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Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

Teacher's Guide

Secondary

Description

Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change is the world’s first Inuktitut-language film on the topic of climate change. The film is an intimate portrait of Inuit life told in the voices of Inuit elders and hunters, who detail the social and ecological effects of global warming in the Arctic. Using stunning visual shots on the land, Qapirangajuq documents Inuit knowledge that has been ignored by southern scientists. That includes evidence that seal behaviour and fur thickness is changing, polar bear and raven populations are increasing, warmer winds are changing snow, overland navigation weather prediction is more difficult, the sea is warmer, ice floes are thinner and ice is breaking up much earlier.

This guide has been designed to help teachers and students enrich their experience of documentary film by providing support in the form of questions and activities. There are a range of questions that will help teachers frame discussions with their classes, activities for before, during and after viewing the film, and some web links that provide starting points for further research or discussion. In separate packages, there will also be support materials available with information regarding general viewing and teaching principles for documentary film and the fundamental aspects of making documentary films.

Click to access the documentary film Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The film and teacher's guide support the development of those skills associated with observing, analyzing, presenting and defending. Most importantly, however, it intends to strengthen those skills associated with media studies; the goal of which is to help students analyze the perspectives presented in a given media and the means by which that perspective is promoted by the media.  

Strengths

The resource deals with issues of critical importance - climate change and adaptation. It examines these issues within the context of the impact of climate change on the people of the Arctic. The film is a powerful medium for examining these issues and the teacher's guide better ensures that students will get the full benefit of the film.

Teachers and students who may wish to pursue these issues in greater depth are provided with a number of Internet resources.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The film and Guide are most effective resources for those units of study dealing with the impact of climate change. Courses or units on Indigenous studies will also welcome the resource's examination of a unique culture and the challenges it faces as well as its illustration of the concept of traditional indigenous knowledge.

Finally, teachers of Media Studies may use the resource to teach students about what techniques are effective in telling a story and what skills are required of the critical viewer of those stories. 

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        • Human Geography 12: Human activities alter landscapes in a variety of ways.
        • Physical Geography 12: Interactions between human activities and the atmosphere affect local and global weather and climate

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Interdependence
  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

    • TEK -- Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Science and Technology (1)

    • Alternative Ways of Doing Science
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The Teacher's Guide consists in part of three segments - pre-viewing. viewing and post - viewing. Each of these segments include a series of open-ended questions designed to have students think critically about the film. The purpose of these questions is to encourage student thought rather than shape it. Another piece of the guide, The Big Questions/Ideas/Themes further encourages student discussion and debate. 

The film itself is largely intended to introduce the viewer to the Inuit perspective on climate change and to the larger issue of traditional indigenous knowledge.

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 Very Good

In watching and discussing the film, the student is made aware of the dramatic change occurring in the northern environment and how these changes impact the traditional livelihood of the Inuit and the culture that emerged in this unique setting.

 

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 Good

The Extended Activities included in the guide help students recognize the complexity in finding an appropriate response to the consequences of a warming Arctic. Students are asked to consider questions such as:

  • Will there be one successful action to stop climate change, or will we need to undertake multiple actions?
  • Should we focus on adapting to the effects we already see and know we will experience in the future?
  • Will the solution be political, scientific or both? 
  • Can scientists and government policy work together to address this issue? Are there examples of this occurring in the past?
  • Will the best actions or solutions be found at the global, regional or local levels? 
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

Students are asked to gather in small groups to participate in a debate about the solutions to climate change. The change solutions they put forth either individually or collectively must be supported by evidence and must respond to the critique offered by their peers. While not concrete action, such an exercise better ensures that any action taken will be informed action.

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 Very Good

The film provides insights into the values of Inuit culture

  • their ideals of community citizenship 
  • their concept of freedom, equality, human dignity, and individual and  collective rights and responsibilities
  • their relationship with nature
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

The film is an intimate portrait of Inuit life told in the voices of Inuit elders and hunters, who detail the social and ecological effects of global warming in the Arctic. The viewer emerges with a heightened sense of the Inuit worldview and the integrity of traditional indigenous knowledge.

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 Very Good

One of the central themes of the film is the Inuit knowledge of and connection to the land and the water. This is revealed in a number of comments made by individuals in the film.

“First thing in the morning, I was told to go out in order to welcome the environment and all the animals that I was going to hunt in my lifetime.... That was the law.”

“Our parents and grandparents taught us how to live, survive on the land, and be a good person. These were told to us.”

“Hunters had this awareness of the environment within them"

 

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 Satisfactory

The film is a case study of the effects of climate change on the Arctic. The Arctic is the canary in the coal mine alerting us to the impact of climate change. Teachers and students may follow their investigation of climate change in the Arctic with an examination of how climate change may impact their local environment and what can be done locally in terms of adaptation and mitigation.

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 Very Good

The teacher's guide and the film provide an understanding of how a traditional culture has been shaped by its environment, a culture that is now struggling for its survival and whose future is very much in doubt. 

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 Good

The guide asks students to consider, discuss, and debate a number of critical questions centering on issues of multiple perspectives, identity, citizenship, change and continuity, and culture and community. The questions are open-ended and the conclusions are the responsibility of the students.  

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

An understanding of climate change, its impact on the North, and the possible responses to the challenges presented requires an appreciation of the environmental forces at work (science and traditional knowledge) and the struggle of traditional societies to survive in the face of modern forces (social studies) along with an understanding of the economic systems at work in the Arctic community (economics)  and the distribution of power both within and outside the community (political science).  

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 Good

The guide has adopted the elements representative of guided inquiry. Questions are provided to encourage discussion before, during and after the viewing of the film. Big questions/ideas/ themes are identified to help students dig deeper into the issues raised by the film. Finally, students are asked to suggest and defend solutions to the challenges resulting from the impact of climate change on the North. 

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 Good

This guide has been designed to help teachers and students enrich their experience of documentary film by providing support in the form of questions and activities. The film will engage visual learners and the questions designed to guide their viewing will help all become more critical viewers. Guided student discussion and debate within a framework of suggested questions will allow for the free exchange of ideas and perspectives. T-charts that require students to compare "Traditional Knowledge" and "Western Scientific Knowledge" and student constructed webs of the Arctic ecosystems helps those students who benefit from the use of graphic organizers.  

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 Satisfactory

One of the central goals of the teacher's guide is to enhance students critical viewing skills with respect to documentaries and films. The viewing and guided discussion of the film provides a hands-on opportunity to realize this objective.

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 Good

The guide includes very little " teacher talk" and encourages a great deal of "student talk" in both small and large group settings. Students will learn by expressing, clarifying and defending their views on the issues raised and will benefit from hearing the views of their classmates.

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 Good

The considerable amount of student talk, including a formal debate enables teachers to measure in a formative manner the students understanding of the issues addressed. Students are also required to write a letter to the film director and/or producer in which they assess the effectiveness of the documentary and to create a web that illustrates the interdependence of the Arctic ecosystem. A rubric is included to assess student webs and their defence of their creation. These two examples of student work would form the basis of teacher summative assessment. 

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 Good

Guided student discussion is intended to encourage students to think about the issues raised by the film and to share and defend their thoughts with classmates.

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 Very Good

The documentary film, Inuit Knowledge and Climate and the accompanying teacher's guide provide a case study of the larger issue of climate change. It is in the Arctic that we are seeing the most visible evidence of the impact of climate change. The documentary and guide also present a case study in the relative merits of traditional indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge. 

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 guide is based on the principles of guided inquiry and as such strikes a balance between teacher oversight and student inquiry.

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.