Search for Resources

Let's Explore the Past

Elementary, Middle

Description

Traditional knowledge is an important component of First Nations culture as elders share their wisdom from generation to generation. Artifacts also preserve this heritage as they are passed down to younger family members. This lesson examines local indigenous history with an approach that demonstrates traditions are important to all families. Students will work with an local aboriginal elder to explore this topic as they:

  • Observe and describe two traditional artifacts.

  • Recognize the role of a land acknowledgment as a sign of respect to First Nations people.

  • Participate in a sharing circle to present historical objects that are culturally significant to their own family.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Active listening
  • Respect
  • Reflection

Strengths

  • Promotes respect for cultural diversity
  • Has a strong focus on First Nations traditions and values
  • Provides an opportunity for students to actively engage with the content by sharing their own stories

Weaknesses

  • Contains a few website links but the amount of student/teacher background information is limited
  • Has no assessment strategies

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource supports Grade 1-6 Social Studies outcomes related to cultural diversity, traditional history and indigenous beliefs and values. In Provinces with Indigenous Studies curriculum the lesson supports learning related to intergenerational knowledge and oral storytelling.

The artifact content could be developed into a school display promoting diversity. Each student could prepare a poster to accompany their object that describes the importance of the item to their family history. Local community members could be invited to add to the display and a cultural celebration could be held at the end of the school year that includes dance, songs and food.

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
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Analyzing diverse worldviews and experiences fosters our ability and willingness to live well together
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Analyzing diverse worldviews and experiences fosters our ability and willingness to live well together.
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Analyzing diverse worldviews and experiences fosters our ability and willingness to live well together
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Local Communities: Healthy communities recognize and respect the diversity of individuals and care for the local environmen
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Regional and Global Communities: Canada is made up of many diverse regions and communities
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Indigenous Peoples: Indigenous knowledge is passed down through oral history, traditions, and collective memory.
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Issues and Governance: Canada’s policies and treatment of minority peoples have negative and positive legacies
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
    • Grade 2
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities of the World: Connecting with Canadians
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Other Cultures: Connections and Influences
        • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Specific Aboriginal Culture
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Manitoba, Canada & the North: Places & Stories - History of Manitoba
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Cultural Diversity
        • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Other Cultures: Connections and Influences
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Cultural Diversity
        • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Other Cultures: Connections and Influences
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • You and Your World:Groups
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Provincial Identity: Peoples
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Connecting and Belonging: I Belong
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities in Canada: Communities in Canada
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities of the World:Connecting with Canadians
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The NWT: Our Places, Stories and Traditions: Beginnings and Traditions
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 1: Mi'kmaq Communities
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 2:People
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 3:Heritage
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Connecting and Belonging: Time, Continuity & Change
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities in Canada: Culture & Community
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Connecting With the World: Time, Continuity & Change
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Provinces and Territories: Our Places, Stories, and Traditions:Culture & Community
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heritage and Identity: Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heritage and Identity: Changing Family and Community Traditions
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heritage and Identity: Early Societies, 3000 BCE -1500CE
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions: Groups
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Provincial Identity: Peoples
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • My Family: Dynamic Relationships
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • My Community: Interaction and Interdependence
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Community Comparisons: Interactions and Interdependence
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Saskatchewan: Interactions and Interdependence
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada: Interaction and Interdependence of Nations
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Local Communities: Healthy communities recognize and respect the diversity of individuals and care for the local environmen
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Regional and Global Communities: Canada is made up of many diverse regions and communities
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Indigenous Peoples: Indigenous knowledge is passed down through oral history, traditions, and collective memory.
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Issues and Governance: Canada’s policies and treatment of minority peoples have negative and positive legacies

Themes Addressed

  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

    • Rituals, Spirituality and Worldviews

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The territory acknowledgement that begins the lesson recognizes the intimate relationship between First Nations people and their traditional lands. It establishes respect and strengthens student awareness of Indigenous cultural values.

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 Satisfactory

The lesson examines local Indigenous history and builds connections regarding the significance of traditions and artifacts in transferring intergenerational knowledge.

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
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Although there are no specific action strategies a class could develop the learning experience into a project that promotes respect and tolerance  for all cultures found within their community.

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 are able to reflect on their own family history to identify the cultural values that are important to them

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Involving an Elder in this lesson provides students with an opportunity to learn about traditional beliefs and values. The sharing circle is also used to provide a respectful space where everyone is able to listen and speak.

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 Poor/Not considered

The First Nations Elder that visits the class could take students outside to share traditional ecological knowledge by teaching them about plants and animals that are important to the local Indigenous People.

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

Presenting their own family artifacts makes this lesson more meaningful and fosters cultural awareness among peers.

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 class will understand the tradition of oral storytelling as an important part of passing history from generation to generation.  

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

A KWL chart is used to support fluid discussions where students are able to reflect and participate in active dialogue to deepen their connections to the topic.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Poor/Not considered

This resource is focussed on history and traditions but can support learning related to identity.

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
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

Students are able to handle actual First Nations artifacts or view them via video link if they are not physically available. They also bring culturally significant items from home. Thus, they are able to build connections to the real world as they learn the significance of these objects in ancestry and traditions.

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 Satisfactory

The sharing circle teaches listening and discussion skills that are respectful.

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
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

Students are able to teach their peers about their own culture.

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 Satisfactory
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.