in which a family can earn a living, selling to others. The farmers can grow some of their own food.
Input Information that you receive
Mean A calculation: to find the average of a set based on even distribution
Median An observation: to find the middle number in a set of numbers in ascending order
Mode An observation: to find the average of a set based on the most common value in the set.
Output Information that you have re-arranged in a better format for someone else to use as input.
Perspective In this context, to assist in understanding a point or issue.
Population Count of people at any point in time. Always a whole number. Can also use population when talking about a survey.
Procedures Rules to follow
Process Study the information, analyze it, how you move it around
Proposal / Propose An idea put forward for some discussion.
Treasurer Entrusted with the management of money on behalf of an organization.



Teacher / Class Interaction
Social Studies Discussion
9:15 to 9:45


  1. Do you remember my last name? Did you use any tricks to remember my name?
    1. (McCowan Road in Scarborough)
  2. Sometimes little tricks help us remember things -- like breaking a phone number into a 3 digit part and a 4 digit part.
  3. Have you ever driven up McCowan Road away from Toronto? Which direction would you be going?
    1. (North)
  4. What did you notice as you went farther and farther away from the city?
    1. (Fewer and fewer houses. Open fields, horses, trees, maybe some cows.)
  5. What do people do with all those open fields up there?
    1. (Farming; raising crops and cattle, riding horses)
  6. How many people do you think live in a two kilometer stretch of one side of McCowan Road up in all those fields?
    1. (Maybe 10)
  7. Roads are about 2 km apart
  8. Draw the square on Board -- two km along McCowan and along the other 3 roads back to starting point
  9. How many people lived in this square?
    1. (40 along 8 km of road or 40 in 4 sq km)
    2. (10 / square km)
  10. Do you know the population of Toronto?
    1. (Over 2 million)
  11. How many people per square kilometer is this?
    1. (perhaps 1,000, at a rough guess)
  12. Do you think there are 1000 people per square kilometer in your neighbourhood?
    1. (Probably, if you have an apartment building in your area)
  13. Do you think the population density of Toronto was always this high?
    1. (No)
  14. What do you think the population of Toronto was when the census of 1901 was taken?
    1. (well under a million___________)
  15. How many years ago was that?
    1. (104)
  16. Do you think your neighbourhood around here ever looked like the fields way up McCowan Road?
    1. (Must have)
  17. I have an old uncle who lived in this area very close to here 80 or so years ago. He told me a story once that when he was a boy, he and his grandfather were working in the fields about 2 kilometers down Markham Road. His grandfather said to him, "You know Blake, this field will be covered with houses some day." My uncle Blake said to himself "that’s crazy". That old farmer’s name was John Hall.
  18. So, guess what happened?
    1. (They built all these houses around here.)
    2. (The community has evolved or changed)
  19. My uncle’s name is Blake Weir. His father was Jim Weir. Jim Weir used to go to very important meetings in a small building right beside John Hall’s field on the west side of Markham Road.
  20. Let’s change the subject just a little for just a minute. We’ll review a few things which I think you have probably already learned about government:
  21. Who is the Prime Minister of Canada? What is one of his most important responsibilities?
    1. (eg oversee International relations)
  22. Who is the Mayor of Toronto? What is one of his most important responsibilities?
    1. (eg oversee local road maintenance)
  23. What is the difference between the Federal Government and Local Government?
  24. How are decisions made about fixing up our roads like McCowan Road and Markham Road?
    1. (Meetings)
  25. Now, 80 or 90 years ago, do you think they had Markham Road here?
    1. (Yes)
  26. Why?
    1. (To transport products such as apples and milk from the farm to the city)
  27. What do you suppose Jim Weir’s meetings were all about in that little building 2 km down Markham Road?
    1. (Fixing the roads and other local issues)
  28. These meetings were meetings of "Scarborough Township Council" and they made all the decisions about local affairs in the Township of Scarborough.
  29. The little building where all these important decisions were made 85 years ago had a name? Any guesses?
    1. (Burrows Hall)
  30. Your school was named after a little building where many very important decisions were made. And Burrow’s Hall was named after Mr. Henry A. Burrows, the Innkeeper who purchased the business and the little building in 1886.
  31. Let’s put 100 years into perspective. We need to really understand what 100 actually feels like and what it actually means to us.
    1. (Draw time line on the board)
  32. In what year were you born.
    1. (1995)
    2. Your school was officially in the City of Scarborough, not in the City of Toronto.
  33. In what year was your father born?
    1. (approx 1965)
    2. There was no such thing as a personal computer then.
    3. There was no Scarborough Civic Centre (built in1973) and no Scarborough Town Centre.
  34. In what year was your father’s father born? There was no such thing as a TV then.
    1. (approx 1935)
    2. What do you think Canadians did not have then? (eg no jets flying across oceans then)
  35. In what year was your father’s father’s father born? There were very few cars at that time.
    1. (approx 1905)
    2. What do you think Canadians did not have then? (eg No airplanes at all)
  36. Is there a pattern here?
    1. (About 30 years / generation)
    2. (We are getting more and more technology all the time)


Scarborough Council Meeting of 1854
The Cattle Tax
Student Role-Playing

We are now going to hold a meeting of Scarborough Township Council in the old building that became known as Burrows Hall. I need 7 volunteers to help me turn back the clock, oh, about 150 years to the early days of local government in Scarborough.

Where is 1854 on the timeline. Scarborough Council is 4 years old.

Who wants to be the Mayor of Scarborough? (__________)

This person was called the "Reeve" back in the olden days. His real name in 1854 was John Torrance.

Let’s fill in some other roles on Scarborough Council.

Who wants to be Deputy Reeve William Clark? The Deputy Reeve was in charge of meetings if the Reeve was not present. (__________)

Who wants to be Councillor George Stephenson? Councillors often did important committee and other work. (___________)

Who wants to be Councillor Thomas Kennedy? (___________)

Who wants to be William Helliwell, the Treasurer and Tax Collector? The treasurer kept track of the money coming into and going out of the local government. (___________)

Who wants to be Stephen Closson, the Clerk and Property Assessor? The Assessor was responsible for measuring the value of the property that belonged to people who lived in the Township. (___________)

Who wants to speak the part of a Member of the Public? (___________)

Do you notice anything about the Council members 150 years ago? (All men)

The rest of the class will be residents of Scarborough who are interested in knowing all about how their tax money is being spent by council.


The Script

Reeve Torrance:

I call this meeting of Scarborough Council to order. The first item of business is the proposed bridge over the Rouge River in the northeast part of the Township.

Deputy Reeve Clark:

Why does the Township need this new bridge?

Councillor Stephenson:

When taking their cattle to market, the farmers in that section of the township must drive their cattle 4 kilometers out of their way to cross the river.

Councillor Kennedy:

How much will the bridge cost to build? How much will it cost every year to keep the bridge in good repair?

Councillor Stephenson:

The Roads Committee has prepared a report. I am on the roads committee. To build the bridge, it will cost $300. To keep the bridge sturdy and safe, it will cost $30 every year.

Treasurer Helliwell:

The Township account for road and bridge construction is very low. The Township cannot afford to build this bridge.

Councillor Kennedy:

I move that the construction of the bridge be paid by a special one-time tax on those people who will be using it the most and that the maintenance of the bridge be paid every year out of the Roads Repair account.

Deputy Reeve Clark:

I second the motion.

Reeve Torrance:

Is there any discussion of this motion?

Councillor Kennedy:

Yes, the tax must be reasonably fair to everyone. Those driving heavy cattle and wagons across the bridge should have to pay more than people who don’t move cattle and grain across the bridge.

Mr. Closson:

I have the assessment records right here. There are 11 farmers in that section of the township. I counted the following number of cattle for each of the 11 farmers.

Farmer One has 2 horses, 10 sheep, 3 pigs and 5 cows.
Farmer Two has 2 horses, 12 sheep, 1 pig and 3 cows.
Farmer Three has 0 horses, 1 sheep, 2 pigs and 2 cows.
Farmer Four has 3 horses, 10 sheep, 3 pigs and 5 cows.
Farmer Five has 3 horses, 0 sheep, 1 pig and 9 cows.
Farmer Six has 3 horses, 5 sheep, 5 pigs and 8 cows.
Farmer Seven has 1 horse, 16 sheep, 2 pigs and 3 cows.
Farmer Eight has 6 horses, 25 sheep, 15 pigs and 17 cows.
Farmer Nine has 3 horses, 10 sheep, 3 pigs and 8 cows.
Farmer Ten has 2 horses, 8 sheep, 5 pigs and 5 cows.
Farmer Eleven has 1 horses, 5 sheep, 1 pigs and 1 cow.

There are 3 other families in that section who have no cattle at all.


Councillor Kennedy:

I amend my previous motion by adding the following. The Taxation Committee must investigate the best way to impose a fair Cattle Tax to pay the bridge construction costs and the Taxation Committee must give a report to council and a draft Bylaw at the next meeting.

Reeve Torrance:

Are all in favour of the amended motion?

(All raise hands to approve the amended motion.)

Reeve Torrance:

The Motion is approved.

A Student Who is a Member of the Public:

Will people in the community have a chance to comment on the bylaw to build this bridge?

Reeve Torrance:

At the next meeting, Council will review the report of the Taxation Committee and debate the draft bylaw and revise it if necessary. Then the draft bylaw will be published in the newspapers so that everyone in Scarborough will know the details and have a chance to give Council some feedback, complaints and other comments. At the following meeting Council will discuss all comments, revise the draft bylaw if necessary and pass it into law.


Teacher / Class Interaction
Review / Discussion
10:30 to 11:00

Please take out your notebooks again.

Civics and Local Government -- It's All About Good Processes

  1. What did you notice about the meeting at Burrows Hall? Eg...
    1. The meeting followed a procedure -- rules of order were followed
    2. Define the need -- need a new bridge;
    3. Why did they need the bridge -- ie what exactly is the problem?
    4. There were inputs to the meeting -- the report, members of public, assessment data, personal observations
    5. Measurements were taken -- approximate cost of the bridge
    6. Proposed solution -- additional tax
    7. More measurements: number of farmers and cattle were counted
    8. Process: send to committee for detailed study and report
      1. Interpretation, analysis, discussion, reasoning, feedback from others ==> sound information processing results in good decisions
    9. Fairness to all is important.
    10. Output results of their decisions in writing so that others can understand the "new rules"


Local Government for Who? -- Farmers

  1. What did we learn about farmers? eg...
    1. Farmers were an occupational class -- farming was a way to earn a living
    2. Farmers grew crops and raised cattle: consuming some themselves and selling the rest
    3. Farmers who had few cattle either had only a little land or were probably rather poor
    4. Farmers who had more cattle were probabaly wealthier
    5. Some farmers were tending to specialize, eg milk production


Math Discussion -- The Cattle Tax Data


  1. What is the total number of horses in that section?
    1. (26)
  2. What is the most common number of horses for a farmer to have?
    1. (3)
  3. Can you think of a reason for this?
    1. (Big husky workhorses work in teams of two; plus one trim and fast "driving horse" for the farmer’s buggy)
    2. So here there seems to be a fairly logical reason for three horses being the most common on an old farm. This will not always be the case with data.
  4. What is this most common number of horses called?
    1. (Mode)


  1. What is the total number of cows in that section?
    1. (66)
  2. From lowest to highest write the numbers of cows per farmer from left to right.
    1. (1 2 3 3 5 5 5 8 8 10 17)
  3. Which number in this row of numbers is in the exact middle of the row
    1. (5)
  4. This is called the "median".
  5. Suppose we add two more farmers. Predict how many cows they will have
    1. (eg 3 and 6)
  6. Does this change the median?
    1. (No)
  7. On graph paper plot the number of farmers having each number of cows on the vertical axis against the number of cows that they have.
  8. Which number of cows is highest on the graph?
    1. (5)
  9. What do we call the 5 cows?
    1. (the Mode of the set of the numbers of cows per farmer)
  10. What do you notice about this graph?
    1. (pyramid shape; 17 cows is an extreme number far to the right)
  11. Suppose we had 10 more farmers. On the graph, predict the numbers of cows that they will have.
    1. (eg one 1; two 4; one 5; three 6; two 7; one 9)
  12. Does this change the basic shape of our graph?
    1. (No)
  13. Why?
    1. We can still expect that "about" 5 cows will be quite common or typical for a farm in 1854.
  14. How do you calculate the average or mean number of cows on a farm?
    1. (Add and divide by the number of farmers)
    2. 66/11 = 6
  15. Why is the average 6 but the mode 5?
    1. (The farmer with 17 cows is an extreme case.)
  16. How does Farmer Eight’s number of cows affect the average number?
    1. (Much higher number)
  17.   What does this tell us about Farmer Eight?
    1. (Rather exceptional)
  18. Can you conclude anything about farmer 5?
        a. (Seems to be specializing in cows -- eg milk or beef or both)



Teacher / Class Interaction
Introduction to Information Processing
Inputs --> Analysis --> Outputs
12:40 to 1:00


  1. Review the key words and what these words mean in the context of learning and the context of social studies. Students should complete their list.


Input_Output.gif (1865 bytes)


  1. Can use the soccer / hockey example
    1. Pass from someone else is input
    2. Stickhandling and moving up the ice is processing
    3. Shooting at the net and passing to others are outputs  
    4. There always has to be an objective -- a goal to add to your score.




Journal Entry
Local Government

Write a 150 word (approximately) Journal Entry on this subject...

Why is local government important and how does local government make good bylaws? Using our example from 1854, describe what you understand about local government.

Refer to your keyword definitions. Be sure to address the following issues in your "Output" Journal Entry (a short essay):

  1. What did we discuss today that has evolved? Describe in one sentence.
  2. Distinguish between the Federal Government and Local Government.
  3. State any special issues that affected farmers and how should special issues be addressed by local government.
  4. What inputs were considered or will be considered by Scarborough Council in 1854?
  5. Describe the procedure that the 1854 Council used to "process" the information that they had.
  6. What will Scarborough Council provide as outputs regarding the cattle tax?
  7. Fairness of the proposed cattle tax.
  8. You can propose a formula for the Cattle Tax payable by each person in that section. Explain your reasoning.


Data Management --The Cattle Tax
Mode, Median and Mean

  1. What is the total number of sheep in that section?
    1. _______
  2. What is the most common number of sheep for a farmer to have?
    1. _______
  3. What is this most common number of sheep called?
    1. _______
  4. From lowest to highest write the numbers of sheep per farmer from left to right.
    1. ______________________________
  5. Which number in this row of numbers is in the exact middle of the row
    1. _______
  6. What is this number called?
    1. _______
  7. Suppose we add two more farmers. Predict how many sheep they will each have.
    1. _______
  8. Does this change the value of your answer in #5? Explain why or why not.
    1. ______________________________
  9. On graph paper plot the number of farmers having each number of sheep on the vertical axis against the number of sheep that they each have on the horizontal axis.
  10. Which number of sheep is highest on the graph?
    1. _______
  11. What do we call this number in the set of numbers of sheep per farmer?
    1. ________________
  12. What do you notice about this graph?
    1. ______________________________
  13. Suppose we had 10 more farmers. On the graph, predict the numbers of sheep that each of the farmers will have.
    1. ______________________________
  14. Does this change the basic shape of our graph? Why or why not? Explain how the shape changes if it does change.
    1. ______________________________
  15. Calculate the average or mean number of sheep per farmer.
    1. ________
  16. Are the mean and the median numbers the same? If different, then explain why.
    1. ______________________________
  17. How does Farmer Eight’s number of sheep affect the mean number?
    1. ______________________________
  18. What does the number of sheep, horses, cows and pigs tell us about Farmer Eight?
    1. ______________________________
  19. For pigs per farmer, what is the Mode?
    1. _______________
  20. For pigs per farmer, what is the Median?
    1. _______________
  21. For pigs per farmer, what is the Mean?
    1. _______________
  22. What is the mean or average number of ALL cattle per farmer?
    1. ___________


While the above "Council Meeting" is entirely fictitious, the names of the 1854 Council members were taken from David Boyle's "Scarboro, 1796-1896". William Norris was also on Council that year. Reeve John Torrance, in particular, had been a major player in the early settlement of the Scarboro Heights area of the Township.

The Scarboro Heights Record   V13 #2 


More Lesson Plans by D.B. McCowan