Language selection


The Isfeld legacy


To gain an understanding of the importance of Canadian Armed Forces humanitarian work through learning from the example set by the Isfeld family.


Youth are expected to become:

  • knowledgeable about the humanitarian efforts of the Isfeld family.
  • "experts" in one aspect of the Isfeld family’s humanitarian efforts to share their knowledge to their classmates in a presentation.

Target audience

Grades 7 to 12 or Secondary 1 to 5.

Sequence of events and anticipated time frame [90+ minutes]

(This activity can be modified to fit available class time.)

  • Introduction and hook (Canadian War Museum Izzy Dolls video) [15 minutes]
  • Group activity - Izzy experts [60 minutes]
  • Culminating activity [timing will vary]

Suggested class materials

Introduction [15 minutes]

Introduce the concepts of humanitarianism and activism. Brainstorm with your students who they think has a legacy, and why.

Mention Canadians such as Terry Fox (runs for Cancer Research), Romeo Dallaire (United Nations peacekeeper in Rwanda), etc. What did these people do, and why do we remember them?

Explain that the purpose of this lesson is to learn more about the legacy of Master Corporal
Mark Isfeld and his parents Carol and Brian.

As a “hook” for this activity, and to provide a little bit of background knowledge, have your students watch the Canadian War Museum Izzy Dolls video (3:39).

Izzy experts group activity [60 minutes]


Explain to your class you will divide them into four groups. Each group will research a different aspect of the Isfeld family and their humanitarian efforts. Following their research, they will be “experts” on their subject. Each group will educate their classmates about their findings by doing a short presentation.

Sequence / timing:

Step 1 [5 minutes]

Divide your class into 4 groups and distribute the appropriate handouts to each group:

  • Group #1: Master Corporal Mark Isfeld
  • Group #2: Carol Isfeld
  • Group #3: Remembering the Isfelds
  • Group #4: Isfeld’s humanitarian efforts

Step 2 - Reading and reflection [7-10 minutes]

Give each group 7-10 minutes to read and discuss the handouts provided for their group.

Step 3 - Create the presentation [30 minutes]

Using images from the Mark Isfeld image gallery, and their knowledge of their researched topic, ask students to prepare a short group presentation.

Step 4 - Presentation [15 minutes]

The group presentations could be shared in your classroom, at a school assembly or on the school web site.

Extension activity - Pay it forward

Read to your students (or distribute) these articles:


  • how the children in earthquake ravaged Haiti were having fun playing with empty bottles,
  • how surprised the children were to receive the toys hand-made by Canadian Armed Forces members and the distribution of the Izzy dolls,
  • Canadian Armed Forces members’ reaction to seeing children in need.

Why not try making Izzy dolls or another toy with the students in your class for distribution to local children in need?

Consult the Instructions for Izzy doll pattern handout for directions. On the dolls, you may attach Carol Isfeld’s poem.

Once the dolls are completed, you may also forward them to:

ICROSS Canada Izzy Dolls
C/O Compassionate Resource Warehouse
4277 Quadra Street
Victoria, British Columbia
V8X 1L5


Date modified: