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FNSS Curriculum Integration Project Click here to download this lesson.
Teresa Downs (MS-Word format.)

Grade: 4
Lesson 2: Storm Boy - Creating a Haida Crest
Time: 90 minutes (for onset lesson and one or two classes for the students to complete their crest)

Topic: An examination of Haida artwork especially the role and significance of crests in this artwork.

Rationale: Within the Haida culture artwork is not an abstract concept of art for art’s sake. Rather, Haida art creates spiritual dimensions into costumes, tools, and structures. These decorations on the objects they create are statements of social identity, or reminders of rights bestowed on their ancestors by supernatural beings, or lessons taught to them through mythic encounters with animals. It is the likeness of these animals or other beings that are embodies in crests and passed on for generations. This lesson attempts to provide students with an understanding of the meaning, the role, the complexity and the influences of Haida artwork.

Materials and Resources

  • Crest grid worksheet (included in materials)
  • Storm Boy, Paul Owen Lewis, 1995 Whitecap Books (print)
  • Examples of Haida Art:
    • Haida Art, Dawn Adams, 1983 Wedge (print)
    • Haida Art, George F. MacDonald, 1996 University of Washington Press (print)

Main Concepts

  • To create an understanding and appreciation of Haida art, especially the role of crests in this cultures artwork.


Primary form lines
are generally black, outline parts of each figure.
Secondary form lines
occur within the primary spaces and are usually red.
a rounded, bulging oval-to-rectangular shape. An ovid is a feature unique to Northwest Coast art. Ovids are used to portray a creature’s eyes, joints and sometimes teeth or orifices like nostrils and ears.

Intended Learning Outcomes
Social Studies:

  • Demonstrate awareness and appreciation of various Aboriginal cultures in Canada
  • Identify and compare physical environments and cultures of various BC Aboriginal groups

Fine Arts (Visual):

  • Identify distinctive styles of art from various cultures and historical periods
  • Create an image in response to aspects of art from a variety of historical and cultural contexts


  • Student reflective assessment (material included)
  • Assessment rubric (material included)

Planned Learning Activities

  1. Give students grid puzzle to solve.
  2. Once students complete explain that this is a Haida crest of an eagle.
  3. Explain to students the role of crests in the Haida culture (material included).
  4. Read Storm Boy (if continuing from Lesson #1 re-read Storm Boy) asking students to watch carefully to see if they can see any crests in the pictures of the story and if they can tell what animal they are representing.
  5. Discuss the crests that the students saw in the story and what animals they think the crests represented.
  6. Show students Haida artwork and discuss what they see in the crests.
  7. Explain to the students that they are going to create a crest. For those continuing from Lesson #1 students will create a crest for their story. If not students can create a crest of any animal they choose.
  8. Discuss the assessment criteria for the assignment.


  • Students can share their crests with their classmates; discussing what animals is represented in the crest and what features of the animals they chose to accentuate to depict the animal.
  • Student continuing from Lesson #1 could turn their crest into the cover page for their story.

Integrated Opportunities

  • Physical Education – Students could play The Blanket Game (included in materials)

Resources Used and Supplementary Materials Available

  1. Storm Boy, Paul Owen Lewis, 1995 Whitecap Books (print)
  2. Haida Art, Dawn Adams, 1983 Wedge (print)
  3. Haida Art, George F. MacDonald, 1996 University of Washington Press (print)
  4. The Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands, 1991 Vancouver School Board (print)
  5. www.civilization.ca

Name: ____________________________

Student Reflective Assessment

Now that you have completed your crest, you have a chance to think about it (reflect on) what you have learned.

Two things I found interesting were:

Three things I learned were:

Why I liked creating a crest?

Why I did not like about creating a crest?

Something I would like to learn more about is . . .

Something I learned about myself is . . .

Assessment Rubric for Creating a Crest

Grade Requirements
A+, A, A- Excellent, Outstanding
-Planned carefully, made several sketches, and showed an awareness of the elements and principles of design; chose color scheme carefully, used space.
-The project was continued until it was complete as the student could make it; gave it effort far beyond that required; to pride in going well beyond the requirement.
B+, B, B- Above Average, Very Good
-The artwork shows that the student applied the principles of design while using one or more elements effectively; showed an awareness of filling the space adequately.
-The student work hard and completed the project, but with a loom or effort it might have been outstanding.
C+, C, C- Average, Good
-The student did the assignment adequately, yet it shows lack of planning and little evidence that an overall composition was planned. The artwork shows that the student applied the principles of design while using one or more elements effectively; showed an awareness of filling the space adequately.
-The student finished the project, but it could have been improved with more effort; adequate interpretation of the assignment, but lacking finish; chose an easy project and did it indifferently.
D Below Average, Needs Improvement
-The assignment was completed and turned in, but showed little evidence of any understanding of the elements and principles of art; no evidence of planning.
-The project was completed with minimum effort.
F Unsatisfactory
-The student did the minimum or the artwork was never completed.
-The student did not finish the work adequately.

Supplemental Information for Teachers About Haida Crests
Following from: The Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands, 1991 Vancouver School Board (print)

The Haida people have always been artists. In the earliest times, the Haida carved figures onto rocks. Long ago, they painted designs on paddles, canoes, and boxes. They carved totem poles, rattles, masks, sticks, bowls, spoons, and fishhooks. Most of the objects were and are still decorated with the figures of animals and spirits that were and are still part of the Haida beliefs. In more recent times, the Haida carved all the above as well as carving pendants and sculptures out of argillite. Argillite is a black slate rock that is found on mountains. (p. 93)

The Haida people belong to either the Eagle clan or the Raven clan. Each clan has certain crests that they are allowed to use. Some of the crests that the Eagle clan can use are: eagle, cormorant, beaver, dogfish, dragonfly, starfish, abalone, and a black whale. Some of the crests that the Raven clan can use are: raven, grizzly bear, killer whale, wolf, mountain goat, tree, and star. (p.97)

Following from: www.civilization.ca

Most Haida objects are decorated with crests -- figures of animals, birds, sea creatures and mythic beings -- that immediately identify the moiety (Raven or Eagle) and often the lineage of the owner. On a more subtle level the placement of a crest figure, and especially the smaller figures attached to its ears, chest or mouth, refer to a specific myth involving that crest. Although the Haida have almost seventy crest figures, less than a score are in general use. A few crest figures were used by many lineages, and a larger number were exclusive to a few lineages. The Killer Whale, which is a particularly strong feature of Haida art and myth, is a popular crest.

Mystery Drawing
This is a mystery drawing project. You will make something amazing by following the directions below.

  1. You have three worksheets to work with. The first worksheet has the instructions, the second one has a blank grid on it, the third worksheet, has a drawing that has been turned into mixed up squares. It is your job to solve this mystery and turn these squares into an amazing drawing.
  2. You will notice that all of the little boxes have numbers and letters on them. These numbers and letters match the squares in the blank grid at the bottom of the page.
  3. Remember to ask for help (from a peer or teacher) whenever you need it.
  4. Find square 1A in the mixed up squares.
  5. Cut out square 1A and then glue it in the correct location on the blank grid. Cut out and glue only one square at a time.
  6. Now find 1B in the mixed up squares. Cut it out and glue it in its correct location on the blank grid.
  7. Do all of the squares marked with 1. After you have finished all of the 1’s, start with 2A do all of the 2’s the same way you did the 1’s.
  8. When you have finished go on to the 3’s, 4’s and 5’s in the same way.

Have fun with this. If you are very careful you should be able to make this mystery picture without too many problems.

From: The Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands, 1991 Vancouver School Board (print)

Blank Grid

Blank grid

What did you discover in your mystery drawing?

Mystery Drawing

Mixed up grid

The Blanket Game
From: The Haida and the Inuit: People of the Seasons by Heather Smith Siska. (1984). Douglas & McIntyre Ltd. Vancouver: BC.

  1. Players form two teams and choose a captain for each side. Every player wears a blanket. The teams stand in two lines, some distance away from one another.
  2. One captain starts the game by walking along the line of his or her players and secretly dropping a stone inside the blanket of one of them. The captain then goes off to the side and sits down.
  3. Then a member of the opposite team tries to discover who has the stone by looking at the players’ faces. “You throw that out!” the player says when choosing the person with the stone. If the player guesses right, his or her team gets the stone. If not, the first team plays again.