Visit the Teepee

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Overall Goal
Through storytelling, conversation, demonstration and participation in fire lighting skills, students learn more about First Nations knowledge and ways.

Grade 6 Curriculum Connections

Social Studies - Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present
  • assess contributions to Canadian identity made by various groups and by various features of Canadian communities and regions
  • use the social studies inquiry process to investigate different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experiences of two or more distinct communities in Canada


Program Description
A dwelling used by nomadic First Nations, the teepee is often a symbol that we associate with North American indigenous people. However, the teepee was only really used by aboriginal people in the plains of Canada and the USA. In this area of Canada the wigwam or longhouse was more common. More than just a dwelling, the teepee was sacred and important culturally. First Nations dwellings were a central part of their life where they cooked, ate, slept and told stories.

A visit to the tepee can include First Nations cooking (bannock, parched corn and/or cedar tea), fire lighting, and stories. As an evening program the fire in the teepee creates a great atmosphere with flickering shadows all around. After a demonstration of fire lighting with a bow drill students may have an opportunity to try this themselves.

Success Criteria/Learning Goals

  1. Students will explain how Indigenous People’s traditional housing has contributed to the identity and image of Canada.
  2. Students can identify a variety of lifestyle, traditional practices and knowledge passed on to us by First Nations.
  3. Students will identify the identify the pros and cons of living in a Teepee.

Pre-Trip Activity
Students could research and learn some First Nations stories to share at the campfire. This link will take you to the Aboriginal Education Centre's library.
Next Step Environmental Action
Invite an elder to come into your classroom to share stories. Compare these stories to similar stories from another culture present in Canada.
Resources
OISE has a resource called Deepening Knowledge Project which is a curricula database for infusing indigenous education into your classroom with information, grade specific lesson plans, videos, and links to books and films.

For more suggestions see our page Learning Resources under Aboriginal Education.

Available in all seasons
For class sizes of 25 or under only or with class split in half