Role-playing Jean Talon


Students review tables of census data collected in 1665 and 1666 by Jean Talon. Students role play Jean Talon and prepare a presentation to convince the King of France to increase his investment in New France. Technology may be incorporated depending on the availability of resources and the capabilities of the students.

Contributor: Linda McCormick, Education Communications, Statistics Canada.


Suggested grade level and subject area

History of New France


Students will


Classroom instructions

  1. Have students read the worksheet, then assign them to groups. Groups can be assigned to present the results from each table or to present the results for individual communities using all four tables. Table 1: Families, Population, Sexes, Conjugal Conditions is fairly large so you may wish to split the information between two groups.
  2. Review the tables with the class, discuss terminology, locate individual settlements on a map, and relate the information to materials already covered.
  3. Have students work in groups to prepare focus questions to guide their research, select data and create graphs that illustrate the state of the colony. They can then design a presentation that summarizes their research and outlines their plans to stimulate the economy and increase the self-sufficiency of the colony.
  4. Have each group make its presentation to the class.


Mark the presentations for accuracy and effectiveness.


  1. Prepare calling or business cards and letterhead for Jean Talon.
  2. Replicate the exercise for other time periods between 1665 and 1871 using census data available on E-STAT.