Quills Subject Area: Outdoor Education

Ceremony Ensures Right Relations with the Land -Indigenous Knowledge

Students learn about Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee ceremonies and land-based practices that enter community members into reciprocal relationships with the natural world. Students reflect on their own cultural traditions that encourage reciprocity with the natural world.

The Importance of Storytelling

Teacher is introduced to the importance of storytelling to Indigenous ways of knowing and being and the value of integrating Indigenous Knowledge into STEM teaching and learning.

Living in Reciprocity

Depending on the time of the year this Learning Bundle is taught, students can engage in seed starting, planting, tending to, harvesting, or seed saving. If the class or school does not have its own garden, the class can arrange to visit the garden at Elbow Lake or another community garden in the region.

Engaging in Reciprocity to Mitigate the Impact of Climate Change

Students discuss environmental threats to Manoomin including climate change and infer how these environmental affects impact the cultural practices associated with harvesting Manoomin. Students research and present on an individual or community organization fighting to preserve and protect Manoomin.

Manoomin and its Preferred Growing Conditions

Students learn about the cultural significance of Manoomin for the Anishinaabe and about its preferred growing conditions. Next, students hypothesize and conduct tests to determine whether Manoomin could grow at their location.

Aquatic Monitoring

This activity takes place at the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre. After making inferences regarding the impact of climate change on local fish populations students engage in an aquatic monitoring project and compare results to required standards. As an extension students catch a fish and prepare it using local Indigenous preparation methods.

Utilizing Different Ways of Knowing to Understand & Counteract Climate Change

Students familiarize themselves with a STEM study examining the impact of a 1999 storm surge on the outer Mackenzie Delta utilizing both the knowledge of Inuvialuit hunters, passed down through generations, and data gathered by Western scientists. Students reflect on how Indigenous land-based knowledge and Western Science can be utilized together to better understand and counteract the impacts of climate change.

Tracking and the Secret Life of Animals

Students learn what signs in nature reveal about local animal behavior and how to identify animals through the tracks they leave behind.

Getting to Know Animal Behavior

Students learn about the ongoing importance of hunting and trapping to local Indigenous groups and choose an animal of cultural significance to local Indigenous groups to research and learn more about.

Western STEM Connection-Engaging with Reciprocity and Interdependence

Students learn about a STEM study, conducted locally, in which scientists by controlling variables such as soil moisture and nutrients, studied the impact of a changing climate on local plant growth. Students mimic this experiment in the classroom using bean seeds in order to learn about what plants need to thrive in the face unpredictable weather conditions caused by climate change.

Ceremony Ensures Right Relations with the Land

Students learn about Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee ceremonies and land-based practices that enter community members into reciprocal relationships with the natural world. Students reflect on their own cultural traditions that encourage reciprocity with the natural world.

Western STEM Connection- Forest Succession

Students review a locally conducted STEM study focused on soil’s ability to sequester carbon throughout different stages of vegetation succession. Students learn how to visually identify nutrient-rich vs. nutrient-poor soil.

Forests as Carbon Sinks

Students learn about the role carbon plays in climate change and about local carbon sinks and sources. Students also learn how human relationality with the local land base impacts carbon and its subsequent impact on the changing climate.

Western STEM Connection -Tree Migration

Students learn about how the changing climate is affecting expansion and population dynamics of trees and shrubs, learn to identify local tree species, and use tree cookies to make predictions regarding the impact of climate change on local tree species. Students can also engage in an optional math extension project in which they use graphing and patterning principles to make predictions regarding tree growth.

Minds On: Introducing Climate Change

Students reflect on the impact of the changing climate on a place that is special to them.

Interacting with Reciprocity with our Plant Relatives

Students discover how while both Western scientists and local Indigenous groups view plants as alive (or biotic), local Indigenous groups view plants as spirited relatives which is generative of the development of more reciprocal relationships between plants and community members.

Culminating Task: Spreading the Word about Invasives

Students pick an invasive species to research and report on. Research must touch on the impact the species has on Indigenous land-based practices and how management practices are informed by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of knowing.

Using Technology to Curb the Spread of Invasives

Students learn about how modern forms of technology can be used to control invasive species impacting Indigenous land-based practices such as Dutch elm disease and phragmites.

Using Fire to Curb the Spread of Invasives

Students learn about how controlled burn fires can be used to curb the spread of invasive plants and about the benefits of heating homes with wood.

Community Efforts to Curb the Spread of Invasives

Students learn about how Haudenosaunee community members in Akwesasne are utilizing a variety of strategies, including planting trees, to manage the impact of the emerald ash borer on black ash tree stands. After learning about the value of planting native tree species students practice saving and planting native tree seeds.

Factors Enabling Invasive Species to Establish and to Thrive

Students learn about transportation methods that transmit and those that can be utilized to reduce the spread of invasive species. Students also discuss the factors that enable species to thrive when introduced into a new area and, therefore, to become invasive as opposed to native or naturalized.

Emerald Ash Borer: A Threat to Basket Weaving

Teacher leads a discussion with students about how black ash trees across Ontario, used to harvest wood to create black ash baskets, are currently threatened by the emerald ash borer.

Dutch Elm Disease: A Threat to Longhouses and other Building Materials

Students learn about Dutch Elm disease and its impact on Elm trees and Haudenosaunee tools. Through a communicable disease lab students recognize the parallels between the transmission of Dutch elm disease and human diseases such as tuberculosis.

Phragmites: A Threat to Cattails

Students learn about the impact of phragmites on cattails and wetland health.

Tracking Invasives

Students learn about the locally pervasive invasive species, garlic mustard, and use a website developed by local scientist, Rob Colautti, to track its presence. As an extension students identify other flowers and plants found nearby and both identify whether they are native, naturalized or invasive and question the implications of this.

Invasive Species

Students review different types of invasive species and their impact on ecosystems.

Transportation – Snowshoes

Students learn about snowshoe designs utilized by local Indigenous groups. Next, students can engage in an optional extension activity in which they examine how traditional snowshoe designs reduced pressure upon the snow by dispersing weight over a larger area. Students learn how to calculate pressure by converting metric units into international system of units (SI).

Shelter – Wigwams

Students learn about the cultural significance of wigwams to the Anishinaabe and engage in an interactive hands-on math activity where they calculate the diameter, area, and circumference of where a wigwam would be constructed using number of steps and other body parts to approximate distance. As an extension students can examine how harvesting materials at different times of the year impacts tree growth and forest health.

Rope Making

Students learn what rope is made from by local Indigenous groups, make their own rope, and practice knot tying. Teachers leads a discussion with students regarding the impact of invasive species such as purple loosestrife on Indigenous land-based practices such as cattail mat weaving, basket making and rope making.

Minds On: Seeing the World Through the Lens of Gratitude

Students learn about the Haudenosaunee Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen (Thanksgiving Address) and are invited to reflect on all of the things in the natural world Indigenous people rely on locally for their tools and technologies. Students then spend time in sit spots on the land and reflect on what they grateful for in nature.

Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen (The Words That Come Before All Else)

Students learn the The Ohen:ton Kariwatehkwen (The Words that Come Before all Else or the Thanksgiving Address) and reflect on how it positions humans in a rich, interdependent web of relationships with elements in the natural that must be related to with reciprocity. As an extension students journal in an outdoor sit spot about what they are grateful for in nature.

Building a Water Filter

Students build a water filter out of materials found in a wetland

Oil Spill Cleanup

: Students use an egg carton to learn about how contaminants spread in a watershed and about the difficulties related to oil spill cleanup.

Biomagnification Tag Game

Students play a tag game that visually demonstrates how microplastics, toxins, and mercury accumulate in fish and humans, and illustrates the interconnectedness of living things.

Understanding the Impact of Road Salt on Local Lakes

Students learn about the impact of salt on local lakes by testing for key indicator species like zooplankton.

Testing for the Presence of Road Salt in Local Lakes

: Using dish soap students will test for water hardness vs. softness to determine the concentration of minerals like salt present in nearby bodies of water.

Broken Promises and Access to Clean Drinking Water in Indigenous Communities across Canada

With a focus on Constance Lake First Nation students learn about the lack of access to clean drinking water in Indigenous communities across Canada. Students also learn about how technology can be used monitor water health and other changes in the natural world.

Water in Song

Students listen to Anishinaabe water songs and the meaning behind them. Students reflect on how songs (music) possess power and can create powerful social change.

Where is Water?

Students brainstorm where water is found and how it moves though our environment. Students then play a game to demonstrate how water moves through the water cycle using local examples.

Medicine Wheel Teachings

Learn about the four parts of the medicine wheel, collect items from nature and create a story that connects items.

Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen (The Words That Come Before All Else)

Students review the Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen (The Words That Come Before All Else) and consider the centrality of water to Haudenosaunee and other local Indigenous groups.

Drawing on Two-Eyed Seeing to Seek Solutions to Real World Issues 

Students explore Indigenous and Western perspectives on forests. Examining logging protests that occurred in Fairy Creek, BC as a case study, students consider how drawing on two-eyed seeing can help to generate meaningful solutions to complex global issues.

Two-Eyed Seeing

Students discuss what Indigenous land-based knowledge and Western science is with their teacher and generate an understanding of how to foster knowledge mutualism.

Giving Thanks to the Water

Students practice reciprocity by releasing their good intentions and thoughts into a local water source.

Relationships to Water

Students evaluate passages and images related to water and predict what perspective they are from. Students then compare and contrast the Indigenous and Western scientific views and understandings of water.

The Honorable Harvest

Students reflect on the plants and animals around them that provide for their holistic well-being and learn about the Honorable Harvest and how it relates to the gifting of tobacco.

What is Seed Saving and Why is it Important?

Through discussion students learn about how seed saving, as a form of Indigenous resurgence, helps local community members both foster food sovereignty and adapt to climate change.

Indigenous Land-Based Knowledge

Through discussion and plant identification activity, students learn about Indigenous Land-Based Knowledge. Students also examine a case study community members monitor, understand, and raise awareness about how climate change is impacting the whitefish population.

Relational Gardening

Students learn about interdependence by discovering the role that each element in a 3 Sisters Garden plays in the garden’s health and vibrancy. Students also reflect on their own responsibility to care for the land.

Taking Responsibility to Reduce the Effects of Climate Change

Students learn to distinguish between the natural vs. human-caused greenhouse effect and discuss how colonization disrupted relationships characterized by reciprocity with the natural world and in so doing has contributed to the greenhouse effect.

Land Acknowledgement Workshop

Students learn how to construct a meaningful, personalized, land acknowledgement in which they articulate the ways in which they are actively working towards reconciliation and striving to live in reciprocity with the land in a manner that will protect it for the next 7 generations.

Land-Based Meditation

Students engage in a land-based meditation reflecting on how they can live in reciprocity with the land. Following this, teacher leads a discussion with students regarding the nature of the Original Instructions that are transmitted through the land to Indigenous peoples.

Weaving – The Gifts of Cattails

Students learn about the many gifts that cattails provide from local Indigenous community members. With assistance from a community member students harvest cattails and create a cattail mat.

Gifts of the Forest

By reading a story and spending time outside students learn about the gifts of the forest and the interdependence of all things in nature including humans. As an extension, students learn some of the proper protocols for food collection in forested areas.