QUILLS Programs

This page is still under development. Resources are being added daily.

About the QUILLS Programs

The Queen’s University Indigenous Land-based Learning STEM (QUILLS) Program is five STEM Learning Bundles bringing together Indigenous land-based knowledge, Ontario Science curriculum outcomes, and locally conducted STEM studies. QUILLS is a collaborative project, drawing on the expertise of local Indigenous knowledge holders, teachers, and Queen’s STEM faculty, and is geared towards integrating the themes of the biodiversity crisis, global climate change, traditional Indigenous knowledge systems and the environment, invasive species, and contaminants in the environment. Click here to learn more about the collaborative team that created these resources.

In addition to the Learning Bundles, QUBS is also creating short videos to accompany each bundle, and facilitating professional development sessions for local teachers.

We recommend that anyone using these lessons read the following Teacher’s Guide first. This gives important information about how to deliver these activities in a good way.

Learning Bundles

QUILLS Activities




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A Spirited Epistemology

Through discussion with the teacher, students discover that while Western scientists categorize elements of an ecosystem as either biotic or abiotic local Indigenous community members view all elements in the natural world as spirited and, therefore, biotic and alive.

Biodiversity and Climate Change: What do Frogs Have to Say About It?

Students will explore the impact of climate change on biodiversity, specifically on frog species and their life history traits.

Biodiversity and Invasive Species: A Garlic Mustard Case Study

Students will explore the impact of invasive species on biodiversity specifically by looking at garlic mustard. Students will draw a scientific drawing of the plant, play a game to understand how it moves through ecosystems, discover plans on how to eradicate it, and contribute to citizen science.

Can you Recognize your Relatives? Why Does it Matter?

Students are asked to identify different logos, plants, and animals and reflect on why in our culture we are more familiar with corporate logos than we are with local plant species.

Classification Systems

Students will explore the process of classifying species, using an assortment of items and different categories.

Colonization and Our Changing Landscape

Students will explore how different landscapes change within 20-30 years from urbanization. Students can then extend this thinking to a timeline before colonization, and how the present landscape will look 100 years from now.

Creation Stories and Language

Students listen to the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee creation stories and reflect on how these stories have shaped Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee culture. Students learn about how Indigenous ways of knowing and being are contained in Indigenous languages and the impact of colonization on language loss.

Culminating Activity: Entering into Relationship with our Plant Relatives

Taking inspiration from Ra’nikonhrí:io Lazare and Katsenhaién:ton Lazare, students will create their own videos that capture our relationships with a specific plant. Duration: Over multiple work periods

Culminating Activity: Living in Reciprocity: Contributing to a Pollinator Garden

Students explore pollinator gardens and how they can give back to them.

Culminating Activity: Snapshot of Resistance: Showcasing Indigenous Leadership 

Students will explore and share the importance of Indigenous leadership in protecting biodiversity.

Exploring Different Ways of Classifying

Students will explore classification processes from different knowledge systems using fallen leaves.

Food Production – The Grinding Stone

Students learn about the grinding stone used by the Haudenosaunee to prepare food and reflect on the importance of caring for the tools we rely on as well as the natural materials they are sourced from.

This program was primarily funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Promoscience program, secured by QUBS (Principal Investigator, Dr. Stephen Lougheed). Additional funding was gratefully received from the Community Foundation of Kingston & Area and the Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Education (MSTE) Group.