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The learning package Water is Life has been created as an extension of the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada Giant Floor Map learning activities. The resource is divided into four lessons that can be used individually or as part of a unit. The lesson plans draw on land-based learning, centered on women’s teachings about, for, and from Mother Earth, with a specific focus on water and its connection to land and the Indigenous Peoples living on Turtle Island.
Lesson 1: Water is Life - This activity will help students connect with the role water plays in their lives and develop a relationship of respect, care and reciprocity with water.
Lesson 2: The Source of Our Water - This activity will encourage students to make a connection to their local water source and investigate how the water surrounding their community is connected to the land, other communities, and other water bodies.
Lesson 3: Our Right to Water - Students will learn about and locate communities that do not have access to clean drinking water and discuss how they can get involved to help bring attention to the water crisis in Indigenous communities.
Lesson 4: Water Protectors - Students will learn about Indigenous women who are water protectors and water walkers and learn how to implement their own water walk in their local community.
Additional resources, guiding questions, images and activity ideas for deepening the students’ learning have been infused throughout the lesson plans. The appendix provides images and descriptions depicting how people are connected to water and how water can be seen as sacred.
This lesson could be easily integrated into any lesson about water conservation and usage. It would also be easily integrated into any unit related to the perspective that acknowledges the value of Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK).
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
This resource has students look at how traditions used by the Indigenous communities help protect our water sources. Through guided questions, students are asked to develop their own conclusions about the importance of water and living a sustainable life. Access to clean water is an essential issue in today's society, and many northern communities are still experiencing a water crisis. Students gain insight into this issue through the activities, articles and media sources.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
We all require safe and clean drinking water to survive, but not all of us have the same access to water as others. Although most large cities have access to clean drinking water, dozens of Indigenous communities face long-term boil water advisories. Barriers must be broken to solve the problem of not having access to clean drinking water, a basic human right.
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning
Each lesson plan suggests a Taking action component where students can get involved to address this issue. Students will:
|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
The resource has student identify barriers to accessing water and understand that water is a basic human right.
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans
Students may be expected to emerge from the lessons with a greater understanding of the struggles of the dozen of Indigenous communities that are living with long term boil adversories.
|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
The resource activities help students connect with the role water plays in their lives and develop a realationship of respect towards their local water source.
|Personal Affinity with Earth:
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
While water conservation and usage is a global issue, the unit has students examine the issue through a local lens in which they identify impacts and responses.
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future
Students examine the present situation either in their community or in the surrounding area.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.
The resource identifies four lessons that include questions that will guide student inquiry into the link between water value and the importance to protect it. These are open-ended questions and the activities that follow allow students to frame their own answers.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This resource includes a topic that can be explored and emerged in a number of subject areas. These include Earth Science, Life Science, Environmental Science, Geography, TEK
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
Each lesson plan provides a series of guiding questions to introduce the topic of the lesson plan to the students.
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Some of the activities have students participate in classroom discussions, write a brief story or poem describing their relationship with water, write a letter or song to the water they photographed, research communitites under boil water advisories, research their own local water supply, create a community map highlighting their community's water source, organize and participate in a water walk and connect with Indigneous community members.
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
Students organize and plan a class or school-wide water walk with the help of local Indigenous community members that have knowledge around water teachings and ceremonies.
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students participate in small group and large group activities. They share poems, stories or songs they have written. They share their thoughts and feelings regarding Indigenous communities under boil water advisories. Students participate in a Think-Pair-Share sharing research about their local water supply with the class. Students organize a gallery walk of community maps they have created which highlight their community's water source.
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation
There are several opportunities for the teacher to assess student learning in a formative rather than summative fashion. These emerge from what students say within the sharing circles and small group presentations to the larger class. Student-created poems, stories, and community maps offer additional material for teacher 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.
Each of the lessons provides opportunities for students to share their letters/poems/songs and posters about water protection. These resources are part of the opening ceremonies of the waterwalk.
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The resource shares some background information of Indigenous women water protectors. A short summary and links to their stories are provided in the resource.
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
The closing/post-walk activities provide opportunities for students to extend their learning. Activities such as
|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.