Resources for Educators

The Diefenbunker is one of the most unique educational sites in Canada. Come tour the museum with your class or school tour group and let participants experience the complexities of the Cold War first-hand.

Tours of the Diefenbunker allow students to immerse themselves in the Cold War and experience Canadian history from a perspective unlike any other. The Diefenbunker offers curriculum programs with links to social studies, language arts, science, mathematics, and visual arts.

Check out our School Visits page to learn about how to design your own field trip!

Description of Programs

Tour + Rex Zero Workshop (Grades 3-6)

Tour + Rex Zero Workshop (Grades 3-6)

Our Rex Zero Workshop is an interactive exhibition and classroom dedicated to the world of fictional character Rex Zero. Working in collaboration with Perth, Ontario writer Tim Wynne-Jones (who has received awards and accolades for his Cold War children’s novels- Rex Zero and the End of the World and Rex Zero: King of Nothing), the Diefenbunker has recreated Rex’s world in order to provide a youth perspective on the Cold War in Canada.

  • What’s a Cold War?

Students grades 3-6 will learn about the Cold War and what it was like to live during the Cold War.

  • Strong and Stable Structures

Grade 3 students will learn about strong and stable structures from the strongest structure of them all – the bunker!

Tour + Continuity of Government Workshop (Grades 9-12)

Tour + Continuity of Government Workshop (Grades 9-12)

The Diefenbunker was commissioned by John Diefenbaker as part of the Continuity of Government plan. Take a tour and a learn how the bunker helps to maintain a thin thread of government during an emergency, followed by a 15-30 minute workshop about the continuity of government plan and who operates from inside the bunker during a lock down.

Tour + Emergency Preparedness Workshop (Grades 9-12)

Tour + Emergency Preparedness Workshop (Grades 9-12)

This workshop focuses on the ‘11 Steps to Survival,’ a book published by the government during the Cold War to help Canadians prepare for an emergency. The survival of each individual person was dependent on the preparation that they made for themselves. This workshop will focus on the importance of knowing the facts about radioactive fallout, how to take cover and first aid, and will talk about Canada’s Emergency Preparedness in the past and present.

Tour + Daily Life in the Diefenbunker (Grades 7-12)

Tour + Daily Life in the Diefenbunker (Grades 7-12)

What was life like inside the Diefenbunker? Explore the bunker as a civilian, military, or government official and find out what your life would have been like during a lockdown. This tour is perfect for groups for 40-60 youth, as the group will be divided into different perspectives, and will discuss what they learned after the tour.

Emergency Preparedness (Grades 4-8)

Emergency Preparedness (Gr. 4-8)

How do you prepare yourself for an emergency? This program looks at what you need in your emergency kit, how to have an emergency plan, and how you can be prepared. Optional add-ons to this program include: scavenger hunt, understanding the systems of the bunker, and a guest speaker for emergency planning.

Art and Peace Building (Grades 4-8)

Art and Peace Building (Gr. 4-8)

How do you build and create peace? What does peace mean to you? Explore the art and ideas of peace using visual thinking strategies and then create your own artwork on peace. This workshop will encourage dialogue and discussion on peace, as well as expression through art and language.

Morse Code and Communications (Grades 4-5)

Morse Code and Communications (Gr. 4-5)

Learn the art of Morse Code at the Diefenbunker, a facility designed to send and receive important communications during an emergency. Students will learn how to use a telegraph key, the history of Morse Code, and how the Diefenbunker functioned as a communications hub.

The Bunker as a Habitat (Grade 4)

The Bunker as a Habitat (Gr. 4)

Grade 4 students can learn about habitats in a unique way inside the Diefenbunker. The bunker was designed to be self-sufficient during a 30 day lockdown – what do we need to be sustainable? How is the bunker a habitat? Students will use inquiry to discover the life systems in this underground world.

Functions of Government (Grade 5)

Functions of Government (Gr. 5)

Elect your own government, and make decisions for Canada from the War Cabinet room in the Diefenbunker. Learn about how Canada is governed, and use your knowledge to help Canadians survive an emergency.

Emergency Government (Grades 5-11)

Emergency Government (Grades 5-11)

Students will learn about the War Measures Act, and the role that the different levels of government play in an emergency. A first person scenario will assign key roles to students who will have to make tough decisions for all of Canada.

Electricity + Communications (Grade 6)

Electricity and Communications (Gr. 6)

Use a simple circuit to build your own Morse Code machine, and then learn how to use Morse Code to communicate. Discover the intricate systems of communications in the Diefenbunker, and how radio waves and electricity work.

Systems and the Bunker (Grade 8)

Systems and the Bunker (Gr. 8)

Explore the complex systems of the Diefenbunker: basic human needs (water, air, food), political power, and communication. Each segment will take place in a different area of the bunker and students will discover how each system works.

The Berlin Wall (Grades 8-11)

The Berlin Wall (Gr. 8-12)

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was one of the most notorious events that signaled the crumbling of the Soviet Union, and the approach of the end of 45 years of the intense ideological conflict and political, economic, and military tension that characterized the Cold War. Learn about Berlin, the Wall, and the lives of East and West Berliners during the Cold War.

The Vietnam War (Grades 10-12)

The Vietnam War (Gr. 10-12)

Students will learn about the central events of the Vietnam War with particular attention to Canada’s indirect involvement in the war effort as both a supporter and a protester. They will gain an appreciation of the complexity involved in the decision to allow draft evaders from the United States to settle in Canada and practice designing foreign policy regarding this immigration issue.

NATO (Grades 11-12)

NATO (Gr. 11-12)

Learn about Canada on the international stage during the Cold War. In this program, students will examine various motivational factors for the founding of NATO, as well as of its key events, and how the activities of the Diefenbunker and similar facilities would have been effected by NATO during an emergency.

Communism (Grades 11-12)

Communism (Gr. 11-12)

Explore the ideologies of Cold War tension with this program on communism. Students will learn about the Communist Manisfesto and Soviet communism in order to better understand ideological tensions of the Cold War.

Not sure what you’re looking for? Call us and let us design a program to meet your needs. We can offer add-ons such as paper-bag lunch and movies, and can work with you to focus on content you are covering in class. Email tours@diefenbunker.ca or call 613 839 0007 x 225.

To reserve, please fill out our Reservation Request Form.

The museum is open year-round, excluding Christmas and New Year’s Day. Tours are offered daily Monday to Sunday from 9:00am to 4:00pm (special requests can be accommodated after 4:00pm).  Tours are offered in English or French (with advance notice) and can be schedule for 60 or 90 minutes.  Please book at least two weeks prior as space is limited.

 Teacher’s Checklist

  1. Before calling to book a tour:
    Consult your school’s or school board’s checklist.
    All schools have policies and procedures concerning field trips. Please make sure that you follow your school board’s policies and procedures.
  2. Choose ideal date and time.
    1. Choose alternative date and time.
    2. Make sure that the date does not conflict with another school/classroom event.
  3. Have your school’s contact information ready. This includes phone number, address and your school email.
  4. Do you require a lunch facility?
    The Diefenbunker can rent the cafeteria for $45.00 for lunch. The students will be required to bring their own lunches.
    Availability of the cafeteria will be subject to availability of staff and the cafeteria.
  5. Call our Visitor Services Coordinator to book a tour at 613-839-0007 ext. 225 or email tours@diefenbunker.ca. We require advance notice of at least two weeks.
  6. Have the final participant numbers ready one week before the tour.
  7. Please remember that we require payment upon arrival.
  8. After your tour, please fill out a comment form and tell us what you thought of the tour.