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The spiritual and cultural customs of Canada's Indigenous people have always been closely intertwined with the seasonal changes of the land. As communities moved from one resource gathering area to another, stories were told and traditions were shared. The life cycles of animals and plants also follow the seasons and each species has it's own strategies for adapting to changing weather and food availability. In this unit students investigate seasonal changes in four geographic regions of British Columbia from the perspective of a First Nations way of life. Five multi-disciplinary lessons and a summary creative project are used to involve pupils in the following learning tasks:
Consider how living on the land might have been similar or different between “pre-contact” times and present day.
Create a personal seasonal round calendar
Investigate how plants and animals adapt to seasonal change
Explore a micro-habitat
Create a personal “Seasonal Round Field Journal”
Create and present a living diorama that teaches others about their learning experience
This resource supports Grade 3-5 Science learning regarding biodiversity, habitats, food webs, plants and animals. Students are able to practice and apply Science skills such as investigation, observation and species identification. There are also many opportunities for learners to explore human impacts on the environment and develop ideas about conservation.
Social Studies content focuses on understanding Indigenous relationships with their families, ancestors and the plants and animals that live on the land. The traditions of living in balance with nature are identified by exploring how First Nations understood the cycles and interconnections of the Earth.
One extension activity suggests students record an interview with a First Nations Elder. A class could develop this idea further by creating a permanent display featuring the “living history” of a local Indigenous community. Recorded interviews could be transcribed into written stories and paired with items created from the land such as baskets, dyes or medicines. Pupils could also add their thoughts and ideas about how we can all live sustainably.
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 reflect on the interdependence of humans and nature as they imagine living in a First Nations community 100 years ago following the seasonal cycles of the flora and fauna on which they depended. They also learn how respect for “Mother Earth” and traditional ecological knowledge have fostered a stewardship ethic within Aboriginal communities.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The connections between First Nations and the seasons is explored from the context of social traditions that define an Indigenous way of life. Living harmoniously with the land provided necessities such as food, water and shelter while protecting essential resources. Habitat loss, climate change and modern technologies have affected both the natural world and the human communities that live in balance with the Earth.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
Students explore seasonal change at the landscape and habitat level which develops their understanding of how the interconnections between the abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems affect nature's stability and resilience.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
Each lesson includes a "Go Beyond" section that identifies how students could extend their learning with projects such as creating a garden or peer education. The final activity where groups present a "living diorama" of an Indigenous seasonal round can be used to raise community awareness of First Nations relationships with the land and human impacts on the environment.
|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
By providing opportunities to “Pause and Ponder”, the resource supports introspection about the role of individual stewardship in honouring and caring for Earth.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Good|
Students will develop an awareness of how cultural identity results from a variety of factors including beliefs, traditions and knowledge sharing.
|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 lesson includes an outdoor experience and recommends involving a First Nations Elder in the learning process. The sharing of traditional ecological knowledge and a close examination of local plants encourages an appreciation for biodiversity.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Although this learning unit is focused on regions of British Columbia, the content can be easily adapted to other Provinces. The micro-habitat exploration occurs in a local green space which makes this activity more community based.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The introductory lesson, “What is a Seasonal Round?” engages pupils in considering how a traditional way of life may have differed 100 years ago compared to present day. Students also spend time describing their thoughts and feelings about the time period they would prefer to live in.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
This resource uses a personalized learning approach where each student is able to access prior knowledge to support an inquiry process where they actively question, engage and reflect on their learning experience.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Each activity successfully combines Science content related to ecosystems with Social Studies concepts focused on understanding Indigenous ideology and traditional ecological knowledge. Visual Arts and English Language Arts skills are used to create, present and describe how animals change through the seasons and what a Seasonal Round may look like.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning||Very Good|
This unit includes many tools such as a “Question Cue” game that empowers students to develop, organize and clarify their own inquiry questions to direct their investigations. Each lesson provides opportunities to participate in guided research and analyze new information. Pupils are also able to share their learning by selecting a project option that utilizes their particular skills and interests.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
By including student ideas in the learning process this resource supports an environment where all pupils are able to be curious and contribute.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
Students are engaged in meaningful problem-solving tasks that support independent thinking and active involvement in discovering answers.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work in groups and share information with their peers through presentations and projects.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Very Good|
The resource includes several teacher rubrics that can be used to evaluate class participation, the living diorama presentations and student “Pause and Ponder” journals. These rubrics can also be personalized for individual classrooms by downloading editable versions from the “Teacher's Area” linked to the unit.
Student self and peer assessment also occurs with a “Group Work Self- Assessment” rubric and a “Self Check” at the end of each lesson in which pupils write a reflective entry into their “Pause and Ponder” journals.
|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.|
Group presentations are used to inform peers about new learning. It is suggested that the living dioramas of an Indigenous seasonal round are shared with peers, parents and community members which provides an opportunity to increase public awareness about traditional ecological knowledge.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Sustainable resource use and understanding the ecology of the land are fundamental to an Indigenous way of life. Students will realize that increased involvement from First Nations communities affected the most by issues like climate change are becoming an important component of successful conservation efforts in Canada.
|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|
Each activity provides time for reflection so that students can expand their thinking and express ideas and opinions to help self-direct their own learning experience.
|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.|