Through the Classroom Window: Learning About Indigenous Cultures

Through the Classroom Window: Learning About Indigenous Cultures

Feb 09, 2022
posted in Elementary Grade 3

“Through the Classroom Window” is an opportunity for teachers to share the inspiring learning that takes place in their classrooms, giving others a glimpse into the heartbeat of the school. Today, Grade 3 teacher, Mika Gang, shares how her students are learning about Indigenous cultures.

Grade 3 students have been exploring the Generative Topic: Learning about others makes us whole (לשם שלום). To expand on this, they considered the cultures of Indigenous nations and early European immigrants.

This week, students explored various artefacts that help us understand Indigenous ways of life before European immigration to this land.

For example, they examined an Iroquois necklace made from the seeds of the three sisters. Students noticed its repeating pattern of beads and seeds. They also observed the variables that change throughout, such as size and colour, finally identifying the “core” of the pattern.

In chaveruta, students choreographed their own dances inspired by this pattern. Each bead and seed was represented by a different movement.

We connected this learning to Indigenous agricultural teachings. Students shared their knowledge of squash, beans, and corn plants, and hypothesized how they might work together. The class learned that the bean vines climb the strong cornstalks and the wide leaves of the squash keep the soil moist and stop too much evaporation from taking place.

The class began imagining their three sisters’ garden plot, which we will plant in spring!