Monday, 21 May 2012

Demonstrating Knowledge

Lessons taught by Mrs. Robson

Over the past few months in Social Studies, our class has examined the lives of the Northwest Coast First Nations.   Through books, videos, artifacts, internet searches, and discussions students investigated what life was like for these people prior to European contact.

The students discovered that these natives were considered well off due to their surroundings.   They depended heavily on the cedar trees for many things including clothing, housing, transportation, totem poles, tools, and cooking utensils.   They also had more than they needed from the ocean in the way of food.   They were hard workers who valued their traditions.

To culminate this study, using performance based assessment, the students were asked to work in cooperative groups to demonstrate their knowledge of what they learned about the Northwest Coast First Nations in two ways.

First they had to become a "family" of the coastal natives and then construct a totem pole which would explain their story.   They made animal symbols that symbolized importance to them and then wrote stories to explain how each animal had influenced their life in some way.   For example - the beaver often represented a family because it had taught them how to cut down trees and how to build with wood.

Second, the students made murals of native villages to demonstrate their understanding of the natives lived.   The students brainstormed all the things that they had learned and then in cooperative groups they transferred that knowledge into pictures.   For example - many had wooden longhouses, some with totem pole entrances, wooden cooking boxes with hot rocks from the fire, as well as racks of salmon drying and woven cedar bark mats to sit on.   The end results were spectacular and the students loved it!

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