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Category: Classroom Practice: Elementary

Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage: Discovering Objects

Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization
Focus – Grades 5-8, Quebec Elementary Cycle 3, Secondary Cycle 1

Summary: Students learn to interpret museum artifacts and learn about the history and culture of aboriginal peoples in Canada, by studying objects from the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s database, completing a Discovering Objects Activity Sheet, and making a presentation of artifacts.

  • Discovering Objects – Lesson Plan (PDF 295k)
  • Discovering Objects – Activity Sheet (PDF 130k)

Selected Artifacts Information Packages:

Aboriginal Education Strategy – EDU

Source: Ontario Ministry of Education
Focus: Elementary classrooms

Summary: Professionally developed teaching strategies, designed to help Ontario teachers bring Aboriginal perspectives into the classroom.

The Learning Circle Ages 8-11

Source: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Canada (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) The First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres and the National Association of Friendship Centres

Focus: Junior level students

Summary: The Learning Circle has been produced to help meet Canadian educators’ growing need for elementary-level learning exercises on First Nations. It is the second in a series of three classroom guides on First Nations in Canada.

Because First Nations are culturally diverse, the information in this activity book does not necessarily apply to all groups. To learn more about particular First Nations, and to get help with learning activities, teachers are encouraged to consult local Aboriginal Elders, cultural education centres or friendship centres. Some key addresses and contact numbers are listed at the end of this guide.

The Learning Circle is organized in thematic units, each with its own teaching activities. Units are designed to give teachers and students simple but effective exercises, projects and activities that will encourage students to learn more about First Nations. Educators can follow some of the exercises as stand-alone units on First Nations topics, or integrate them with existing curricula on Aboriginal peoples.

Most exercises in The Learning Circle can be completed in one period. Certain others will take several periods, days or weeks.

Aboriginal Language and Culture – Manitoba Ministry of Education K-12

Source: Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth
Focus: Elementary and Secondary teachers and administrators

Summary: This Framework is grounded in a traditional Aboriginal world view. This is a valid way of seeing the world that will guide Aboriginal peoples in reclaiming, revitalizing, maintaining, and preserving their languages and cultures.

Aboriginal languages and cultures are continually evolving, however, which may result in changing world views. In recognition of the diversity of evolving Aboriginal perspectives, the Framework attempts to accommodate changing world views while retaining a fundamental connection to traditional world views.

The intent of the Framework is to provide a focus and direction for student learning outcomes that will standardize learning experiences regarding the teaching of Aboriginal languages and cultures in Manitoba. The Framework also provides a foundation for the development of other types of language programming, such as bilingual and immersion programming. Topics in the Senior Years can be developed into school-initiated courses (SICs) and student initiated projects (SIPs).

According to the traditional Aboriginal perspective, the wisdom of the Elders is central to cultural learning. Elders have been, are, and will continue to be the keepers of knowledge, and it is their guidance that Aboriginal people seek as they strive for balance in their relationships with the Creator, the natural world, other people, and themselves.

The Aboriginal Languages and Cultures Curriculum Project Team turned to the Elders when seeking guidance on the revitalization, preservation, and maintenance of Aboriginal languages and cultures.

Gateway To Aboriginal Heritage: Online Exhibition

Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization
Focus: Grades 4, 5-8 and 9-12

Summary: The Canadian Museum of Civilization presents an extraordinary resource documenting the histories and cultures of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

Explore a selection of materials drawn from the Museum’s artifacts and archival collections. Historical and contemporary objects, images and documents vividly express the cultural diversity as well as creativity, resourcefulness and endurance of this country’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

Learning Activities by grade:

K-4: Students learn about the history and cultures of aboriginal peoples by identifying plant and animal materials used to make everyday objects, completing the Match the Object to the Material Activity Sheet, and engaging in a classroom discussion about materials people use to make objects.

2-4: Students learn about the history and cultures of aboriginal peoples and learn to interpret their artifacts by studying objects from the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s database. Students will complete an Amazing Object activity sheet, and make a presentation in a format of their choice.

5-8: Students learn to interpret museum artifacts, and learn about the history and culture of aboriginal peoples in Canada, by studying objects from the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s database, completing a Discovering Objects Activity Sheet, and making a presentation of artifacts.

Students learn to interpret artifacts, and learn about the history and cultures of aboriginal peoples, by selecting images of objects from the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s database, by creating a display that features similar objects from different cultures, and by making a presentation in a format of their choice.

9-12: Students learn to interpret objects that were made by aboriginal peoples in Canada, and learn about the history and cultures of Canada’s aboriginal peoples, by researching and selecting images of objects from the Canadian Museum of database, completing the Virtual Museum Challenge worksheet, and making a presentation of artifacts selected for an imaginary exhibition.

Students learn about the history and cultures of Canada’s aboriginal peoples, and learn how to write concise, meaningful label text, by selecting objects from the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s database, writing several labels in different ways, sharing their labels with their classmates, and making a presentation in a format of their choice.

Students learn about the history and cultures of Canada’s aboriginal peoples by searching the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage web module, completing the Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage Database Quiz, and discussing their findings. This activity introduces students to a useful source of information.

Rabbit and Bear Paws

Focus: Grades 1-4

Summary:Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws is for the young and the young at heart. This series is set in 1750’s colonized North America and features the comical adventures of two brothers, Rabbit and Bear Paws. Using Traditional Native Teachings and humour, the stories are based on THE SEVEN FIRES PROPHECIES and THE SEVEN GRANDFATHERS.

The characters are mischievous and the audience learns enjoyable life lessons from their numerous pranks and mistakes while also appreciating the unity of the Native communities and how they related to one another peacefully.

The characters will travel to different parts of the country, from coast to coast in new humorous adventures. In those adventures students will learn about the different cultures and the gifts that they contributed to modern society.

All the characters are based on Traditional Teachings. Rabbit is based on the ideas from THE SEVEN FIRES PROPHECIES. He is to be the little boy who helps to guide to the path the ancestors have made. While Bear Paws is based on stories that describe Naniboozhoo and the many adventures that were created around this person.

The Seven Grandfathers is used to help create all age stories that reflect a positive message that is needed for all the people of the medicine wheel. Since the main characters were brothers, the adventures center around social experiences and everyday life events that would happen in the 18th century that are as important today as they were yesterday.

Potlatch: Then and Now

Source: U’Mista Cultural Society, Albert Bay, British Columbia
Grade 4 students

Summary:Potlatch: Then and Now has been designed with a fourth grade Social Studies learner in mind. The narrative is simple but presents many ideas that can be used as starting points for further discussion.

The following lesson plans have been designed for direct classroom use, but can be adapted to your situation and preference.

Lesson 1: Remembrance

Lesson 2: Suppression Debate

Lesson 3: Classroom Potlatch

Lesson 4: Environment and Life

Lesson 5: Technology Exchange

Lesson 6: Trade Role Play

Lesson 7: The West Coast Environment

Our Boots: An Inuit Woman’s Art

Source: Curriculum Services Canada

Summary: Our Boots: An Inuit Woman’s Art is based on the field work and research of ethnographer Jill Oakes and biologist Rick Riewe. They lived with and learned from Inuit seamstresses and hunters from every region of the Canadian Arctic between the 1970s and 1990s. Inuit women shared their traditional knowledge and skill so that the process of Inuit boot or kamik–making could be documented, while Inuit men provided information about traveling on the land, hunting wildlife, and the importance of skin footwear for arctic journeys throughout the year. Our Boots: An Inuit Woman’s Art was one of the inaugural exhibitions at The Bata Shoe Museum when it opened in 1995. A book of the same title was published by Douglas & McIntyre the same year. Much of this valuable knowledge has been formatted in an online–exhibition to extend its reach.

About the Activities: The three activities were inspired by the extraordinary tapestry created in 1979 by Mina Napartuk of Kuujjuarapik, Québec, depicting the various steps that result in a finished pair of seal skin kamiks. They also give students opportunities to find other information and artifacts in the Our Boots online–exhibition.

Teachers will find ways to use this exhibition at many different grade levels.

Multi Cultural Lesson Plans – Buffalo Hides Lesson

Source: Lessons recommended by American art teachers
Grade 2 Art and Social Studies

Summary: Art has always played a significant role in shaping and recording cultural history and lifestyles. Teaching it from this perspective has become an increasingly necessary discipline in our ever shrinking world.

The purpose of this lesson is to familiarize young students with Native American symbolism and the ancient art of petroglyphs.

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