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First Nations people have always been intimately connected to the land and water that provides so much. There is a deep understanding of the seasonal cycles of natural resources that is passed from generation to generation. This traditional knowledge ensures that communities live in harmony with nature and respect the plants and animals that provide food. This creative lesson introduces students to the customs and culture of the Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation communities through a series of exercises where they will:
This resource supports Science outcomes related to ecosystems and the interconnectedness of nature. Students also develop an understanding of Social Studies concepts like cultural connections and traditional ecological knowledge. To extend the learning a field trip to a local natural area with accompanying members of a local aboriginal community to explore local plants and animals would provide an authentic traditional knowledge experience.
Listening to our elders is the central theme of the lesson and could form the basis of an innovative action project where students use their interviews with senior family members to create a video of a living, oral history of their community that preserves stories for future generations.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Good|
Students explore this topic through video interviews with adults and children of the First Nations communities that are the subject of the lesson. This provides a multi-generational perspective of customs and traditions.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The strong family bonds of First Nations families are connected to the respect for Earth which clearly demonstrates the dynamic relationship between community health and environmental health.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
Students are encouraged to recognize that traditional knowledge incorporates ecosystem understanding, values, such as only harvesting what is needed, and rights.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|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
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Good|
The activity supports cross-cultural understanding and recognition of traditional beliefs and customs.
|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||Good|
The evident respect for nature throughout the lesson will foster a deeper awareness of the value of wild places.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Although an area of British Columbia is the focus of the lesson, the core learning about traditional ecological knowledge is applicable across all Canadian provinces and territories. A teacher could make the activities more regionally relevant by inviting an elder from a local First Nations community to speak to the class about their cultural connections to the land.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
The multi-generational sharing of stories and knowledge clearly demonstrates the connection between the past and present.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Open-ended questions encourage active discussion of the subject matter and students are able to express their own opinions about how traditional ecological knowledge supports sustainability.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
To further their understanding of the importance of sharing knowledge between generations students are tasked with interviewing a senior family member. The questions and format of each interview is an individual choice.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
|Differentiated Instruction||Poor/Not considered|
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
|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.|
The video interviews with children from the two First Nations communities provides relatable information from a youth perspective.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Poor/Not considered|
|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||Poor/Not considered|
|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.|