Uploaded by Sean Becker

First Nations, Innuit, and Metis content in science resource bundle

Evolution and Selective Breeding
8 – 10
Climate Change
11 – 19
Physics – Conservation of Energy
20 – 22
Health and Wellness
23 – 28
Traditional Diets
29 – 35
Environmental Sustainability,
Interconnectedness, Ecosystems, and TEK
36 – 52
Multiple Use Websites/Resources
53 – 57
Food Spoilage/Microbiology and Disease
58 – 62
Computer Science
Earth Science
64 – 72
Taxonomic Classification
73 – 77
78 – 88
Plants as Medicine
89 – 97
Clam Gardens
98 – 102
GRADE LEVEL: Science 10
BIG IDEA: Energy change is required as atoms rearrange in chemical processes.
CONTENT ITEMS: acid-base chemistry, and practical applications and implications of chemical
processes, including First Peoples knowledge
RESOURCE: https://www.stf.sk.ca/sites/default/files/unit-plans/s106_4.pdf
In this link there is information that can help incorporate this content into a lesson in a variety
of ways.
1. Orally explain the concept and process of making lye, and how it was used to prepare
corn for corn soup.
2. Demo/Lab activity: you can attempt to make natural bleach (definitely test first, and if
students are going to partake make sure that all safety precautions are used when
working with alkaline materials). The instructions are outlined in the document.
3. Discuss some elements of the reaction. Why might there need to be a certain pH for the
reaction to take place? How is the temperature controlled? Discuss how First Nations
and Metis people regulated these variables.
4. At the end of the document, protocols for approaching elders of some First Nations in
Saskatchewan were listed. Although these exact protocols should not be assumed for
some of the First Nations here on Vancouver Island, it is a good reminder to research
the appropriate ways to address elders if you are to ask for their input or guidance.
Please note that in this document, the lye is referred to as “acidic”. This may be for a
number of reasons, perhaps the author made a mistake, or perhaps the concept of an “acidic”
material was used while orally passing down the recipe through generations. For the use in our
classroom, especially if students are to read this, then it is important they do not assume that
commercial bleach has an acidic pH.
Resource Topic: Chemistry (Chemical Reactions)
Curriculum: Science 10
Big Idea: “Energy change is required as atoms rearrange in chemical processes.”
- “rearrangements of atoms in chemical reactions”
- “acid-base chemistry”
- “practical applications and implications of chemical processes, including First Peoples
Link: https://ied.sd61.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/112/2020/02/Chemistry-10-ScienceSaskatchewan-Teachers-Federation.pdf
Key Learning outcome from resource: “observe and describe chemical reactions that are
important in everyday life”
This resource gives a few examples of how chemical processes were observed by First
Nations and Métis populations. This webpage begins by outlining the importance of chemical
reactions and how First Nations and Métis populations use ancestor knowledge of this matter to
upkeep their way of life. They studied their land and became knowledgeable of plants and
animals and how specific elements can be used to their advantage. An example provided was
how the Cree of Central Saskatchewan made natural bleach to use for their laundry by boiling a
specific amount of ash with a specific amount of water. If the proportions were incorrect or the
heat was too low, the reaction would not take place.
To use this effectively in the classroom, I would introduce the traditional concept of
chemical reactions, acid/base relationships and experiments used to help students understand
these concepts (i.e. chemical reactions resulting in colour changes or release of carbon dioxide
(fizzing) as seen in the BC curriculum. Upon their understanding of the material being solid, I
would introduce these methods used by the First Nations and Métis. I would ask the class how
beneficial it was having tools for precise measurement (beakers, scales, thermometers) and how
they aided their previous experiments. I would go on to explain how the practices used by the
First Nations and Métis were following the same principles we used but with no tools for aid. I
would then present the examples from the resource and engage in active discussion with the class
to get their input and perspectives. I would outline how these methods are showcasing the same
methods we used but they were established and practiced by the First Nations and Métis
exclusively and how they were passed down by elders to the next generations. I would end by
encouraging the class to note other chemical reactions they encounter on a daily basis as they are
truly everywhere.
Evolution and
Selective Breeding
Curriculum Connectionsmechanisms for the diversity of life:
-natural selection and artificial selection
Resource- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Chapter 2- The Council of Pecans
Where to find it?- Available in bookstores, the library, or Amazon Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous
Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants: Kimmerer, Robin Wall: 9781571313560:
Books - Amazon.ca
DescriptionThroughout this book, the Robin Wall Kimmerer melds the two worlds of her formal education as a
biologist/botanist and the understandings of her people as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation
to see the same concept from two viewpoints.
In chapter 2,” The Council of Pecans”, Robin describes the evolutionary strategy of mast fruiting- the
process by which several tree species, such as pecans and acorns, produce a vast abundance of fruit at
intervals greater than one year in effort to overwhelm the squirrel population. She then addresses the
mysteries of coordination of masting as viewed through the traditional indigenous stories.
This book is wonderfully descriptive and insightful while using the natural world to draw connections to
our lives and human behavior in a wholistic understanding.
This chapter can be used as a lesson in diversity in evolutionary strategies (normal fruiting trees like
apples, and mast fruiting trees like acorns), the cooperation amongst species in symbiosis, the
cooperation amongst members of a single species.
It is also useful in the context of comparing ways of knowing. For masting to be a successful strategy, all
trees in an area must coordinate fruit production at the same window of time (typically one week every
2-12 years). Traditional indigenous wisdom explains that the trees achieve this concerted effort by
talking to each other, which was rejected by western science for many years. However, in recent years,
the discovery of interconnected fungi networks throughout forests have revitalized this idea, giving a
new avenue for trees to be “talking”.
The topic within science your resources cover: I will be talking about Indigenous selective
breeding that led to evolution of the modern-day corn. So, it will cover Molecular genetics and
Grade level: Science 10
Big Idea: DNA is the basis for the diversity of living things.
Content which resource falls under is: Applied Genetics
Possible Resources to use:
Scientists Trace Corn Ancestry from Ancient Grass to Modern Crop | NSF - National Science
PowerPoint Presentation (pobschools.org)
The history of the world according to corn - Chris A. Kniesly – YouTube
How Did Corn Evolve? | A Moment of Science - Indiana Public Media
Evolution of Corn (utah.edu)
Give a thorough but to the point description of how your resource can be used by a teacher:
I would recommend that the teacher trying to use this resource first cover the concepts of DNA
structure and function, patterns of inheritance, and the mechanism of diversity in life (mutations,
Natural selection, and artificial selection) as the resource follows under applied genetics. Then I
would introduce the topic of selective breeding to the class and then use the ancient indigenous
of Mexico practice of selective breeding for favorable characteristics of TEOSINTE, which then
led to the development/ evolution of modern corn as an example of selective breeding.
Hopefully, by using this resource, students will better understand what selective breeding is and
how knowledgeable and applicable ingenious teaching is.
Topic: The topic within the B.C. science curriculum that this resource covers is Astronomy,
which is found within both Earth Sciences 11 and Science 10
• Big Idea’s:
o Earth Sciences 11: Astronomy seeks to explain the origin and interactions of
Earth and its solar system
o Science 10: The formation of the universe can be explained by the big bang
• Curricular Competencies:
o Earth Sciences 11 and Science 10: Express and reflect on a variety of experiences,
perspectives, and worldviews through place
• Content Items:
o Earth Sciences 11: Stars as the center of a solar system
o Science 10: Astronomical data and collection methods
Location: The article can be found with the following link: https://www.mfnerc.org/wpcontent/uploads/2012/11/008_Buck.pdf
Description of use: This resource can be used within a lesson to demonstrate the different and
unique perspectives on the constellations through Cree (Ininew) ancestral stories, and for the
students to gain an understanding about human connections to the universe and their
• This resource can be added to the lesson plan when teaching about the stars and
• This resource can be utilized when talking about astronomical data and collection
methods in the Science 10 curriculum as these Cree legends and stories are an example of
a verbal collection method
• The legends and stories on these constellations also coincide with the above curricular
competency of both curriculums as the students are reflecting and learning about the Cree
perspectives on the constellations
• Students will be able to learn the stories of the constellations as through the lens and
legends of the Cree people of Canada → all cultures have their own understandings on
the constellations and stars
o Instead of only learning about the commonly used Roman and Greek lens and
legends on constellations → broadens their horizons on their understandings of
the stars and constellations
▪ The Cree people have unique interpretations on multiple constellations
that are different than that of the Roman and Greek interpretations →
introduces unique perspectives and connections to the stories behind the
constellations and stars
Where can someone find your resource? For example, if it is a website, provide the link. If
it is a book, where can they find it?: https://www.sciencefriday.com/articles/indigenouspeoples-astronomy/
Description of how this resource can be used by a teacher:
I can see this resource being used in two big ways.
#1. This resource can be a great introduction into discussions about science as a practice. It's
important to recognize where “traditional” academic ways of knowing came from and became
popular. It’s also important to recognize that there are other ways of knowing that are equally
valid. Scientific observations have been made and presented in different ways and in different
cultures around the world.
#2. As an introduction to talking about our solar system through the sharing of stories and
constellations from multiple Indigenous perspectives.
Other information:
This site is a great resource that promotes further exploration. It's a great jumping off point and
links other websites.
This was a resource the website linked to that I also really enjoyed.
Climate Change
Source: http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PUBLICATION-61496Science-First-Peoples-2016-Full-F-WEB.pdf (UNIT 5- PG.121-140),
Big Idea: The distribution of water has a major influence on weather and climate
Content Items: changes in the composition of the atmosphere due to natural and human
causes, evidence of climate change, First Peoples knowledge of climate change and
interconnectedness as related to environmental systems, effects of climate change on
water resources
Teachers use: The resources above will help a teacher tie a current global topic/issue
(global warming) and the indigenous’ point of view. The First Peoples share a very
strong point of view and experience on this topic as they have seen its effects firsthand
through countless seasons of food gathering on their territories, specifically the West
Coast/British Columbia. The lens of salmon and sustainable food gathering is a strong
point of view shared in the document referenced above and helps tie historical
information to today’s scientific knowledge on global warming. Teachers can utilize the
skills detailed in this article for addressing ways of adapting and reducing impacts of
global warming in today’s economy.
Example: Earth Sciences 11
• Big Idea: The transfer of energy through the atmosphere creates weather, and this transfer is
affected by climate change.
• Content: Evidence of climate change
General Source:
Science Source:
Usage: The Deepening Knowledge Project is an ‘Aboriginal Peoples Curricula Database’ from U of T
which has several resources for teachers and students. The teacher resources (general source link
above) are broken down into a broad range of topics in Aboriginal Studies, which consists of curriculum
resources that are sortable and searchable by subject. Each subject provides additional resources to
relate and integrate indigenous content into the selected subjects.
For example, within the science resource section, there are dozens of links to other resources based on
their format, such as books, videos, lesson plans, websites, etc. For this case, using the grade level
above, I selected the video resource: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, which is a video from the
site isuma.tv about how climate change has affected the Inuit through firsthand accounts with elders
and hunters as they explore the social and ecological impacts of a warming Arctic.
The video is a great introduction into sparking conversation about how climate change is directly
impacting people and traditions today, and not some far off future. For a possible classroom activity, I’d
use the following basic structure: a pre-viewing activity (entrance ticket: What climate change means to
the students in their day to day life), viewing activity (a set of questions to answer such as , ‘in which
ways has the landscape been altered or changed, how would this alter hunting strategies and the
surrounding wildlife, etc.’), a post-viewing activity (split the students into groups of 3 to 4 and each
group has a discussion question, example, ‘how might the effects of climate change affect Inuit concepts
of identity), and end with an exit activity (groups report out what they came up with and if any other
groups wish to add to it).
Note 1: Prior to the activities above, students should have a general introduction to climate change in a
previous class.
Note 2: The video is 55 mins, therefore plan accordingly or use specific selections from the video.
Note 3: The video requires closed captioning (hotkey c) to be turned on since only parts of the video are
in English.
Resource is found on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlGnve1cjOY
How it will be used in class?
After the video as a class, we will discuss climate issues across Canada and document those
topics on an anchor chart. Students then will be asked to work in pairs or independently on a
topic they are passionate about. They will inquire on why their issue is happening and find ways
to reduce climate change. I then will group students into 3-4 people based on their inquiries.
Students will then work in their inquiry groups to come up with solutions that can help prevent
climate change. Students will find ways they can fight climate change and present that to our
class (virtual video they create, poster board, acting out a scene, demonstration on the effects that
cause climate change, etc).
The video “A Beautiful World” is about 6 minutes long and follows Cree Elder George Brertton
as he talks about the changes to a lake near his home. In the video, Brertton talks about what the
lake was like when he was younger and how human impact has changed the lake today. This is a
good starting point to use for students to connect with climate change and human impact to the
environment during their lives. Students can think about how places have changed from when
they were younger to what they’re like now, or they can ask someone older to find out what their
experience was.
- This can be used to move the class towards using things that are recyclable or reusable, a
beach cleanup or a clean up in the playground, earth day, talk about what the world will
be like when they’re older and how they want to change it, and just make them aware of
their carbon footprint and what they can do to minimize it.
Where to find the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTpLPRwgY38 (2:36)
Description: This video is just over 2 and a half minutes long.
- This is a great opening video to the importance of Indigenous peoples knowledge on climate
- The video could lead you to explore the website https://www.indigenousclimateaction.com/ with
your students.
- Open a conversation about climate change and what we can do as a class? School? Community?
Country? World?
- Having conversations about what we are currently doing, is it good enough? What we plan on
doing as we move forward, what more could we do?
- Start an initiation project with your students regarding climate change or sending a letter to local
people of power/ the government?
- Bring in a guest speaker/ elder in your community to speak on climate change.
- Students could design climate change posters to submit with indegenous themed artwork that
could go around the school or community raising awareness of the indigenous climate action.
- Online webinars could be attended by students through the indigenous climate action group.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDSPjcXJCkI This video is 8 minutes long and can be used
as a resource to show Indigenous peoples all over the world and their opinions on climate change.
This can be a good middle section for this topic as it gets students thinking about the impact all
over the world.
Podcast: Unreserved - How B.C.'s Indigenous communities are facing climate change, and
creating solutions
The topic within science your resources covers:
Ecology/Survival Needs
Where can you find this resource?
This podcast includes interviews with 3 different Indigenous communities on the way climate
change is impacting their lives and discusses their responses to it.
It outlines flooding on the reserves of the Kwantlen First Nation, cedar growth for coastal BC
communities, and salmon habitat restoration near Cheam First Nation.
It also talks about what the Green New Deal (or Canadian equivalent) would mean for
Indigenous people.
Initially I would start with a lesson on survival needs with students, so they all knew what
organisms needed for life. At this point I would play the section of the podcast that discusses
cedar growth, because it discusses what cedars need to thrive in an ecosystem. This would lead
into a unit about climate change more broadly where I would go over physical records and
Western understandings of climate change, but I would bring it back to Indigenous peoples
knowledge of climate change by playing the sections on flooding and salmon habitat restoration.
The salmon piece also covers some of the steps Indigenous people are taking to mitigate the
effects of climate change.
The section on the Green New Deal could be used in a cross-curricular lesson with Social
Studies 7.
Flooding - 4:57
Cedar Growth - 22:55
Salmon Habitat Restoration - 30:00
ISBN: 9781771743440
Published by Strong Nations https://www.strongnations.com/store/item_display.php?i=7483&f=
this book/documentary film features Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices in a series of essays
on the topic of climate change. These voices come together to form a compelling message that
Indigenous Knowledge and practices can/must be used to address climate change.
This book is best suited to grades 11/12 and university. It is cross curricular and supports the
following First Peoples Principles of Learning:
• That learning ultimately supports the wellbeing of the self, the family, the land, the
community, the spirits and the ancestors
• Learning requires the exploration of one’s identity.
• Learning recognizes the role of Indigenous Knowledge.
• Learning in holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential and relational (focused on
connectedness, reciprocal relationships and a sense of place)
Earth Science 11
Big Ideas
• The transfer of energy through the atmosphere creates weather, and this transfer is
affected by climate change.
• The distribution of water has a major influence on weather and climate
Curricular Competencies
Questioning and Predicting:
• Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of
personal, local, or global interest
Processing and Analyzing Data:
• Experience and interpret the local environment
• Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local
knowledge as sources of information
• Construct, analyze, and interpret graphs, models, and/or diagrams
Applying and Innovating:
• Contribute to care for self, others, community, and world through individual or
collaborative approaches
• Co-operatively design projects with local and/or global connections and applications
• Contribute to finding solutions to problems at a local and/or global level through inquiry
Express and reflect on a variety of experiences, perspectives, and worldviews through
Content Knowledge:
Evidence of climate change
First Peoples knowledge of climate change and interconnectedness as related to
environmental systems
Effects of climate change on water sources
Educators can use this multi modal resource to inspire and model inquiry showing students what
it looks like to merge First Peoples Knowledge with scientific perspectives regarding climate
change. Also, there are wellness activities to help students to connect with meaning-based coping
skills (Ojala, 2012) to address the reality of climate change in a way that brings people and
knowledges together in action against this threat.
Educators could use the essays supported by videos on the accompanying website as a jumping
off point for inquiry or as a local (Vancouver Island) connection to Indigenous Knowledge
Keepers. The video and additional resources are helpful for all students to make sense of
somewhat complex text in this book.
This document covers First Peoples resources for integration into science
It can be found at http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PUBLICATION-61496Science-First-Peoples-2016-Full-F-WEB.pdf
When completing working on any unit with a topic related to material covered in this First
Peoples topic document, the resources and information contained within each section can help to
get an idea of how First Peoples see each topic. This includes questions, discussions, and
activities within each section along with the other resources.
For example, page 127 has activity that has students searching and looking into current
viewpoints on climate change while being sure to include the perspectives of First Peoples
as well.
Content for grade 5-9
There are resources for biology, chemistry, ecology, and more
One specific example is the unit 5 on climate change which covers science 5 topics (page 121):
Big ideas: Earth materials change as they move through the rock cycle and can be used as
natural resources
First Peoples concepts of interconnectedness in the environment
The nature of sustainable practices around BC’s resources
First Peoples knowledge of sustainable practices
Physics –
Conservation of
Physics – Making Deadfall Traps and Conservation of
Links: https://studylib.net/doc/12142561/deadfall-trap-physics-lab (lab/lesson plan) and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wtj6DkUPrU from 0:42-3:30 (demonstrational video)
This information is relevant to the BC Physics 11 curriculum. The resource connects to
the 3 Big Idea; that “Energy is found in different forms, is conserved, and has the ability to do
work.”. It also addresses three content items: “conservation of energy; principal of work and
energy”, “simple machines and mechanical advantage”, and “applications of simple machines by
First Peoples”.
The resource linked to above is a lesson plan that takes students in a physics 11
classroom through a lab. In this lab, the students will construct a deadfall trap with various
materials and run experiments to determine the work done by those traps using the conservation
of energy. I have also provided a segment of a video that can be shown to the students for
reference when constructing the deadfall traps.
This lesson plan is fairly straightforward and can be followed by the class directly,
however is does not provide any explanation regarding how the trap works, or it’s connection to
the First Nations Peoples. To provide this context, I would first show the video to the class,
which gives a rudimentary understanding of how a deadfall trap works. After the video has
played, I would begin a class discussion about the practicality of these traps and encourage the
students to think about how these traps could have been used by the First Nations peoples. I
would ask them to consider the trap as a simple machine, and discuss the science behind the trap.
If the class is not understanding this underlying physics, a free body diagram can be drawn to
show the way the force of gravity is distributed along the sticks.
Following the discussion, it would then be time to begin the lab itself. In this lab, the
students will have to construct the deadfall trap using sticks that have already been prepared with
notches. Boards of varying weights will complete the trap, and their height will be measured
from their center of mass to the table top. A uniform piece of Play-doh (or any other
compressible object) will be placed underneath the center of mass. The trap will then be set off,
and the displacement of the compressed object will be measured. This process will repeat for all
boards of differing mass. It is important to note that the lab does have a Part B, but I found it
redundant and will leave it out of my lesson.
Using the measured data, the class can easily then find the velocity of each board’s center
of mass at the time of collision with the compressed object. They can also find the force applied
to and work done on the compressible object using its varying displacements. Given these
values, the class can be led in another discussion about the practicality of these traps and what
animals they can be expected to work on.
For assessment, I would ask the students to write down their calculations and hand them
in once completed, as all of these calculations are related to the energy unit in the grade 11
physics curriculum. Other forms of assessment can include monitoring student engagement and
participation throughout the lab work and discussion. They can alternatively be asked to write a
small paper or paragraph on the deadfall trap’s usage and history; following up the class
discussion. Overall, this is an accessible lab that allows for some great teaching moments about
the First Nations Peoples and their culture.
Course: Science 10
Topic: Physics
Big idea: Energy is conserved, and its transformation can affect living things and the
Content: Potential and kinetic energy; transformation of energy; law of conservation of energy
Resource link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89GNUnn-8KQ
Description of resource’s use: This video demonstrates how to make a Paiute deadfall trap, a
variation of the deadfall traps used across North America by the native populations. After an
introduction to the above physics content, I believe this video can be a guide to a lesson in
which students make a trap (a safe one), and then answer questions regarding its state in order
to better understand these topics. For example, a question can be asked about where the
kinetic energy comes from when the trap gets activated by an animal, and also where it goes.
To make the activity safe, the deadfall rock should be replaced with a thin piece of wood. This
should prevent any broken fingers. Also, while the students will learn in the video about how
the trap would be made with natural materials, materials such as string and pre-notched sticks
should be provided due to safety and time constraints. Any calculations of kinetic and potential
energy in this activity would likely be too advanced for the grade 10 level; however, the activity
could also be done in physics 11 with emphasis on data collection and calculations.
Materials for each group:
- Deadfall board
- 4 pre-notched sticks
- string
Health and Wellness
First Peoples holistic approach to health: use the whole website, can pick different tabs for other
lessons. This resource can be found at this link https://www.fnha.ca/wellness/wellness-for-firstnations/first-nations-perspective-on-h ealth-and-wellness
Grade levels: The topic that the resource covers is the First Peoples holistic approach to health. It
covers the organizational aspect to which the First Peoples adhere to prolong their healthy lives
in a westernized world. This lesson is aimed for Anatomy and Physiology 12 students. The big
ideas are shown in the image below.
Figure 1. Vision, Visual, Depiction, Understanding the Perspective, and Background .
This resource can be used by a teacher to inform the students about the First peoples ways of
holistic approach to health and wellness. There are five circles that encompass what the holistic
approach to health is all about. The First people's belief in true wellness begins within the
person. It is all about taking ownership of one's health and wellness. These teachings of the 5
circles have been passed down from Elders and traditional healers. Wellness belongs to
There is a story sharing link within the website that shows some of the incredible stories being
told by First peoples journeys using the holistic wellness approach that has been passed down to
them. This is a great connection for the teacher to make so the students see the holistic approach
to health working in first nation communities.
Big Ideas:
Holistic nutrition is central to improving First Nations health. Traditional wellness is an
important part of a healthier future.
Curricular Competencies:
Demonstrate curiosity about the holistic approach to health
Identify First Peoples perspectives and knowledge as a source of information
How to Use/Description:
The First Nations Health Authority is a resource website. The website promotes the First
Peoples holistic approach to health and how the First peoples utilize the stories passed on from
generations to ensure the health and wellness for the future. Most useful for teachers will be to
break the students up into small groups to discuss the content being provided. There are so many
valuable avenues that this website has to offer. By breaking the students up into small groups to
discuss and report on the First Peoples holistic approach to health, it will be beneficial for the
students' learning. After groups have discussed and reported out, there can be a quiz created
from the content provided and given for the students to do individually.
FN health Authority - Health and Wellness Information
● Grade 12 anatomy and physiology
● Big idea
○ Homeostasis is maintained through physiological processes
● Content
○ Lifestyle Differences
○ Holistic approaches to health
● Where I found the resource
○ From the FNHA first nations health authority
■ The first and only provincial first nations health authority in Canada
■ Goal- Working to transform and reform the way healthcare is delivered to
BC first nation
○ Specifically the wellness for FN section of the website
● Most applicable to Anatomy and Physiology 12
○ Healthy Food Guidline for FN Communities
■ lifestyle differences and their effects on human health
■ https://www.fnha.ca/Documents/Healthy_Food_Guidelines_for_First_Nati
● A guide to healthy eating similar to the Canada food guide but
from a FN perspective
○ FN traditional foods fact sheet
■ lifestyle differences and their effects on human health
■ fnha.ca/Documents/Traditional_Food_Fact_Sheets.pdf
● Nutritional facts and history of common traditional foods of BC
○ FN perspective on health and wellness
■ holistic approach
■ https://www.fnha.ca/wellness/wellness-for-first-nations/first-nationsperspective-on-health-and-wellness
● Holistic view on overall health from a FN perspective
Learning activities related to the resource
For- Lifestyle Differences
Using - Healthy Food Guidelines for FN communities
Learning Intention - Students will be introduced to macronutrients and caloric intake
I would use this resource to teach a lesson on macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins), and caloric
intake. I would also touch on how this guideline includes information specific to first nation
culture such as nutrition tips for large community style feasts and for cooking wild meat. I would
then assign students to explore the nutritional value of a common meal from their family or
For- Lifestyle Differences
Using traditional foods facts sheet
Learning intention - Students will learn about important nutrients and their role in the
When teaching a lesson on micronutrients and their function on the body I would relate the
nutrients to food that was traditionally available to first nations living in BC. For example when
teaching about the role of vitamin D in the human body I would include that salmon was
traditionally an important source of Vitamin D for FN people. When teaching about the food I
would also include cultural information about the food such as harvesting and storing techniques.
Additionally, I would also have students complete a project where they researched a common
nutritional supplement taken today andrelate. it to a BC food source that contains that nutrient.
For - Holistic Approaches to health
First Nations Perspective on Health and Wellness
Learning Intention - Students will be introduced to a holistic approach to health and relate
that approach to their own life
To teach the content item “holistic approach to health” I would use the FNHA perspective on
health visual diagram to introduce the idea of holistic health. As part of the lesson I would also
incorporate other ideas on holistic health, noting there is not one definition of holistic health. I
would introduce the visual in a lecture style lesson. I would then assign a learning activity where
students make their own visual representing their own wellness. Students would use the FNHA
visual as a guideline but add their own words specific to their life or culture.
The resource that I am going to be presenting is the Indiginous medicine wheel. The
medicine wheel is defined by Bob Joseph as “the alignment and continuous interaction of the
physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual realities.” (2020)(https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/what-isan-indigenous-medicine-wheel) Joseph goes on to explain that the shape of the wheel represents
interconnectivity of all aspects of self as well as the connection we have with the natural world
around us.
I feel like this topic would be perfectly fitted
for a grade 10 science class learning about the
ecosystem. According to the BC curriculum, a big
curricular competency that should be learned about
is how to apply first peoples perspectives and
For my lesson I would take the class outside,
preferably somewhere quiet in nature and I would
ask the students to be calm and present. I would ask
them to use all of their senses and think about all of
the things they see, feel, hear and maybe even taste.
After a few moments of observation I would then
ask the students to think about all of the
observations they had and any possible connections
they might see between different observations. After
they had time to reflect on what they observed I
would then introduce the medicine wheel using the
definition and explanation set out by Bob Joseph. Each student would be supplied with a visual
of the medicine wheel and I would encourage them to try and explain in their own words how
some of the topics connect to each other on the wheel.
I am aware that this topic may be more abstract than some students may be used to so I
would finish the lesson back in class with a video by National Geographic titled “How Trees
Secretly Talk to Each Other in the Forest” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kHZ0a_6TxY)
and it explains how some trees in a forest can be connected through a complex system of fungi
that allow the trees to help each other. Some learners are far more literal and have a hard time
understanding a concept without a clear visual representation of the content. That is why I would
use this visual aid to assist in teaching how the world is connected around us even if you can't
see it with your bare eyes.
Traditional Diets
Topic —
Ecology, Plants, Local Environment, Climate Change, First Peoples Knowledge
Where to find — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKTxP_zy_mA'.
The video is called “Down2Earth 1.3 Cheryl Bryce (Lekwammen) and you can find this resource
on YouTube.
This video is an interview of a local Lekwungen woman named Cheryl Bryce. She lives in
‘Victoria.’ She talks about Indigenous food sovereignty, climate change/erosion, and the traditional food
Camas and how she and her family used to harvest it and how they continue to harvest it. Cheryl also
talks about Lekwungen culture and history as well as her own history and how she is engaging local
Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to this history and activism through food.
This video series searches for Indigenous solutions to global warming and explored how
Indigenous people are using traditional knowledge to find solutions to environmental issues that are
affecting their communities and territories (Channeldown2earth).
How to use this resource —
I could first use this resource to explore and grow our understanding of our local environment as
we are on the unceeded territory of the Lekwungen speaking peoples. It is important to not only be aware
of, acknowledge, and respect this history but to also understand that these ways of being continue to this
day within Lekwungen and First People cultures and communities. I could also use this resource to
explore and understand local First Peoples knowledge about the land and the traditional plants they use to
harvest, eat, and sell. Our class could go on a nature walk to explore this area and find the plants that
Cheryl Bryce was talking about. We could also try to have Cheryl Bryce come talk to our classroom/go
on the walk with us as she is an advocate for education.
Secondly, I could use this resource to facilitate discussions and learnings on First Peoples
understandings of historical and present day climate/environment change within our local community. In
the video, Cheryl talks about how the soil of the traditional Camas is being depleted and encroached by
land development, lack of management, and invasive species.
Thirdly, I could use this resource to facilitate discussions on the historical and present day
consequences of colonialism for and on Indigenous Peoples. In the video, Cheryl talks about a time when
her family/community would get in trouble for practicing traditional ways of being or for collecting their
traditional foods within their ancestral homelands. This was and is not right. Our Indigenous communities
need to be supported and respected as these traditional practices and ways of being our a part of
Lekwungen and First Peoples present connections to identity, family, community, culture, ancestry, and
to the land. As Cheryl describes, we as a community of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, need to
listen and help protect in this cause.
The last idea of how I could use this within a class could be to foster a sense of empowerment,
empathy, and compassion within all students in how to care about their environment and the land that
they live on.
Introduction to the Inuit Diet
The topic I chose is for Biology 12 and more specifically Anatomy & Physiology. The big idea
that is related to this topic is “Gene expression, through protein synthesis, is an interaction
between genes and the environment”. And given that nutrition and diet is and has always been
quite popular, I chose to relate this big idea to the following content: Lifestyle differences:
dietary plans.
• Youtube link #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohskrSuq8Mo
• Nunavut Gov Nutrition fact sheet:
With regards to the Inuit lifestyle, their diet has been acquired over generations. With
environmental factors such as the cold, landscape, and food scarcity or insecurity, the Inuit have
had to adapt. In the arctic, the Inuit depend on hunting animals and fish that yield large amounts
food. Their diets are typically very high in fat as a very dense form of energy where 1 gram of fat
carries ~9 kcal. The remainder of their diet will have a secondary emphasis on Proteins and a
very little bit from carbohydrates to round everything off. Their access to vegetables or fruits is
highly season dependant! Some of their dietary practices use to or in some areas still involve
eating organ meats raw to preserve the stored vitamins.
The nature of this high fatty diet helps with
• Insulation: Adipose tissue helps in keeping the body warm as insulation.
• Energy: A high calorie diet is required to sustain their lifestyle where hunting in the cold
is an essential part of life. EXTRA LINK: Aerobic Metabolism. Think fats for fuel!
(1)Bonus: The Inuit will eat the entire animal nose to tail. Unlike our westernized nutritional
culture, they will eat the organ meats as they are rich with micronutrients.
(2)Bonus: A breakdown of their macronutrient derives of ~50% from Fats, ~30-35% from
proteins, and 15-20% from carbohydrates.
Our current western diet has typically consisted of ~40-65% Carbohydrates, ~15-25% of
proteins, and ~15-35% of Fats. Recently, the Canadian food guide has been modified to adopt a
“plate method” and a “habit based” approach. The new guide can be found at this link:
• The traditional diet of the First Nations Peoples was diverse and nutritious. Exploring the
traditional diet highlights the deep knowledge that the First Peoples have of their local
environment, ecosystems within it and the associated flow of energy though food webs.
Resource: First Nations Traditional Food Fact Sheets
• https://www.fnha.ca/Documents/Traditional_Food_Fact_Sheets.pdf
• This online PDF document is vast. It has some great information for students and
teachers and can be used as a great jumping off point for a variety of curricular
connections – it can be applied to the BC Science curriculum at just about every grade
Teacher Application:
• I would use this resource to assist me in building a larger unit based on combining the
content of biodiversity found on the West Coast, the associated transfer of energy through
food webs, and the knowledge of First Nations about their traditional surroundings.
• Throughout the unit, individual lessons could be built around specific items of the
traditional diet, how that item fits into the biosphere, their use and how they were
traditionally located and processed.
• Emphasis should be put on selecting menu items that can be easily accessed near the
school to support outdoor activities in viewing/experiencing the item in nature.
• Build a one-page reference guide of menu item’s students will likely see in their local
• Take a class trip to nearby beach or forested area and give students the opportunity to
identify and observe as many menu items as possible.
• Return to the classroom and debrief their experiences, allow the students to select a few
common or preferred items that will later be further explored by groups.
• Divide into groups and give each group an item to build a knowledge poster about how
this item interacts in the environment.
• Come back together and briefly share poster with group.
Topic: Ecology, First Nations use of biological resources, First Nations
Language, and Conservation/sustainability
Location of resource: Physical copies of this resource exist at the Koeye Lodge, Hieltsuk territory.
A link to the google document can be found here:
Ill start off by saying that I created this resource on a UVIC field school in Hieltsuk territory, in the spring
of 2019. Field research was guided by Hieltsuk knowledge holders Jess Housty and Jayda Wilson.
This resource can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, this slideshow was printed off, laminated
and ring bound as a waterproof field guide intended for kids aged 10-15. As a field guide, this resource is
handy to assist students through the development of a medicine walk or in traditional food harvestingg.
Each slide contains 5 key pieces of information: Species latin and common name, Hieltsuk Name,
identifying features, how/ why this species was harvested, and status of conservation concern. Students
out on a foraging activity can flip through the laminated booklet for a quick bit of in-field interpretation.
This booklet can be used to understand some aspects of coastal resource use by First Nations over the
years. Furthermore, it can be used to highlight conservation, and can guide sustainable, small scale
harvest by students.
Limitations of this resource include the fact that its applications are geographically limited, and that most
of us are not going to be working in Hieltsuk territory. However, therein lies the opportunity to extend
this learning to different geographic areas. This framework can easily be used as a model, and students
can create their own guidebook or catalogue for species they encounter locally on Vancouver Island. This
will provide them opportunity to seek resources from the nation whose lands they occupy, and by delving
into language resources, forge connections with their schools First Nations liaison and local indigenous
Resource: Traditional Animal Foods of Indigenous Peoples of Northern North America.- The
contributions of wildlife diversity to the subsistence and nutrition of indigenous cultures.
Link: http://traditionalanimalfoods.org/
Topic: This resource can be used for a plethora of topics within science curricula. It can be used
to show life cycles, biology as well as ecology.
Grade Level and Curriculum:
Grade 7
Big Idea- Evolution by natural selection provides an explanation for the diversity and survival of
living things
Content- Natural selection, First Peoples knowledge of changes in biodiversity over time
Grade 9
Content- First Peoples Knowledge of interconnectedness and sustainability
Grade 11 Life ScienceBig Idea-Organisms are grouped based on common characteristics
Content- Taxonomic principles for classifying organisms, First Peoples knowledge on
This resource would be key in showing students how the First Peoples interacted with and used
many different animals. It also touches on the importance of the animal as it relates to different
Indigenous groups’ beliefs of the animal. When using this resource, educators can allow students
to explore the site to view their favourite animal, or one they are interested in to gain further
understanding of First Peoples ways of knowing about animals and their taxonomic principles
for classifying organisms in their own way.
Learning Intentions:
• I can understand what the Eulachon fishery is and where it is located.
• I can understand and state why it is impactful to BC’s First Nations.
• I can understand and state how it has impacted the development of FN culture in Western Canada.
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK3dmls9gdY
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5cyh7d1pn0
• https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eulachon
How I would use this in class?
Observe the Video. What did you see?
Read the Article. What did you read?
I actually have some Eulachon grease I got from a member of the Cowichan community, and I would let
students smell and see this sample.
Q: What is the Eulachon fish?
A: The Eulachon is a small anadromous ocean fish, a smelt found along the Pacific coast of North
America from northern California to Alaska, which spawns in local rivers.
Q: How is the Salvation Fish (Eulachon) caught?
A: The fish is caught in large nets, trapped in fishing weirs or scooped up in baskets.
Q: How is the Eulachon processed?
A: It is sometimes dried, or smoked or canned. It is also placed in vats to ferment (for up to a week),
separating its oil which is collected and filtered and stored for up to 2 years.
Q: Why is the Eulachon important to First Nations?
A: The Eulachon forms an important source of food for coastal First Nations and provides a rich source
of nutrients and minerals to traditional diets/medicine. It is also the basis for the traditional trading
networks in western first nations traditions.
Q: Why is it important to conserve and protect this species?
A: Many species rely on the Eulachon to survive both on sea and land.
Q: How did the Eulachon impact the development of First Nations communities in Western Canada?
A: The harvesting of Eulachon into rich oil called ‘grease’ created a highly valued trade resource that was
transported over long distances and traded with other First Nations for thousands of years. Known as the
‘grease trails’ the process of harvesting and trading Eulachon connected western first nations in a vast and
dynamic trade and cultural exchange.
Vocabulary Development: Anadromous fish, Eulachon, Eulachon runs, Grease Trail, Smelt, Eulachon
Grease, Ferment, Rendering.
Ecosystems, and
Traditional Ecological
Science 9
Big Idea – The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere are interconnected, as
matter cycles and energy flows through them.
Content – First people’s knowledge of interconnectedness and sustainability
A unique initiative has been started to create a network of forests and green spaces across
Canada where people of all cultures can come together in the spirit of reconciliation to heal,
talk, reflect and build respect and understanding as a result of the Residential Schools and the
findings in the National Truth and Reconciliation Report.
The First Nation’s see the forest as a place of healing and being connected with nature. They
also have sacred plants that are used for medicine and food. For the science 9 curriculum, the
interconnectedness of our natural surrounds could be celebrated by planting a garden of
traditional plants and creating an area of green space. If there is a forested area on the school
property this would also be a great area to have an official sign or plaque designating the area
as a Healing Forest. An area of the classroom or school could also be designated with the
addition of potted traditional plants.
1. Determine the best location (we will go with in classroom for this description)
2. Discuss in class the trend of eco therapy (nature therapy) encourages healing by
interacting with nature. What cultures use green spaces of significance? (eg Japanese
gardens, Coast Salish People) Video on ecotherapy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h29z-l3XTlk only 2:45 min!
3. Have students research traditional plants to the local First Nation’s people (type, uses)
4. Source the plants and have the students create the garden
5. Discuss the importance of the plants. Discuss the big idea of interconnectedness with
the traditional/medicinal plants, cultural significance and importance to the earth.
6. Have students tend to the garden throughout the semester
7. Invite students to visit the green space regularly to reflect on reconciliation
8. If available, have an elder from the local First People’s territory come acknowledge and
bless the healing green space and address the importance of forests and green spaces in
indigenous cultures.
*Budget would be a consideration for this project and may be done on a larger scale with the
school district. Funding may be available through provincial and federal grants however if
school budget would not allow, a fundraising initiative or donations may be available. Local
green houses may be willing to contribute materials for the project as well as the PAC.
Subject/Grade: Science 9 / Science 10 / Environmental Sciences 11 (Curriculum Connections here are for
Environmental Science 11 but there are good ties to Science 9/10 and a teachers guide for Science/Social
Studies 9)
An in-depth history of Húy̓at, a culturally important place in Heiltsuk Territory, near Bella Bella
that includes stories, traditions, teachings, timelines, obstacles, and a virtual tour.
Lesson Idea:
Students navigate to the website and open the virtual tour. http://tour.hauyat.ca/
Spend some time navigating the tour, teacher shows students how to access the overview map
so they can make sure they see all the places.
- Teacher directs students to the tending and harvesting section:
- Assignment would be to learn about how any plant/animal/medicine/material was traditionally
used and compare its cultivation/use to how it is done commercially.
o Respond to the key question “If there is one thing that you want everyone to know
about how the Heiltsuk People used this item, what would it be?” in written or recorded
format, told as a story like the stories on the website.
Additional Ideas:
Review the Teacher’s Guide for many more classroom and unit ideas:
Big Ideas:
- Humans can play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems.
- Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems.
Curricular Competencies:
Experience and interpret the local environment.
Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge as
sources of information.
Content Connections:
- First Peoples ways of knowing and doing.
- First Peoples knowledge and other traditional ecological knowledge in sustaining biodiversity
Learning Intentions:
I can explore the Heiltsuk Territory virtually and learn about their culture.
I can reflect on traditional practices and compare them to commercial practices.
Resource: https://greatbearsea.net/environmental-science/
This resource offers an Indigenous perspective on promoting sustainability of a region in British
Columbia known as the Great Bear Sea. It includes a documentary titled “the Great Bear Sea:
Reflecting on the Past, Planning for the Future” and a number of free lesson plans to create a
unit on sustainability. Each lesson plan features multiple videos, local Indigenous knowledge,
place-based stories, activities, and supplemental handouts to guide the lesson.
Grade: Environmental Science 11/12
Big idea: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems.
Curricular Competencies:
- Questioning and predicting: Formulate multiple hypotheses and predict multiple
- Planning and conducting: Assess risks and address ethical, cultural and/or environmental
issues associated with their proposed methods and those of others.
- Processing and analyzing data and information: Apply First Peoples perspectives and
knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge as sources of information.
Content: First Peoples knowledge and other traditional ecological knowledge in sustaining
Application: I would use the Environmental Science lessons under the “Secondary Curriculum”
option as resource for a sustainability unit in Environmental Science 11/12. Five lesson plans
regarding the development and management of resources in and around the Great Bear Sea are
provided. Each lesson builds on the other to give students a well-rounded perspective on
Indigenous knowledge in regard to sustainable resource management of the Great Bear Sea. The
first lesson introduces the Gear Bear Sea and the diverse ecosystems that inhabits this region. A
number of videos are included to supplement the lesson plan provided, including a video on
respecting the environment and a First Nations history overview. This resource also features a
full-length documentary on the Great Bear Sea which could be used prior to starting the first
lesson as an introduction to the topic.
Unit Outline:
Lesson 1 – Introduction to the Great Bear Sea and ecological significance of this area
Lesson 2 – Traditional knowledge and collaborative research to work towards sustainability
Lesson 3 – The Great Bear Sea case studies: exploring sustainable resource management and
marine planning
Lesson 4 – Collaborative decision making and sustainable resource planning for the future
Lesson 5 – Inquiry project: students design a funding proposal for sustainable development
Course- Life Sciences 11
Big Idea- Life is a result of interactions at the molecular and cellular levels.
Content- First Peoples understandings of interrelationships between organisms.
Resource Location: http://www.fnesc.ca/sciencetrg/ (pp 159-178).
Resource Summary: This is a very thorough resource by the First Nations Education Steering
Committee (FNESC) specifically for British Columbia Secondary schools to incorporate First
Peoples knowledge into Science class learning. It has many units and directly links lessons to
the BC Curriculum.
Lesson Details:
This lesson will concentrate on how salmon are connected with the ecosystems in different ways.
1) Students will watch a video on the St’at’imc People and their long history of dependence on
salmon- https://youtu.be/KMtdVqHDrwc
2) Students will then complete a KWL form with partners. The question posed is: How are salmon
connected to their environment?
3) The teacher will tell a story to the class: “The Creator and the Flea Lady from Legends and Teachings
of Xeel’s, the Creator, by Ellen Rice White. This story shows ways First Peoples were interconnected
with their world.
In the story, Ellen discusses the ideas in the story, including the ideas of our connections with the
universe. “The universe is made of energy. All things, inanimate as well as animate, are imbued with it;
and we are all connected by universal energy” (p 20.)
4) The teacher will show the David Suzuki video on the interconnectedness of salmon with the forests:
5) Students will fill out the KWL on what they have learned today and complete an exit ticket
showing one thing they found the most interesting today.
This can easily become a unit where each element can be studied in more detail. I would also
plan a field trip in October to bring the students to a salmon stream to observe rotting fish on the
shore. This will show students how many animals are brought to the rivers by salmon.
Environmental Science 11
Big Ideas:
Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems.
Humans can play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems.
First Peoples knowledge and other traditional ecological knowledge in sustaining biodiversity
Human actions and their impact on ecosystem integrity.
National Geographics article that summarizes the First Peoples story of the Spirit bear, or
Kermode bears, and how the First Peoples have worked to keep the bears, environment, and
culture safe.
o https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/10/wildlife-watch-hunting-great-bearrainforest-spirit-bear/
- “Rainforest Guardians: Spirit Bears and the Gitga’at Nation” is a short video that has Marven
Robinson talk about the bears and the efforts being made to preserve them.
o https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3vEO8pMWoc&ab_channel=MatadorNetwork
Using these resources:
These resources are perfect for bringing a local story of environmental preservation to the
classroom. Teachers can gain information through the National Geographic article that
summarizes the information needed to understand this complex topic. Teachers can then present
this information to their students, along with the video, to give students an insight into the story.
These resources capture the how and why of environmental preservation by the First Peoples.
The focus is on ecology. Specifically waste management in the area of plastic use.
This would be for Grade 11 environmental sciences.
The big ideas it engages with are:
Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
Humans can play a role in stewardship and restorations of ecosystems
The Content items are:
First Peoples knowledge and other traditional ecological knowledge in sustaining
First peoples ways of knowing and doing
Human actions and their impact on ecosystem integrity
Resource stewardship
An article about how western action in the environment without allowing for the voices
of Indigenous peoples has resulted in damage to the environment
A website that discusses policy and action to reduce the use of plastics and to limit plastic
production going forward
The first listed article demonstrates to students the importance of listening to traditional
ecological knowledge and the negative impacts to the environment that can happen when it is
ignored. Students read the article noting their thoughts, feelings and ideas they have while
reading it. A brainstorming is done with the students on what kind of waste we throw out and the
time it takes for different materials to decompose to emphasize the unsustainable nature of
rampant plastic use. The teacher then draws attention to the part of the article focusing on
plastics and gets the class to discuss what kind of impact listening to traditional ecological
knowledge could’ve had on the prevalent use of plastics in our society.
The second listed resource is then utilized for students to explore and deepen their
understanding of how the students themselves impact the environment and how large of an issue
plastic usage is. The teacher should also have students read the suggested policies in the “policy
brief” part of the website to get students to start thinking about what can be done to combat
plastic use. Students are invited to share their findings from the website or any other ideas that
they had about the issue of plastic waste or our role in the problem. This brings home the
Indigenous ideas of interconnectedness with one's own environment and the importance of being
good stewards of the resources and environment that we engage with.
Grade Level: Environmental Science 11
Science Topic: Sustainability, Ethnography, Ecology
Big Ideas:
• Humans can play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems
• Human practices affect sustainability of ecosystems
• First Peoples ways of knowing and doing
• First Peoples knowledge and other traditional ecological knowledge in sustaining
• Restoration practices/Resource stewardship
Resources: http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PUBLICATION-SCIENCEFIRST-PEOPLES-Secondary-TRG-2019.pdf (Pages 123-125)
Lab: Page 125 section E lists out step by step instructions to a landscape burning lab
demonstration that would benefit the classroom through a visual representation of the benefits of
prescribed burning in a controlled environment.
Video: CBC. Imagine the Fire. The National. 2013. https://bit.ly/2UC2u87 . CBC news video
Questions for video:
• What season is best for prescribed burning?
• List 3 benefits of prescribed burnings?
• Why was prescribed burning outlawed?
• Can you think of areas in B.C. that could benefit from the use of prescribed burning?
• Should we prioritize more prescribed burnings in our forest managements practices?
(Why or why not?)
This resource can be used to teach students the importance of Indigenous cultural prescribed
burnings by utilizing a hands-on lab where students can visually observe the benefits of burnt
sod on second growth plants. Along with the lab portion an informational video (Imagine the
fire) is paired with a worksheet of prodding questions to engage the students in the history and
importance of prescribed burnings in caring for the forests. After the lab and video with
questions we can engage in a group discussion on the importance of prescribed burning thinking
of what skills might were necessary for the Indigenous to have to incorporate prescribed
Skills/knowledge listed could be: how often do you burn? What should you burn? How to
control the fire? Knowledge of weather patterns? Knowledge of plant cycles?
Braiding Sweetgrass Audiobook 6:17:25 - 6:32:45
Available through the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) using the Libby App
Environmental Science 11
Big Ideas
Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
• How do First Peoples traditional practices contribute to dynamic equilibrium in an
Humans play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems
• How do First Peoples perspectives and knowledge inform sustainable practices?
• Ecosystem complexity: roles, relationships, population dynamics
• First Peoples knowledge and other traditional ecological knowledge in sustaining
• Benefits of ecosystem services
• Human actions and their impact on ecosystem integrity
Summary of Text
Robin Kimmerer tells the story of supervising a grad student who wanted to do her
masters on the First Nations practice of harvesting sweetgrass and whether the different
harvesting methods contribute to strengthening the population of sweetgrass. She discusses
the complexities of allowing scientific study on a plant with so much spiritual significance to her
people. The First Nations people who harvest sweet grass believe that their methods of
harvesting are helpful to the sweet grass, but this hypothesis was laughed at during the
students graduate study proposal. The methods of the study are then described, and the
student finds out the First Nations were correct, harvesting lead to an increase in population
Curricular Competencies: and how they connect to the text
Collaboratively and individually plan, select, and use appropriate investigation methods,
including field work and lab experiments, to collect reliable data (qualitative and quantitative)
• All study methods are well described in the text
Assess risks and address ethical, cultural, and/or environmental issues associated with their
proposed methods
• A discussion is held of bringing science into First Nations spiritual beliefs and whether
this is ok or not
Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge
as sources of information
• This is well described just before this section of the text if there is more time to listen
Analyze cause-and-effect relationships
• This is described in the methods of the study
Express and reflect on a variety of experiences, perspectives, and worldviews through place.
Place is any environment, locality, or context with which people interact to learn, create
memory, reflect on history, connect with culture, and establish identity. The connection
between people and place is foundational to First Peoples perspectives.
Lesson Activity
Think – Pair – Share
1. Which investigative methods are used to collect data?
2. What was the ethical dilemma Robin faced when asked to study sweetgrass and how did
she address it?
3. Describe the First Nations knowledge of harvesting sweetgrass and the differences
between Peoples.
4. What was the cause-and-effect relationship described in this study? How do we know it
was causation and not just correlation?
5. Explain the importance of connection between people and place to ensure sweetgrass
populations are sustained.
Topic: Kus Kus Sum and Comox Valley Project Watershed
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms8gEGlMJe4&t=15s
Description: This video describes the Kus Kus Sum project happening in the Comox Valley to
restore the old sawmill site back to its original state- to protect the salmon migration and natural
habitats along the Courtenay River and K’omoks estuary.
This video could be used to introduce the Shoreline Clean-up day that Comox Valley Schools
participate in, and to introduce students to local initiatives happening in partnership with
K’omoks First Nation to protect local ecosystems.
Resource: Science First Peoples – Teacher Resource Guide (pg. 105) Bears and the Body
Curriculum Connection: Grade 9 Science (ecology)
Big Idea – The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter
cycles and energy flows through them
Content – First Peoples knowledge of interconnectedness and sustainability
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDg24d8fF1Q
(give warning that parts of video may be disturbing ie., killing of bear)
Before playing the video have a class discussion on the overall public perception of
bears. Ask critical questions as to why bears might be seen as dangerous, and why they might be
a part of trophy hunting. After the video, have a class discussion and ask if anyone’s opinions on
bears have changed.
Written Response Questions:
- How are bears and humans similar? Think about their body structure and diet.
- What would happen to the food chain if trophy hunting was still permitted?
Pretend as if trophy hunting was not yet banned. Write a letter to government officials
explaining the importance of bears to the ecosystem, Indigenous communities, and British
Columbia as a whole. Think about the cultural importance to First Nations communities living in
coastal areas, and the ecosystem services bears provide.
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of
Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- Secondary resource: discussion questions for the book
- I found the resource in the VIU bookstore; available at most bookstores including Indigo
and available for download both as an ebook and an audiobook
The topic it covers: Sustainability/Restoration of ecosystems
The grade level and curriculum connection: Environmental Science 11
Big ideas: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems. Humans can play a role in
stewardship and restoration of ecosystems.
Content items: ecosystem complexity (relationships); First Peoples knowledge and other
traditional ecological knowledge in sustaining biodiversity; human actions and their impact on
ecosystem integrity; First Peoples ways of knowing and doing; restoration practices
Description of how it can be used as a teacher:
As a teacher, specific passages can be read from the book that tie directly into the topic of
sustainability. Follow-up activities can include responses to the text in discussion format (see the
secondary resource for examples of questions!) highlighting the ways in which Indigenous
cultures respect the land even as they take from it and ensure that the relationship between
humans and the earth is a symbiotic one. Simply reading a passage and discussing it would be a
fantastic way to explore this, allowing students to reflect on what they’ve read and discuss it in
the classroom to apply it directly to their lives. The secondary resource makes this even easier, as
good questions are outlined for you.
To note:
Kimmerer is a botanist and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and her relationship to
the land directly incorporates her indigenous knowledge into her scientific practice. This makes
her book a perfect resource for incorporating First Nations practices into science, because it does
exactly that. Through stories, she outlines how her people harvest sustainably to support the
environment rather than deplete it.
This resource can be used for many different grade levels and Big Ideas including (but not
limited to) topics in fishing, forestry, sustainability, and nutrition. To focus only on those
chapters for application to Environmental Science 11, it can be narrowed down so that the
resource is less daunting by focusing on the section of the book titled “Picking Sweetgrass.”
The Science First Peoples Teacher Resource Guide is designed for students in grades 5-9
but each lesson can be tweaked slightly to apply to higher grade levels as well. It provides
lesson plan suggestions and activity suggestions as well as fully developed lesson plans which
all correspond to the Big Ideas and Content within the BC Provincial Science Curriculum for
grades 5-9.
There are so many amazing suggestions and Ideas within this resource. I will focus on one unit
and one grade level in order to take a closer look at the specifics of implementation and
For guide http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PUBLICATION-61496-Science-First-Peopl
For video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDg24d8fF1Q
Unit 4: Bears and Body Systems
Bears and Culture
Science 9:
Big Idea - The biosphere, geosphere,hydrosphere, and atmosphere are
interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them. (How do First
Peoples view the cycling of matter and energy?)
Content - Sustainability of systems, First Peoples knowledge of
interconnectedness and sustainability.
For this hypothetical science 9 class, I am assuming that as a class they have already had
several lessons on Indigenous Peoples and will have a solid background understanding on
basic concepts within Indigenous Knowledge. I will be focusing specifically on the importance of
interconnectedness and the common belief that we are all connected to nature and to each
other. Starting with a group discussion I would introduce the concept that everything in the
universe has a place and deserves respect. I will challenge their thinking by asking “what is the
place of a house fly? Do we really need to give it respect?” Hopefully this will spark a mini
debate and we will come to the conclusion together that, while it may not be obvious at first, the
house fly does play an important role in our lives (breaking down and recycling organic matter).
I would then introduce bears as the focus of conversation and get the students to brainstorm the
place bears hold in our lives and why we should respect bears. What does respect look like
when given to a bear? How is this different from the respect given to a house fly? Is one more
important than the other? I will get them to share their ideas on the place bears hold in their own
lives, and will contrast and compare that to the place bears hold in the lives of First Peoples. In
order to represent the deep spiritual connection the First Peoples have with bears, I will show
several examples of bears in traditional Indigenous stories and how they appear in many
Indigenous art forms.
To understand how First Nations are working to protect this highly respected animal, I will show
the YouTube video Bear Witness (22 min). This video highlights how the First Peoples are
working together with scientists to collaboratively end trophy hunting. It further highlights the
relationship between bears, First Peoples, and the land. * It is important to note that this video
contains several graphic scenes showing dead bears. Consider giving students a warning
beforehand, or potentially skipping over several of the more graphic scenes. * To connect with
Inquiry-based learning (one of the First Peoples Principles of Learning) I would have the
students think of one question that sparks while watching the video. With this question I would
have them research answers/solutions and encourage them to find more than one possible
answer/solution. They will be asked to share their question and answers/solutions with the class
the following day.
Where can you find this resource? You can find this resource online at https://greatbearsea.net.
There are sections devoted to elementary and secondary BC curriculum, as well as post
secondary resources. Throughout the resources, images and colour resources noted with a * are
available here on the website or on the Great Bear Sea USB Drive. Recognizing that schools in
rural or remote areas may have limited or inconsistent access to the internet and may not be able
to download the resources. You can also contact them for alternate arrangements or to receive
the USB drive.
Application of Resource:
As a teacher, this resource could be used to plan and develop a unit of study surrounding themes
of Indigenous Knowledge, collaborative research, marine planning, collaborative decisionmaking, careers and stewardship. Within all of this, there are many opportunities to incorporate
the FPPL. This resource focuses specifically on Science and Social Studies but can be used
cross-curricular as certain activities are Mathematics, English Language Arts, Career Education
and Arts Education based. The lessons have learning outcomes and concepts that build upon
each other; however, activities have been designed to allow for customization or differentiation
as you move through the unit to suit the needs of your learners. This unit can be tailored to suit
students’ interests and curiosities. The resources have been divided into sections to guide the
classroom teacher. For each lesson teachers will find required materials, lesson context and
learning outcomes, step-by-step instructions for suggested activities, extensions and assessment
ideas. A Teacher Background section is also included for each lesson, highlighting additional
background content for educators. Teachers can use this resource to aid in student understanding
of the significance of the great bear region, how traditional ecological knowledge is important,
and understand the impacts we can have, as well as the action we can take.
1. Grade Level: Science 9 in BC or Science 10 in Saskatchewan
2. Big Idea: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter
cycles and energy flows through them
3. Content: sustainability of systems
4. Where Resource is found: https://www.stf.sk.ca/sites/default/files/unit-plans/s106_5.pdf
5. How to use this resource in the class.
● It is an entire one class lesson on its own.
● It is called: Mother Earth: A Lesson to Support Science 10 (if this is in Saskatchewan) or
Science 9 in BC. It is an 18 page adobe document with everything needed for a lesson
● This lesson can be used an introduction or a Review of Sustainability
● It uses a single story called “Mother Earth” to teach about sustainability. First nations
rely heavily on stories as a way to teach so this makes a great example of that.
● This PDF gives the: key understandings, Essential Questions, Learning Objectives,
Assessment Examples, Notes to the teacher, a lesson plan & some possible extension
activities. Note this is based on the Saskatchewan grade 10 Science curriculum, but can
easily be transferred to the BC curriculum
● For assessment it gives a 2 page Key Concept worksheet with an answer key.
● It has a 2 page list of questions for discussion as a group and it also includes a teachers
key of possible answers
● It has an evaluation rubric
● An Appendix on how to involve and use Elders to assist in this lesson plan
How to count to ten in Cree: a video with the written form and audio form of the numbers zero
to Ten in Cree
Bank of U of Saskatchewan First Nations / Metis
Science First People Teacher Resource Guide: 298 pages to provide educators with resources
to support the integration of the rich body of First Peoples (unappropriated) knowledge and
perspectives into secondary Science classes (as well as other curricular areas).
Environmental science 11
Big Ideas:
Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
Humans can play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems
Content items (p. 161):
Ecosystem complexity: roles, relationships; population dynamics
Energy flow through ecosystems
Matter cycles through and between living systems
First People’s knowledge and other traditional knowledge ecological knowledge in sustaining biodiversity
Human actions and their impact on ecosystem integrity
Resource stewardship
Restoration practices
Website with link to Downloadable PDF of Book: Science First Peoples Teacher Resource Guide
(SECONDARY) (2019)
How to use:
(This resource can be used to build an entire Environmental Science 11 course with multiple units that
cover all Big Ideas, Content items, and curricular Competencies, so I will focus on creating one unit)
-use as basis for Environmental Science 11 course with a unit on:
Ex. Ecosystem Sustainability and Resource Management with Indigenous Perspective
1. Scan units for environmental science 11 curricular connections at beginning of each unit in book
2. Pick suggested activities that pertain to chosen curricular connections and that are attainable for the
Ex. Unit 1: Exploring Indigenous Science Perspectives (as introduction to topic)
Activity 1.4 Interconnectedness (p. 43)
Lessons: a), e), g), h) ex. Web of life Activity
Unit 6: Salmon and Interconnectedness
Activity 6.1-6.6 (p. 161-172)
3. In Addition:
-Use information on how to involve local First Nation communities including how to prepare for elder
visit and talk (p. 17-20)
-Also use Master sheets for inquiry using the 7 E’s (p. 158)
My chosen resource(s) cover the topics of Environmental Sustainability, Reciprocal
Relationships, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. The grade level that this resource is
applicable to is Grade 11 Environmental Science. It connects to the Big Ideas of ‘Humans can
play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems’ and ‘Human practices affect the
sustainability of ecosystems’. The Content Items that the resource(s) relate to are Human
actions and their impact on ecosystem integrity, First Peoples ways of knowing and doing, and
Resource Stewardship.
The links to the two resources that should be used together are:
1. FNESC Teacher Resource Guide: http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wpcontent/uploads/2019/08/PUBLICATION-SCIENCE-FIRST-PEOPLES-SecondaryTRG-2019.pdf
2. TEDxTalks: Indigenous Knowledge and Ocean Science ’Qátuw̓as Jessica Brown
TEDxBrentwoodCollegeSchool, November 2017: https://youtu.be/0vuZ5Jm67fg
The teacher resource guide that is provided by FNESC can be used by a teacher in a variety
of ways. The guide provides topics for discussion as well as activities that can be done in a class
setting, using both curriculum content items and First Nations perspectives. The activity that I
have chosen from the lesson plan as the main resource is just one of many, so make sure to
explore it in full! The online PDF is linked an interactive to easy use and navigation.
The content that this resource should be used with is regarding relationship to land and how
First Peoples perspectives and knowledge inform sustainable practices. The lesson will use
Activity 1.2: Reciprocal Relationships with the Land from the FNESC teacher guide (Page
40). Part A of this activity requires that students hear a “First Nations story that demonstrates an
understanding of the need for a reciprocal relationship with the land”.
Complete Part A of Activity 1.2 by showing students the TEDxTalks video (use only 00:3003:52 of the video for this activity). Once students have heard the story of the salmon, move onto
Part B of Activity 1.2. Part B offers several valuable questions that students should be able to
answer, or that students are left to think about. Complete Part B via a class discussion. A
discussion would be a great opportunity for teachable moments, where students are reminded
that Indigenous connection to land is about having a reciprocal relationship with it.
After the class discussion, show your students another few minutes of the TedxTalks video
(03:53-6:03). The video will touch more on reciprocal relationships of Indigenous peoples and
the land. The material touched on in the video and in your discussion will be able to help
students complete the last step of Activity 1.2 (Part C section f). This will provide an interactive
activity for students and an assessment tool for yourself. Have students work on their own or in
pairs to create a web or concept map to represent their understandings about Reciprocal
Relationships with the Land. The web/concept map should include what resources the land and
oceans give to people, and ways in which people can return that favour and preserve the natural
resources for years to come.
Multiple Use
The resource used to help incorporate FNMI content into a science lesson is provided by Yukon
Education. The website has a section on “Connecting to Yukon First Nations Ways of Knowing,
Doing and Being.” Within this section, various lesson and unit plans can be found that consider
FNMI ways of knowing and doing into the Yukon/British Columbia curriculum.
Resources Used
• Main Database: http://lss.yukonschools.ca/yukon-first-nations-ways-of-knowing-anddoing-planning-tools.html
• Specific Unit Plan:
Curriculum Connections
Grade 8 Science
Big idea: Life Processes are preformed at the cellular level
Curricular Competencies:
• Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local
knowledge as sources of information
• Express and reflect on a variety of experiences and perspectives of place
Content: Characteristics of life
Grade 9 Science
Big Idea: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as
Curricular Competencies:
• Make observations aimed at identifying their own questions, including increasingly
complex ones, about the natural world
• Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local
knowledge as sources of information
Content: First Peoples knowledge of interconnectedness and sustainability
How to use the Resource
Open the unit plan and read the introduction. From here you can use as much or as little of the
provided resources as you like. Within the document, you will find lessons on earth and climate
change over time, respect for the land and water - salmon and climate change, and resiliency
during climate change. Each lesson looks at the issue from a FNMI lens for example how climate
change is affecting salmon and how that can effect a first nations food supply. It encourages
learners to think about how climate change effects their communities and FNMI communities.
The above document from Kootney Lake school district 8 adapted from “Science First Peoples'
'includes the indigenous content for science curriculum (grade 10-12). The document explains
the curricular competencies and also the topics with examples on how to incorporate indigenous
For example, if we take Chemistry 11
Big Idea: Atoms and molecules are building blocks of matter
Content: Bonds and forces- impact on properties
Example Topic: Mineral Processing and Associated Waste and the Environmental Impacts on
First Nations Communities
We can use a video on mining and how it impacted the first nation communities in Canada
This document is also an excellent source of incorporating Indigenous learning into all subjects
varying from K-10. Pages 89-93 give an outline of topics where we can include Indigenous
content in science 8-10
For example, in grade 9
Big Idea: The electron arrangement of atoms impacts their chemical nature.
Content: element properties as organized in the periodic table
This can be explained by showing a video on medicine wheel
Medicine wheel is explained as how Indigenous people viewed the world. There are 4 circles
which denote 4 states of mind, 4 seasons, 4 stages of life, 4 sacred medicines etc. The main
learning of the medicine wheel is that all aspects of life are interconnected.
Activity: Ask students to attempt the following exploration activity: “Can the periodic table or
parts of the periodic table be put into a circular format or structure as opposed to the grid that
exists now, and can it be analyzed using the medicine wheel?”
Where to find this:
First Nations Education Steering Committee at http://www.fnesc.ca/learningfirstpeoples/, then
Learning First Peoples > Science First Peoples.
About this resource:
This is a First Nations’ written resource intended for secondary science educators. It is a
comprehensive, unappropriated guide to all facets of incorporating Indigenous knowledge
respectfully and holistically. It is designed to be applicable to all the Big Ideas and Learning
Standards in the Grades 10-12 BC Curriculum, and therefore does not contain specific learning
plans, rather a framework that one could format to all the different grades and units of Science
10-12. It is up to the teacher to determine which thematic units are appropriate for the grade
level, content, student and teacher background, and to tailor them appropriately. It also provides
foundational knowledge for how teachers can incorporate Indigenous learning plans, including
how to appropriately involve First Nations communities and design lessons to connect with land.
General Topics: Life cycles, genetics and evolution, biology, ecology, geology, earth sciences,
environmental science, climate change and sustainability, science technology
Please note: This resource is designed for a diverse set of topics in Biology and
Earth/Environmental Sciences for grades 10-12, so I will provide an example of just one
such grade/topic that this resource may be used for. The authors have also included the
related curriculum requirements at the start of each unit for teacher reference.
Earth Sciences 11:
Big Ideas:
• Earth materials are changed as they cycle through the geosphere and are used as resources, with
economic and environmental implications.
• The transfer of energy through the atmosphere creates weather, and this transfer is affected by
climate change.
• The distribution of water has a major influence on weather and climate.
• economic and environmental implications of geologic resources within B.C. and globally
• the hydrologic cycle
• changes in the composition of the atmosphere due to natural and human causes
• weather as the interaction of water, air, and energy transfer
• evidence of climate change
• First Peoples knowledge of climate change and interconnectedness as related to environmental
• water as a unique resource
• First Peoples knowledge and perspectives of water resources and processes
• properties of the ocean and the ocean floor
• influences of large bodies of water on local and global climates
• effects of climate change on water sources
BC-based First Nations resources for teachers
Developed with support from the BC Ministry of Education
All grades and multiple topics in Science and Math (even English)
This resource is not specific to Curriculum Content but relates more towards Curricular
How to use this resource:
This resource is not a ‘plug and play into my lesson’ type of thing
Lots of background information to help educators understand the rationale for this
Detailed PDFs guiding teachers on how to incorporate Indigenous world views into their
Specific lesson ideas as well
Guidance on how to invite members of the local First Nations into the classroom
o Protocols to follow
o What to do before, during and after the visit
Links to YouTube videos and other resources within the documents
Food Spoilage,
Microbiology and
This activity is intended to enhance the Grade 8 Science classroom, however can also be used in
other grades or more specific fields within science. This lesson is meant to enrich units involving
microbiology and disease, especially as it relates to food spoilage.
Curriculum components and big ideas:
Life processes are performed at the cellular level
How do humans and micro-organisms interact?
● living things are made of one or more cells
● the cell is a basic unit of life
● micro-organisms are key to nutrient recycling in ecosystems as they act as decomposers
● viruses and bacteria can cause disease and can also be used in industry (e.g., production
of cheese and salami) and agriculture (e.g., production of striped tulips)
Begin with a discussion of the brilliant ways that BC First Nations overcame the issue of
spoilage by creating a means of food preservation through desiccation.
Start by addressing the nature of the importance of decomposers in an ecosystem. Continue by
explaining how this relates to food spoilage by learning about bacteria. Prepare a slide using a
swab from raw salmon focusing on bacteria present and explain the nature of how raw salmon
will spoil. Next address means of preventing spoilage by adding antibacterial compounds i.e.
salt, or detracting required substances for bacterial growth i.e. water. Explain how the early west
coast First Nations perfected a method for preventing spoilage to make the most out of the
annual salmon runs, a technique so useful (and delicious) it is still practiced to this day!
Activity: As a class try to make smoked salmon using a local recipe, potentially inviting in guests
from local First Nations to talk about the process, tell their stories, or teach.
Monitor the desiccation of the salmon pieces via brining/smoking over the next few classes, and
potentially end the microbiome unit by enjoying the end product!
Other lessons this activity could be used for are: concentration gradients (water moving from
areas of less salinity to greater salinity), the exploration of proteins (discussing the difference
between cooking and drying with respect to molecular shape), as well as carrying capacities of
Recipe from British Columbia Magazine, and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler
The Five (Heavily Abbreviated) Steps
Step one: Acquire fish
Step two: Discorperate fish
Step three: Brine fish (Consider salt water brine for historical accuracy)
Step four: Smoke fish
Step five: Revel in your success
Computer Science
Computer Science 11
Topic: Mathematics
Big Idea: Solving problems is a creative process
Content: Development of algorithms to solve problems in multiple ways
Curricular Competency: Incorporate First Peoples worldviews,
perspectives, knowledge, and practices to make connections with computer
science concepts
This resource can be included during a unit on how coding languages
can be used to make video games, and/or when students start making
video games. The lesson would be discussion based and centered on that
video games as a platform should be inclusive, that we should think about
the western approach to coding languages and game design, that coding
language can be used to further prejudice and discrimination, and that
game design can incorporate indigenous ways of knowing but that we
should be sensitive to cultural appropriation. After the discussion focused
on these themes, the YouTube video of the indigenous game designer
presentation would be played. The presentation connects to the content
that the problem of representation in video games can be solved in multiple
ways through the development of algorithms; the algorithms which forms
video games can address the problems of diversity and inclusion. The
resource also provides examples that indigenous knowledge can be
incorporated into game design and the way we develop algorithms.
Storytelling for the sharing of knowledge and values is important
information transfer component of indigenous culture. This practice of story
telling is incorporated in game design algorithms and coding; drawing this
connection would teach a curricular competency from the BC curriculum.
Earth Science
Big Ideas: Plate tectonic theory explains the consequences of tectonic plate interactions.
Curriculum Connection/Topic:
What determines the type and distribution of volcanoes and earthquakes?
How does the local plate tectonic setting affect the people and geography of a region?
Incorporation of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis content:
First Peoples knowledge of local plate tectonic settings and geologic terrains.
http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PUBLICATION-61496-ScienceFirst-Peoples-2016-Full-F-WEB.pdf (p.141)
The purpose of this assignment is to (1) identify the locations of volcanoes within the province of
British Columbia (2) Identify the location of some First Nations lands on or near the volcanoes
(3) Research what the BC First nations did or may have experienced during a volcano eruption.
- A map of British Columbia will be handed out.
- With the prior knowledge of where volcanoes form, identify where volcanoes are located
in British Columbia.
- After volcanoes are located, locate and outline a few select Fist Nations lands in the
locations of the volcanoes.
- Research the experience of the Local First Nation in relation to volcanic activity.
- Discuss what was discovered.
How can this be used by a teacher?
This assignment can be used to demonstrate identifying locations or potential locations of
volcanoes within the boundaries of British Columbia, as a class discuss why for the locations that
were selected. Tying in BC First Nations, finding out their geographic locations relative to the
volcanoes and discuss what their experience may have been. After research, re-discuss.
Topic: Introduction to plate tectonic theory using Indigenous knowledge of local geologic
Grade Level and Curriculum Connection: there are two potential grade applications
Science 8
Big Idea - The theory of plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains Earth’s geological
Curricular Competency - Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of
knowing, and local knowledge as sources of information
plate tectonic movement
major geological events of local significance
First Peoples knowledge of:
o local geological formations
o significant local geological events
Earth Sciences 11
Big Idea - Plate tectonic theory explains the consequences of tectonic plate interactions.
Curricular Competency - Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of
knowing, and local knowledge as sources of information
• evidence that supports plate tectonic theory
• factors that affect plate motion
• First Peoples knowledge of local plate tectonic settings and geologic terrains
Resource Link: https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/great-quake-and-greatdrowning/
Resource Description:
The attached link connects to an online site for Hakai Magazine, which presents issues related
to coastal science and society. This specific link is for a written article and spoken word podcast
that relates how indigenous oral and artistic history has been used by the earth science
community to develop an understanding of the geologic stability and seismic activity along the
Cascadia Subduction Zone.
Some indigenous stories actually have recorded the earthquake of early January in 1700 and
have now been tied into tsunami accounts from Japan and field evidence of flooded west coast
This is an important resource to open discussion about contributions from indigenous oral and
artistic history as part of the local knowledge network as well as an excellent introduction to
the potential impacts from earthquakes and tsunamis along the west coast.
Other Information:
If I were planning a lesson using this, I might play the podcast (20 min length) at the start of
class while showing a powerpoint with more general slides showing the world wide location of
the different plates, main spreading zones and subduction zones then perhaps images of known
local accounts of indigenous record for earthquakes and/or tsunamis, the Cascadia Fault Zone
in plan view and as a cross-sectional depiction.
There is another shorter video that I would show after some discussion and/or group activity
work that goes into more technical explanation about this including examples of ghost forests
found along the west coast. I like how the indigenous stories would then tie in with actual
geological field evidence.
The BC Museum of Anthropology has an online exhibit that presents indigenous stories about
earthquakes and the artwork that has been inspired by these stories. This might form the basis
for a group activity.
Additional resources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wWnWtFQpNE (Ghost forests and better technical
explanation of earthquakes link)
https://moa.ubc.ca/exhibition/shake-up/ (Museum of Anthropology link)
The Great Quake and the Great Drowning, an article written by Ann Finkbeiner
This article is about the earthquake and tsunami of 1700. The author combines Indigenous oral
histories from many coastal nations that were affected by this natural disaster with modern
geological evidence and puts them in conversation with each other. There are many great
resources, visuals, and lesson options within this article and so many directions and applications
to take.
Topic: Earthquakes, tsunamis, oral storytelling, physical records
Find it: naikoonpark.com
Curricular Connections: Wind, water, and ice change the shape of the land; demonstrate
curiosity about the natural world; make observations about living and non-living things in the
local environment; major local landforms; local First Peoples knowledge of local landforms;
observable changes in the local environment caused by erosion and deposition by wind, water,
and ice
How to use this resource:
This can be used as a “virtual field trip” following lessons about the effects of erosion,
glacial activity, ecology, and local First Peoples knowledge of the environment.
The site provides an in depth tour of Naikoon Provincial Park in Haida Gwaii with a built
in scavenger hunt (buttons throughout with Indigenous origin stories, Haida language,
important cultural stories, and points of interest)
Stops along the virtual tour have easy to understand language explaining erosion effects
on land, formation of land, ecology, and cultural stories
The “virtual field trip” could include displaying the site on a projector and having the
students following along while the class navigates through the park, looking for
scavenger hunt buttons to reveal information.
Looking at the two maps provided beforehand will give students a sense of the land shape
as they move through the “stops” in the park
At each stop, the teacher could show/explain geomorphological explanation/charts as
well as show the Indigenous story videos
Could be used as a teaching tool for how Indigenous stories complement
geomorphological stories
The videos are a great visual with Haida language spoken and English subtitles to explain
traditional origin stories
Many cross-curricular opportunities (Social Studies—showing longhouses, colonial
settler history, Haida culture; Language Arts opportunities—reading, oral stories, etc.)
This is a powerful learning tool to engage students in local geography, history, and
culture as it provides visual aids at each point of the virtual tour
Find it:
Description: Qaumajuq is the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit artworks.
The permanent centre was recently launched at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. There is a 3-storey
exhibition of stone carvings. The WAG produced an informative, and educational video that
brings insight into stone carvings and earthly matters.
In the classroom: Introduce the topic of rocks, stones, and gems. Discuss the local and non-local
types of rocks and stones we have in Canada. Introduce the types of earthly materials used by
First Nations people and investigate how they used them in their various cycle states as tools for
ever day life and art making. Provide examples of rocks or go on a nature walk and find some!
Talk about the texture of these pieces. Use rocks to imprint or carve into model magic. Using
rocks and stones as a tool for creation, and art as a vehicle for learning!
Watch the video on Quamajuq and discuss with your class what sculptures, and stories stood out
to them.
You may be inclined to hand out soap bars and carve some together!
Grade 7 – Science
Big idea: Earth and its climate have changed over geological time.
Experience and interpret the local environment.
Apply First Peoples’ perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local
knowledge as sources of information.
Express and reflect on a variety of experiences and perspectives of place.
Content: Evidence of climate change over geological time (physical records).
Grade 8 -- Science
Big idea: The theory of plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains Earth’s geological
Experience and interpret the local environment.
Apply First Peoples’ perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge
as sources of information
Use scientific understandings to identify relationships and draw conclusions
Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of evidence (qualitative and
Express and reflect on a variety of experiences connected to place.
Plate tectonic movement
Layers of Earth
Major geological events of local significance
First Peoples’ knowledge of significant local geological events.
This resource is a lesson (for an hour-long class period) or major chunk of a unit (that could be
separated into three categories (plate tectonics, paleoseismology, Indigenous stories of geological
events), with a little more elaboration on certain topics. It is a powerpoint presentation, including
speaker notes that help guide the teacher through the presentation and offer some suggestions for
variations. Sources are provided on the pertinent slides, and on the last slide titled “Additional
resources referenced.” Curricular connections are also provided on final slides. Of course these
last slides are for the teacher and not meant to be shown to the class.
Anyone with this link should be able to access the Google Slide presentation as a ‘viewer’:
Where can this source be found: This unit is part of a larger text titled “Science First Peoples,
Teacher Resource Guide”
PUBLICATION-61496-Science-First-Peoples-2016-Full-F-WEB.pdf (fnesc.ca)
Learning Objectives
I can see that important records of major geologic events over long periods of time have been
passed down by First Peoples through their oral histories
I can understand that knowledge contained in oral histories about geologic events assist scientists
in their understandings of geologic events, such as those, which are the result of plate tectonics
Talk about how the landscape of British Columbia was formed (tectonics, volcanism, glaciation
and erosion) and the history of these forces- i.e. the Nisga’a valley volcano and the Juan de Fuca
First Peoples connections
Talk about how first peoples have been witness to many of these geologic events
Talk about the mega thrust earthquake of 1700
Talk about Haida Gwaii earthquake in 2012 and how First Nations marked this event by
including it on the Gwai Hannas Legacy Pole
Local Shaking and Flooding
- Have students work together to create a class display about significant local geological events
- Discuss with students how they will collect the data- library resources
- Have them look where the closest volcano is
- Have them research other geologic events, including landslides, flooding and tsunamis
- Have students determine fi there is any observable evidence of local geological events. If
possible, have them document the evidence with photographs or video
- Ask students to find out if there are any First nations connections with these events. Were there
any witnesses? Are these events mentioned in any traditional stories or other cultural aspects?
- Map the information about local geological events. You may want to do one big class map or
have students work in groups.
Grade Level: Life Sciences 11
Big Idea: Organisms are grouped based on common characteristics.
- First Peoples understandings of interrelationships between organisms
- taxonomic principles for classifying organisms
- binomial nomenclature
- First Peoples knowledge on classification
Link to Resource:
- Turner, Nancy J. Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and
Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America. Vol.
74.;74;, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, 2014. (Found on VIU Library
Description of Resource:
Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge is made up of two volumes that together
comprise the bulk of Nancy Turner’s research into ethnobotanical use of plants by
Indigenous communities in British Columbia. Turner studies ethnography (the scientific
study of the customs of individual peoples and cultures) and botany (the scientific study
of plants) with a particular focus on linguistics. She pairs these two scientific based
knowledge sets with longform interviews of elders and other members of her research
communities. Through this pairing, Turner produces one of the most comprehensive
documented sets of data around Indigenous plant use, plant names and plant
relationships in British Columbia. While this resource does not inherently come from an
Indigenous author, Turner’s use of interviews, direct quotes and long standing
relationships with individuals enables the reader to hear the voice of those Indigenous
knowledge keepers.
Use of Resource:
This resource can be used by teachers in Life Sciences 11 to discuss how taxonomic
classification systems and binomial nomenclature can discriminate against certain ways
of ‘knowing’ a plant. Turner organizes her interviews with elders into groups and
highlights/compares the naming systems between differing communities. She codifies
her findings into tables, figures, maps etc. and arranges these findings into a protoalternative classification system contrasting that of the Linnean organization of
taxonomies. In part, the research studies how the name of a species of plant/algae by
Indigenous communities in BC can reveal a finer grained history and knowledge about
the plant than its counterpart in binomial nomenclature. In a classroom a teacher could
present two examples of this. The first example examines how the naming and
identification of highbush cranberries, Viburnum trilobum var. edule, reveals a plant’s
identification relationship to related plants (ex. tri - three, lobum - lobes = three lobes on
its leaf, edule = edible), but excludes how the use of the Halkomelem name(s):
skw'ilmuxw not only provides identification information but can indicate native range,
history of trade and growing conditions (skw'ilmuxw is used by multiple communities
despite breaking local language structures). A second example; Ditidaht name for sword
fern (Polystichum munitum); palla-palla can indicate not only identification, but
additionally reveals the communities relationship with the plant (palla palla was a
breathing/training exercise). While broad, her work stands, in part, as a critique of the
western scientific naming system, and presents alternative names and naming systems
used by Indigenous communities. These alternative systems can encourage students to
recognize the discriminatory inequalities that exist within scientific thought. Binomial
nomenclature only recognizes a classification system that relies on one way of
‘knowing’ a plant; ie. how it is distinct from other related plants. Furthermore, it also
rewards ownership and authorship to the ‘discoverer,’ whereby latin and even common
names are often based on their ‘discoverer’ counterparts (ex. Arbutus menziesii and
Quercus garryana).
Subject and grade: Life Sciences 11
Big Idea: Organisms are grouped based on common characteristics
Curricular competency: Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of
knowing and local knowledge as sources of information
Content: First Peoples knowledge on classification
Link to the resource: http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/PUBLICATIONSCIENCE-FIRST-PEOPLES-Secondary-TRG-2019.pdf (pages 13, and 35-53).
How I would use this resource with a class:
Traditional Ecological Knowledge:
• Start by asking students the question: “What does a person need to know to survive in the
modern world?” (students will work in small groups to answer this question, then share
with the rest of the class)
o Have students classify their responses to these questions (e.g. what you need to
know to work, to raise a family, to acquire basic needs)
• Ask students the second question: “How would you survive if the power went off for
good?” (then have them share)
• Ask students the third question: “In the past, how did First Peoples live on their territories
from one generation to the next?”
o What types of things would the people living on the local lands need to know to
sustain life for thousands of years?
Have a conversation with students about why living sustainably on their land was
important for First Peoples’ survival
Introduce the term “Traditional Ecological Knowledge” and what it means (in simple terms,
it is First Peoples local knowledge about the natural world in their environment)
Classification: Animals
• Show students a picture of a group of different types of animals (i.e. deer, snake, rabbit,
frog, etc.…)
• In a think-pair-share format, ask the students to group the animals on the board
• Ask students to answer the question: “what characteristics did you use to group these
• Have students share some of their groupings/reasons
• After pairs of students have shared, introduce students to First Peoples knowledge on
o They classify animals based on use (e.g. traditional clothing, food, hunting
o They classify plants based on use (e.g. food, medicine)
Have students get back into the same pairs and re-group the animals using First Peoples
knowledge on classification
Again, have students answer the question: “what First Peoples knowledge on
classification did you use to group these organisms?”
o Students may use chromebooks to research information about the animals that
will help them form groups using First Peoples knowledge
Classification: Plants
• In pairs, have students visit the following website: http://www.sfu.ca/halkethnobiology/html/main.htm
• From the plant index on this website, classify and 10 plants based on use (First Peoples
o State what characteristics you used to group these plants
o State the use of every plant
Topic/Grade: Environmental Sciences 11
Curriculum connections:
Big Ideas:
How to use this resource:
This is planned as a 2 or 3 part lesson (depending on how long the project aspect takes). First lesson is
‘land based learning’ and will involve taking the students out to a local forest. Here they will identify
native plant species, there are a couple of apps that can be used to help identify plant species such as
Picture This. The 2nd and 3rd lesson (if required) will be choosing 4 native species and providing
information about the species’ they have chosen as per the rubric provided. This can either be
presented as a poster or as a document.
Other information:
This project is a resource attained through a current SD68 science teacher but has been modified
slightly. The rubric and examples are attached but do not exist in this exact form anywhere else.
Native Species project:
This is a 2-part lesson. We will spend the first lesson visiting one of our local forests. We will identify
different native species and you can take pictures to use in your project.
In the second class, choose 4 species that are native (indigenous) to our local forest. You can choose
other native plant species to our local area but please check with me to ensure they are native and not
introduced. You need to include the following for your project:
• Title/Name
• Common Name
• Genus and Species
• Hul'q'umi'num name
• Location of Plant Species
• Detailed Description of the Plant
• Photograph of actual Plant
• Traditional Uses of Plant
• Ecological importance
• Fun Facts or Story
• Overall Appearance
Common Name: Pacific Dogwood
Genus and Species: Cornus nuttallii
Hul’q’umi’num: kwit-x’ulp
Location: It grows on the southern coast and on Vancouver Island south of Port Hardy. Pacific dogwood
grows best on deep, coarse, well-drained soils, often underneath Douglas-fir, grand fir, and western
Description: Is classified as a deciduous shrub or tree growing anywhere from 3m-20m tall. The leaves
are oval shaped with smooth edges and are pointed. The tree flowers in late spring and produces a deep
red berry.
Food: The berries have a bitter taste and are harvested in late summer-autumn. Aboriginals would eat
them fresh or smash them with saskatoon berries to mask their bitter taste.
Medicine: The bark was used to make a tea to treat digestive disorders. The inner barks contain an
analgesic and was used as a painkiller.
Other Uses: The inner bark was also dried and smoked, and it was said to have a narcotic effect. It was
often mixed with dried tobacco leaves and used in ceremonies.
Ecological importance: The fruit is part of the diet of pigeons, quail, grosbeaks, hermit thrushes, and
waxwings. Bears and beavers enjoy the fruit and foliage, and deer eat the twigs.
Common Name: Garry Oak
Genus and Species: Quercus garryana
Hul’q’umi’num: p’hw’ulhp
Description: The Gary oak is a deciduous, broadleaf hardwood flowering tree. It is classified as
monoecious; Latin for one house, meaning it contains both male and female flowers on the same tree.
The fruit produced is a 1-seeded nut (acorn) around 1.5 -3cm in diameter.
Food: The acorns have a very high concentration of tannins making them very bitter. Coast Salish people
of BC would steam, boil, or roast the acorns to remove most of the tannins. The acorns were eaten as a
snack or ground into a meal.
Medicine: Oak bark teas are used to treat a variety of ailments such as inflamed gums, sore throat,
burns, cuts, scrapes, insect bites and rashes. Oak bark is high in tannins and quercin and was also used
as one of the ingredients in “4 barks” medicine to treat tuberculosis.
Other Uses: The wood was used to make digging sticks, weaving tools, bows and arrows, baby cradles
and combs.
Ecological Risk: The Gary Oak ecosystem is one most at risk in Canada, it has only 1% remaining from it’s
original population. The intake Gary Oak ecosystem is home to many native species that have important
traditional aboriginal purposes. Major threats to this environment include Urban development and
invasive species.
Common Name: Big Leaf Maple
Genus and Species: Acer macrophyllum
Hul’q’umi’num: q’umun’ulhp
Description: Deciduous large multi-branched tree that can grow up to 35 m tall. The leaves have 5 lobes
and are a vibrant green that turns yellow in autumn. The flowers are in clusters hanging on short stalks.
The Maples carry many moss species on it bark and on the more mature maples you can find the
epiphytic licorice fern growing.
Food: The big leaf maple flowers are harvested in the early spring and used as a food source by many
First Nations. The leaves are used to flavor pit cooks and dried and used as a spice for meats.
Medicine: The bark was infused in teas to treat tuberculosis and other ailments. The leaves were rubbed
on young mens face’s around puberty to prevent facial hair growth.
Other Uses: The wood once dried is used to make paddles, arrows, spear handles, and oars.
Common Name: Flowering Red Current
Genus and Species: Ribes sanguineum
Hul’q’umi’num: sqwuliius
Description: 1-3m tall flowering shrub. Has reddish brown bark and the leaves have 5 curved lobes. The
flowers vary from pale pink to deep red and located in at the end of the stem in drooping clusters. The
berries are a dark blue with glandular hairs.
Food: Berries are harvested in mid summer and are dried or used fresh. They are a traditional feast
food and used with other dried berries in cakes. They were consumed with grease or oil to prevent
stomach cramps.
Medicine: Bark tea was used to make a tea to treat colds and flu. The Cowichan people believe all parts
of this plant are sacred.
Other Uses: The wood once dried is used to make paddles, arrows, spear handles, and oars.
Topic: Botany
Grade Level: 5-9
Resources: FNESC resource: http://www.fnesc.ca/science-first-peoples/
List of local plants: https://www.inaturalist.org/places/powell-river#taxon=47126
Description of Resource:
FNESC: This resource includes an entire unit on local plants and the connection to place that
they establish. In this unit students explore First Peoples’ traditional knowledge about plants in
the local community. This unit package has everything for a complete unit to be done
successfully including suggested activities along with accompanying resources, assessments,
links to the curriculum and an introduction. Students will complete activities that include
exploring their local environment and observing local plants in their habitat, listening to
(preferably local First Nations individuals) examples of local plants and how they are used for
medicine and foods and involving them in enjoying the food or tea that can be made from those
plants. We could also use phones or Ipads if available and use an app to identify plants that we
don’t recognize. Brainstorming and inquiry about the plants and habitats as well as many other
resources are included. Depending on the class I would choose different activities, there are a ton
of suggestions so I would tailor the unit to best fit my students needs and interests.
List of local plants: these are two helpful resources that can be used in combination to identify
plants in the local community and then students can identify if these plants are okay to eat/drink
and how they can be enjoyed or if they are not to be consumed.
Link: http://www.sfu.ca/halk-ethnobiology/html/main.htm
Big ideas: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems.
Curricular competencies: Demonstrate curiosity about the natural world, Make observations
about living and non-living things in the local environment, Identify First Peoples perspectives
and knowledge as sources of information.
Content: biodiversity in the local environment, the knowledge of local First
Peoples of ecosystems, energy is needed for life.
This resource is perfect for exploring a variety of plants and animals. Not only does it tell us the
names of these animals but in most cases also gives the names in Halkomelem as well. Each
species also has descriptions of the uses in the Halkomelem cultures. As a teacher I believe we
can use this website to help students to learn about local plants and animals. With all the
Halkomelem information that is on this website we can help students to relate these plants and
animals to first nation culture. On top of first nation culture the website also gives description,
habitats, ecology and distribution of the each species.
Resource Link:
Interconnectedness of humans, plants, and the environment
How does the understanding that all things are related impact the way that First Peoples
traditionally use plants?
First People’s knowledge of sustainable practices
What are some examples of ways that First Peoples traditionally make sure plants are used in
sustainable ways?
How can we apply First People's understandings of sustainable use of the plants to our care of
the environment today?
Grade Level: 5
Big Ideas:
Multicellular organisms have organ systems that enable them to survive and interact with their
Questioning and predicting
Planning and conducting
Processing and analyzing data and information
Applying and Innovating
-First peoples’ concepts of interconnectedness in the environment
-First Peoples’ knowledge of sustainable practices
-Local types of earth materials
-The nature of sustainable practices around BC’S resources
Description of how resource can be used by a teacher:
This Unit Resource can be used by a teacher to help students explore the idea of place as it
relates to First Peoples’ traditional knowledge about plants. The topic of traditional knowledge of
plant resources provides an excellent opportunity for students to conduct a plant based inquiry
sparked by their own curiosity.
There are 8 different activities outlined in this unit which are:
Sharing Plants and Place
Plants Used by First Peoples Inquiry
Bitterroot: A Plants and Place Example
Plants as Indicators
Plants in Technology
Finding Examples of Traditional Scientific Knowledge
Local Plants for Tea
Brewing and Blending Tea
7. Local Plants for Tea:
Invite an Elder or knowledge keeper to share their knowledge about local plants that can
be used for making tea
Provide resources for students about local plants used by First Peoples
Go on a field trip with students (nature walk) and collect leaves and fruits from native
plants that are suitable for making tea
Ensure students are harvesting plants sustainably and respectfully
8. Brewing and Blending Tea:
Discuss with students how to prepare tea
Evaluate teas- have students work in groups and prepare samples of each teas
Students can carry out chemical tests of tea (pH, vitamin c, and sulfite)
Have students record data, create lab reports for tea and evaluate each of their teas
Have students create their very own tea blends
*Solutions and mixtures activity- is tea a solution or mixture? Ask students to work in groups to
prove if tea is a solution or mixture.
Plants as
Where can you find this? https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/indigenousmedicinal-walk-1.4235900
Description: This is a website and video showing how this indigenous group uses
some plants for medical use. They talk about the extraction of the medicine within
these plants and the medicinal use of each plant. The plants they mention are the:
Trembling aspen, Cattails, stinging nettles, Plantains, Yarrow, Creeping juniper,
Pineapple weed, Manitoba Maple, Hawthorn, Female Sage, Fleabane, Rose hips,
and Liche. All these plants are the plants this Indigenous group uses as medicine or
specific things within their culture to use or protect themselves.
Use in the classroom: One way to incorporate this in the classroom is to go on a
nature walk and identify all the plants you see. Once you have returned from your
walk talk about the plants you have seen and watch this video. See if the students
had made connections between any of the plants they saw on the walk and the
video. This can open discussion about Indigenous medicine and how there are
many different medicinal uses for plants. You may choose to go on a walk again to
see each plant but try not to disturb the plants unless used for their intended
purposes. That is just one way to be able to use this in a classroom but there are
many more, like using it to study plants or this could be the start of an inquiry on
medicinal plants from the Indigenous territory they live on.
Link: https://www.sacredrelationship.ca/videos/.
This website offers science educational videos from the First Peoples perspective. The videos
are short under 10 minutes. The videos are accompanied by lesson plans however creating a user
name and password is required.
Muskeg Tea
kâkikêpakwa means “forever leaves” in Cree. kâkikêpakwa plants grow in areas where there is
plenty of water and muskeg. The plant usually has a stem which can grow as high as 35
centimeters. The leaves are narrow and grow as much as five to seven centimeters in length. The
leaves can survive in any season. This is the reason why they are called “Forever Plants” in Cree.
They can be collected in all seasons, including winter.
These plants are used for medicinal purposes.
-treating coughs and cold
-eye infections
-treats fever
- diarrhea
- pain reliever
- cancer
-reduces headaches
The muskeg plants are collected, then tied and bound together in bundles. They are usually
stored like this until they are needed for applications. The leaves are boiled in a large container
for some time. As they boil, they give off a bitter odour and the water darkens.
In groups one student is going to carry out the activity as others observe. The student is going to
crush (to release the essential oils) the dried leaves. Add 4 cups of boiling water.
-After conducting the experiment the students are going to fill out an observation sheet and list
all the steps in order.
-In small groups they are going to discuss and answer the following questions.
• What extraction method was used to separate the medicinal properties from the muskeg
• The First Nation’s people use this extraction method for medicinal purposes. What
medicinal purposes does this tea have? List 3.
-The students are going to write their answers on a poster and then one student from each
group is going to report back to the class and discuss their findings.
Grade- Life Sciences 11
Big Ideas- Life is a result of interactions at the molecular and cellular levels.
-Organisms are grouped based on common characteristics.
Curricular Content- First People’s knowledge of classification: including indigenous teaching
classification of plants, based on use, such as food and medicine.
-First Peoples understandings of interrelationships between organisms.
Hook Resource: holistic healing in nature video:
The link to the Medicinal Plants Page.
These complimentary resources provide an indigenous adoption of wellness and the benefits of
nature, co-existing wit the scientific characteristics of plants. As a teacher, providing this
perspective highlights the interconnection of all life and the power that we can use from Mother
earth. A way of thinking, feeling, and being from the First People’s lens.
For this lesson, I would start off by introducing the indigenous video as a hook; the video
discusses holistic healing from nature. The belief introduced in this video is that forestry is a
pharmacy, plants hold power, and the idea of re-visiting the hunter-gatherer way of living. Then
the main resource would be the link to the medicinal plants page. This resource would be a
reference for plant identification and the medicinal healing plants possess (pictures and text).
Additionally, this resource outlines in depth detail of various plants located on the coast:
bedstraw, bleeding heart, devils club, stinging nettle, dandelion, etc. I would first walk my class
through one plant of choice, looking at the description and use of the plant. Then I would have
the class spend some time getting familiar with the webpage; information of various plants.
Later, I would encourage the class to go outside and identify/classify plants local to Vancouver
Island and coastal climates, for the intent of medicinal benefits. Keeping in mind the indigenous
wellness wheel and components of health (mental, emotional, spiritual, physical). As well, the
power of plants and bathing in nature! They can document their findings by taking picture,
drawing, or gathering (when asking permission from nature). I would get them to group and
classify the plants afterwards, check their findings to the website, followed by a discussion.
SD 73 website
Plants as medicine
Small groups, each get a section of the site.
There is a whole page of different herbs and their effects as medicine and another page on
plants in medicine “the medicine chest”
Using both sections the groups will find 3 herbs and one medicine from the site and what
each plant does/ what herbs are in the medicine.
Have them draw on a sheet of paper and make a mini poster for their group. (displaying
each of the three herbs and their medicine)
You can then build off of it and ask them to look into their medicine chest at home( be
very careful about how you ask them) and to find some type of medicine and see what
herbs it would have in it/ is it made from natural things.
Within the group they will pick one medicine they found at home and add it to their
poster as well.
Bringing it back to the class you would have each group do a presentation on the three
herbs they found, the medicine they researched and one o the medicines they found at
home using their poster as evidence
If you would like to expand further you could add a nature walk to gather things or do a
tea brewing lesson using natural herbs (mint, ginger, thistle, etc)
Indigenous Peoples’ Medicine in Canada
Resource goes over the use of medicinal plants and how they have been a part of people’s
healing traditions worldwide, probably from humans’ earliest beginnings. This resource also
describes how Indigenous peoples in Canada and elsewhere in the world, the line between food
and medicine is blurred. There is a notable overlap between plant species that are edible and
those with recognized medicinal qualities. Many items found in nature are mentioned along with
their healing properties and what they are typically used for.
In previous lesson explain how BC first nations used common things within their local
environment to help everyday life.
Have handout prepared with local plants, trees, and berries found in area of walk
(If possible, school districts have an elder who can join on walk and explain environment and its
surroundings more in depth) With handout probably easier if students are in small groups.
Have students find living things that have medical attributes.
Students can draw their findings or check them off on checklist, possibly like a scavenger hunt
Return to class and go over findings
Big Idea
All living things sense and respond to their environment.
Curricular Competencies
Demonstrate curiosity about the natural world
Experience and interpret the local environment
Identify First Peoples perspectives and knowledge as sources of information
the effect of temperature on particle movement
local First Peoples perspectives
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Northwest by J. Duane Sept (Book)
Find it online: https://www.strongnations.com/store/item_display.php?i=5519&f=2776
Additional Resource: Bridging the gap between modern and ancient medicines | Cease Wyss
Key Points in Video:
-Speaker: Cease Wyss (also known as the “The Indigenous Plant Diva”)
-Works as an ethnobotanist with traditional training by Indigenous elders.
-Strong ancestral knowledge of traditional plant-based medicines, encouraging responsibility
towards education and preservation for future ancestors
-Overview of some medicinal plants and their uses e.g. tea
Possible Uses for this Resource/s
Activity #1
Use video to introduce the health benefits of local, medicinal plants. The “hook” of the mini unit.
1. Engage in a class discussion about some of the plants discussed in the book (Stinging nettle,
dandelion root, cedar, salmonberry leaves, mullein e.g.)
2. After learning about some the health benefits of these plants, students will pick a British
Columbia plant from the book that has medicinal properties to do a research assignment on.
Provide research questions to guide students. Co-construct these questions with students, then
revise/ add what is needed. Examples of questions could include:
- Where can you find this plant?
- Harvesting (what is the best time of year to pick it?)
- Beneficial properties
- Possible preparations (e.g. how can you make tea with this plant?)
- Warnings (what are some things to be careful of when using this plant?)
Activity #2
1) Review practices and local plants that are suitable for traditional tea making in the book. Make a
class list of the different plants that could be used.
2) Go on a “nature walk”
→ At the right time of year, take a field trip to record and collect leaves, fruits, and bark from
native plants in your area that are suitable for making tea. Make sure students pick plants
sustainably, and make sure the class is aware of any protocols or safety measures of harvesting
the land before the nature walk. It would be a good idea to bring along an elder or another expert
on harvesting plants from the land. Bring the book as an additional resource to guide you.
Extended Activity #3 (if students collected plants)
Tea Brewing Activity
This is an opportunity to make teas from local plants. If resources are not available in your local
region, the teacher can go buy some ingredients as well. Have them investigate a variety of teas
through research and select one to create their own kind of tea. Students can use their plant they
researched in activity #1 as part of their tea blend, if it’s available!
Considerations e.g. discuss with students how the plants will be prepared
Can the fresh leaves or other parts be used?
Does it need to be dried?
What ingredients would work well together?
What health benefits are you interested in that we’ve learned about? (Consider the book)
Topic: Ecology
Resources: Video- Indigenous Plant Healing- Island Health Magazine
Identification Cards- Pacific Northwest Plant Knowledge Cards
(available for purchase at https://www.strongnations.com/store/item_display.php?i=7484)
Activity: Plant Identification and Traditional Uses
Show the video as an introduction to the topic of Indigenous medicine walks and introduce the
Have a small discussion before going out on walk about respecting the plants, animals and
ecosystem of the forest (i.e. leave no trace) as well as personal safety (stick with your buddy,
don’t touch anything unless an adult has deemed it safe)
Kids pair up and bring their journals and pencils outside with them. They are given a time period
(20-30 minutes) to draw different plants, trees, shrubs, etc. from the forest into their journals as
detailed as they can. The majority of kindergarten students can’t write, so drawing pictures are
the best way for them to record their observations.
Once back in class, use the plant identification cards to identify what the students drew and
observed while outside. Have each pair of students share one thing they drew and in addition to
showing the drawing, ask them to describe the plant in detail (approx. size, colour, structure).
The students will then try to match the plant to the card like an identification scavenger hunt.
You could also narrow down the card into 3-4 possibilities.
Read out the indigenous uses for the plant. The students who drew those plants can use markings
on their journal page to identify its use (medicine, food). Ask students to elaborate. For example,
if a plant is used for digestion, ask the students to give examples of when you may want to use
that plant.
Alternatively, you could bring the plant identification cards into the forest and directly teach the
indigenous uses and identification from there instead of having the added step of an observation
journal. You could also hold up a card and ask the students to find that plant. However, first
ensure the plant is present in the area so you don’t send them on a wild goose chase.
*While this could be a one-time activity, it could also be a weekly or bi-monthly activity.
Additionally, kids could bring their journals home or when they go camping and bring back what
they observed in their area and as a class, the kids can work to identify it.
*Another beneficial thing would to bring in an elder from the community as a guest to
give a more personal element to plant identification and traditional uses. If possible, we could
even harvest and prepare the plant in the traditional way (only if this is acceptable).
Clam Gardens
Grade Level
Grade 11 and 12 Environmental Science
Big Ideas
1) Humans can play a role in stewardship and restoration of ecosystems.
2) Complex roles and relationships contribute to a diversity of ecosystems
3) Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
4) Living sustainably supports the well-being of self, community, and Earth
1) Land management
2) Personal choices and sustainable living
3) First Peoples knowledge and other traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in sustaining
4) First Peoples ways of knowing and doing
5) Resource stewardship
About this Resource
Clam gardens are an excellent example of the reciprocal relationship First Nations on the coast
share with an important resource - shellfish. Clam gardens are human-modified beaches that are
constructed to increase valuable habitat for clams and other economically- and culturallysignificant marine organisms. The website, clamgarden.com, is a comprehensive tool that can be
used to explore the history and current management/restoration of clam gardens by Peoples on
the west coast of Turtle Island. Clam gardens are an example of resource stewardship, TEK, and
land management and could be easily integrated into class lessons using the variety of resources
provided under the ‘Media and Education’ tab. Resources include videos, scientific literature,
media coverage, blogs, and links to other websites. As teachers, it is invaluable to have access to
a variety of relevant resources on a topic at our fingertips and this website does a great job of
including all you need to feel confident teaching about clam gardens appropriately, with
knowledge coming directly from those who steward the land. Additionally, there is a link to
contact a member of The Clam Garden Network for educators to book an expert to deliver a
presentation on clam gardens to the class (this would be so cool!!).
An example of use in the classroom:
Following an introduction to the topic and to the site, students are placed into groups and
assigned one of the topics under the tab ‘Clam Gardens’. The students would spend some time
(~15 minutes) exploring their topic (cultural importance, clam garden ecology, constructing clam
gardens…) and be asked to come up with three topics of interest from their section. The class
comes back together and alternate sharing what they learned and/or found interesting about their
assigned section. A group discussion may follow.
This resource offers a wonderful opportunity for students to spring board into a study of their
local environment and understand better the relationship we have with the land and other
creatures. It would be a great way to getup of the classroom and go to the site of a clam garden
and learn about it alongside First Nations Elders and Knowledge Keepers. Research can be done
about butter clams as well as other local marine life. Students can also learn about biomes,
explore and research other potential clam garden sites.
Resource location: https://clamgarden.com/
First Nations along the BC coast traditionally modified and cultivated the intertidal environment into
‘clam gardens’. These structures managed for abundance by increasing clam production as a reliable and
important food source. The Clam Garden Network is a collaborative network of scientists and First
Nations working together to better understand the impact of these gardens, including how they improve
intertidal biodiversity. This resource contains jump off points for video links and information on clam
gardens and related research projects, including a contemporary eco-cultural restoration project in Gulf
Islands National Park Reserve.
In the Classroom
Science First Peoples (FNESC 2016) suggests clam gardens as a topic within a unit study of Traditional
Ecological Knowledge. Additional information for the overarching unit study is provided in Science First
Peoples, as well as further cross-curricular links and further resources to explore clam gardens. Extending
learning could involve some basic clam biology (body structures, how they eat, etc) and the types of
clams we would find in the local area. Learning can easily extend outside by exploring local beaches for
evidence of bivalves and other creatures (shells, holes, etc), as well as for clam beach habitat
Further resources
Science First Peoples (FNESC 2016): Unit plan begins - page 27; curriculum links - pages 30-33;
clam garden information - pages 45-46
● Book: The New Beachcomber’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest (2019), by J. Duane Sept
● Clam biology - Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Resource Topics: The topic of the lesson I took out of this resource is ecology. However, this
resource also covers physics, biology, geology, and oceanography.
Resource Location: http://www.fnesc.ca/science-first-peoples/
How the resource can be used as a teacher: This resource can be directly used by a teacher. It
gives detailed lesson plans, worksheets, and information on additional resources. It gives
suggested topics and inquiry questions and connects the learning standards to the BC curriculum
for grades 5-9 at the beginning of each unit. There is a total of 8 units. On pages 18-19 there is a
rubric illustrating a framework for designing Indigenous science resources. This will guide
teachers if they want to expand on the lessons presented in this resource. Here is the lesson I took
out of the resource to provide you with an example of what I mean.
Clam Garden Lesson: Clam Gardens are an example of traditional ecological knowledge
Systems. Ask students to read the article “Clam Gardens,” on Blackline Master 1-2 to find
examples of Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Then view the video Mysteries of Ancient Clam
Gardens. Here is the link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIGn4yd15_I). As a formative
assessment activity, students can illustrate a clam garden, or build a model or diorama of a beach
with a clam garden. They should label or be able to explain orally ways that the clam garden
illustrates Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Then compare Indigenous Knowledge and
Western Science. It is only very recently (since around 2006) that clam gardens were widely
noticed or understood by the scientific world or the public. Students will consider why such a
significant resource management technology was virtually unknown by science for so long.
You will notice that the resource references “Blackline Master 1-2”. You will find these at the
end of each unit. They are the articles, worksheets, and research questions the students will need
to complete the lessons in each unit. On page 215 there is a Bibliography that provides
background resources for teachers.
I cannot express enough about how detailed, yet easy to use this resource is. There are
assessment strategies at the end of each unit and there are cross-curricular links provided at the
beginning of each unit. There is also a similar resource for secondary science which is laid out
similarly. Here is the link for that resource: http://www.fnesc.ca/sciencetrg/.
Where to find: http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PUBLICATION61496-Science-First-Peoples-2016-Full-F-WEB.pdf
Unit Idea: Ancient Clam Gardens on p.45 of document
Topic areas that would be covered: Habitat, ecosystems, resource management, First People’s
knowledge of local landforms
Big Ideas: Multicellular organisms have organ systems that enable them to survive and interact
within their environment
Ancient Clam Gardens were only really understood by the science community as being an
effective way of producing clams as of 2006, even though the First Peoples of coastal British
Columbia have been using them for at least 5000 years. They are an example of a
TEK(Traditional Ecological Knowledge) system which means that it can give us much more
information than we would get from western scientific methods as there are so many more years
of data to learn from. Teaching this subject is an interesting way of showing the differences
between western science and Aboriginal ways of doing things as the Clam Gardens have proven
to be effective in producing an abundance of clams-even more than there would be without the
Gardens. They also help to create extremely protein rich ground under the Clam Gardens. Other
sea creatures such as sea cucumbers have made their homes there as well, so they’ve made the
necessary adaptations to survive in this new environment. It’s an exemplar of effective resource
management and as a way of ensuring food security for the people in these regions. In the
assessment stage of the unit, there are several opportunities to do cross-curricular activities such
as having students make a diorama or a drawing of the Clam Gardens. Getting the students to
write down their understanding of the topic, would be a chance to connect to ELA curricular
competencies. Also, there are social studies aspects to the unit as well because the First Nations
people have such a long history of doing this to maintain their food source.
There is an accompanying YouTube video that can be watched on the topic of Ancient Clam
Gardens at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIGn4yd15_I.
An article on the study of clam gardens can be found at http://ow.ly/NJ1L303qvDU. This
would probably be more useful for older students.
There is so much that could be done with this website. There is a plethora of rich information
with eight unit plan ideas with suggestions for activities that could be done, and videos that can
be viewed, as well as links to other possible resources to further the learning. I thought all the
background knowledge the website provides on how First Peoples view science was very
interesting information and important for us as non-Indigenous people to know before venturing
into teaching this subject matter. The more we know about Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives,
the more respectfully we will try to pass that information on to our students.
Survival, Magnetism, Geography, Inuit expertise on Canadian Arctic
“Science and Survival at Fort Conger” https://fortconger.org/index
Videos, photos, stories, timelines, scientific explanations of pendulums, magnetism.
First Peoples ways of knowing and local Arctic knowledge. Between 1818 and 1918,
over 200 expeditions were sent to the arctic. This website is an online museum, walking through
the logistics of such a journey and how it was made possible by the knowledge of the Inuit
people. People have been recorded in the area of what is now Fort Conger as early as 4500 years
ago. The extreme environment was incredibly tricky to navigate. The explorers worked closely
with the Inuit people to learn how to survive, and Inuit technology and knowledge saved the men
from certain death. Fort Conger played a major role in the race to the North Pole. The site itself
is a record of the meeting of different cultures, including Euro-American explorers, Inuit, and
Polar Eskimos from Greenland. The contributions of the Inuit people to these meetings vital, and
this virtual museum highlights this integral role, and acknowledges that it was not always to their
mutual benefit.
The science in this website covers forces of gravity, aurora borealis (which often
coincided with magnetic disturbances), ocean behaviour (temperature, tide, winds, currents, etc),
climate change and how it has affected Fort Conger today.
In the Classroom:
This website could be a resource during online or remote learning time. Lots to explore in the
online museum. There are some “interactive” components that are unfortunately not very well
done, so they’re either boring or glitchy – avoid them. Otherwise, it’s a very interesting and
useful website with lots of photos and some videos. Questions to be asked at the end include:
What tactics have the Inuit used to survive in the Arctic for thousands of years?
Pendulum test – described in detail on the website under Interactive Exhibits > Kater’s
Pendulum. The online game itself is not great but if your school has pendulums available, they
can be used to learn about latitudes and earth’s magnetism. It would be fun to track the way the
pendulum moves and see how it matches up with the latitude of the schools location.