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How Grizzly Bear Climbed the Mountain

Keepers of the Night - Native American Stories and Nocturnal Activities for Children



How Grizzly Bear Climbed the Mountain is part of a compilation entitled Keepers of the Night which provides an integrated approach to teaching the fascination of stories and activities around the nocturnal environment.  Through the use of Native North American stories, nighttime artistic and hands-on activities, children learn to develop a caring, constructive relationship with nature and the outdoors.  

How Grizzly Bear Climbed the Mountain introduces its theme, traditional native North American families with a Native American story.  The discussion section that follows provides background information and questions about different types of bears, which native North Americans have considered as kin to human beings and the source of power and invulnerability.  Students participate in two activities star watching and a healing circle. Each activity provides goals, detailed teaching instructions and a list of required materials.  

Journey to the Star Bear – Students take a fantasy journey to the great, healing bear among the stars in a darken room or outdoors. 

The Healing Circles – Students learn to appreciate our interrelatedness as one family on Earth by making a commitment to a wild plant or animal member. They create their own vision of how they will care for the plant or animal by writing a story, a play, a puppet show or a song. 

A section entitled Extending the Experience provides a variety of activities to reinforce and supplement the lessons of the stories and activities.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • No skills are explicitly taught in this chapter of the resource.


  • Good background information for teachers.
  • Good outdoors activities to encourage an interconnectedness with the nocturnal environment.
  • Excellent activites for an environmental program or school activities that involve an overnight field trip to wilderness areas.
  • Includes some extending the experience activities
  • The resource is very teacher friendly. All activities include an easy to use symbols system that provides a quick reference to both the setting and the topics of that activity. 


  • No teacher support such as resources on the web, contact numbers, teacher workshops information.
  • Include some discussions regarding issues, problems and solutions that surround the bear's environment.
  • No assessment rubrics/tools
  • No action components are suggested
  • No values clarifications opportunities are provided.
  • Relevant Curriculum Units

    The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

    • Step 1Select a province
    • Manitoba
      • Step 2Select a grade level
      • Grade 4
        • Step 3Select a subject
        • Social Studies
          • Step 4Relevant matches
          • Manitoba, Canada, and the North: Places and Stories: Living in Manitoba
      • Grade 5
        • Step 3Select a subject
        • Social Studies
          • Step 4Relevant matches
          • Peoples and Stories of Canada to 1867: First Peoples
    • Nunavut
      • Step 2Select a grade level
      • Grade 4
        • Step 3Select a subject
        • Social Studies
          • Step 4Relevant matches
          • Provinces and Territories: Our Places, Stories, and Traditions: The Land: Place & People
    • Saskatchewan
      • Step 2Select a grade level
      • Grade 4
        • Step 3Select a subject
        • Social Studies
          • Step 4Relevant matches
          • Saskatchewan: Dynamic Relations
      • Grade 5
        • Step 3Select a subject
        • Social Studies
          • Step 4Relevant matches
          • Canada: Dynamic Relations

    Themes Addressed

    Ecosystems (1)

    • Appreciating the Natural World

    Sustainability Education Principles

    Principle Rating Explanation
    Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Poor/Not considered
    • Non-applicable to this resource
    Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
    • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
    • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
    • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
    Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Poor/Not considered
    • Not considered in this resource
    Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

    Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

    • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
    • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
    • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
    Respects Complexity Poor/Not considered
    • Not considered in this resource
    Respects Complexity:

    The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

    Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
    • No authentic action activities are suggested
    Acting on Learning:

    Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

    • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
    • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
    • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
    Values Education Satisfactory
    • Students either write a story, draw, put on a puppet show, present a play to show how they can care for a plant or animal.
    Values Education:

    Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

    Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
    • The resource uses native wisdom to introduce older and younger students to the important concepts and topics of family bonds.
    Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
    Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory
    • Excellent opportunites for some outdoor activities.
    Personal Affinity with Earth:

    Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

    • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
    • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
    • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
    Locally-Focused Learning Good
    Locally-Focused Learning:

    Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

    • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
    • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
    • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
    Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
    • The resource introduces its theme using a Native North American legend. The book provides a map of native North America showing cultural areas and tribal locations as they appeared around 1600.
    Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

    Pedagogical Approaches

    Principle Rating Explanation
    Open-Ended Instruction Satisfactory
    • The two lessons are teacher-directed through the use of a storytelling and sharing session.
    Open-Ended Instruction :

    Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

    Integrated Learning Satisfactory
    • Science
    • Language Arts
    • Art
    Integrated Learning:

    Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

    • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
    • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
    • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
    Inquiry Learning Poor/Not considered
    • Both tasks are very teacher directed, little opportunity for self-discovery.
    Inquiry Learning:

    Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

    • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
    • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
    • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


    Differentiated Instruction Poor/Not considered
    Differentiated Instruction:

    Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

    • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
    • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
    • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
    Experiential Learning Good
    Experiential Learning:

    Authentic learning experiences are provided

    • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
    • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
    • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
    Cooperative Learning Poor/Not considered
    • Students will work in groups if they decide to put on a puppet show or play.
    Cooperative Learning:

    Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

    • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
    • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
    • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
    Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered
    • No self-assessment opportunities are provided.
    Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
    Peer Teaching Satisfactory
    • If the students choose to perform a play or puppet show than they can share their learning with others .
    Peer Teaching:

    Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

    • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
    • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
    Case Studies Poor/Not considered
    • No case studies are provided.
    Case Studies:

    Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

    Locus of Control Good
    • The Extending the Experience section offers some good suggestions for extended learning.
    Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.