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

Grade: 4
Lesson 1: Where Are We Going? Comparing traditional and modern societies approaches to direction.
Time: 80 minutes or 2 40 minute lessons

Topic: The importance of symbols in societies

Rationale: Students will discover and investigate how different cultures (specifically Inuit and their own) use various symbols in the environment, to communicate powerful messages to each other. (focusing on directional symbols)

Materials and Resources

  • Hide and Sneak by Micheal Arvaarluk Kusugak & Vladyana Krykorka. Annick Press. Toronto 1992.
  • Inuksuit: Silent Messengers of the Arctic. by Norman Hallendy. Douglas & McIntyre Vancouver 2000.
  • The Lonely Inikshuk. By the Students of Inuglak School—Whale Cove Nunavut. Scholastic Book Fairs (Canada) Ontario 1999.
  • Opaque projector
  • Small rocks of various sizes
  • Glue guns and glue sticks
  • Parent helper if possible

Main Concepts

  • Investing Traditional Inuit and modern societies ways of using symbols to give directions.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Investigate how people interact with their environments-present and past
  • Discovering past and present Aboriginal cultures
  • Creating a 3D image, using cultural content

Vocabulary/Definitions

  • tundra
  • Inuksuit
  • symbols
  • barren landscape

Planned Learning Activities

  1. (20 min) Read the story Hide & Sneak. Before you begin ask students to interpret the title of the book and to predict, using the book cover, what might happen in the story?
  2. (5 min) Review vocabulary words. Use story to get meanings.
  3. (10 min) Discuss how the Inuit used the Inuksuits as symbols of direction and why they were made of rocks (only building material). Have students, in groups of 3-4, brainstorm what symbols we use in modern society for direction and draw them onto sheets of chart paper. When finished, tape to blackboard.
  4. (15 min) Using the Opaque projector and the Inuksuit book, show the students various samples of Inuksuits and how they conveyed a direction through the use of rocks and how they were positioned. Next, get students to look at their drawings of modern directional symbols and ask them to compare the two styles and cultures. Why don’t we build our symbols out of rocks? Why would it be impractical for Inuit societies to use signposts?
  5. (30 min) Using pictures of Inuksuits as a guide, make a model of an Inuksuit figure to show a direction. Show students how, by careful placement of the ‘arm’ rocks, it will show the direction to go. Tell students to make their Inuksuits to point to their homes, when they are standing facing the black board. Students Insuksuit arms will vary depending on the direction of their homes. Teacher and parent helpers should be the only ones using the glue guns for safety.
  6. Assessment/Evaluation

    • participation in groups creating chart of directional symbols.
    • participation during discussion comparing Inuit and modern directional symbols.
    • completion of Inuksuit sculpture and correctly pointing to student’s home.

    Extensions

    • Display Inuksuits through school
    • create a larger Inuksuit to be a permanent sculpture for the school.

    Integration Opportunities

    • Career and Personal Planning - discuss importance of listening to adults, particularly when it is about safety. From Hide & Sneak book.
    • Art - draw a life size Inuksuit
    • Language Arts - write a journal entry or story about a time they were lost and how did they find the way home.

    Resources Used And Supplementary Materials Available

    1. Hide and Sneak by Micheal Arvaarluk Kusugak & Vladyana Krykorka. Annick Press. Toronto 1992.
    2. Inuksuit: Silent Messengers of the Arctic. by Norman Hallendy. Douglas & McIntyre Vancouver 2000.
    3. The Lonely Inikshuk. By the Students of Inuglak School—Whale Cove Nunavut. Scholastic Book Fairs (Canada) Ontario 1999.
    4. www.gov.yk.ca




    Summative Criteria
    Where Are We Going? Comparing traditional and modern societies approaches to direction.

    Criteria Ratings Comments
    Student has taken part with enthusiasm and respect 4 3 2 1  
    Student indicates that s/he is able to compare and contrast the similarities/differences between two cultures’ directional symbols 4 3 2 1  
    Student applied knowledge from lesson to create an interesting final product 4 3 2 1  
    Student demonstrates an appreciation and understanding of the Inuit culture 4 3 2 1  

    KEY:
    4 – Powerful
    3 – Good
    2 – Basic
    1 – Beginning