Unit Scope and Sequence
Introduction to Grade Seven Operation Water Spirit Thematic Unit
Students Learning outcomes
Optional Unit Extensions
Materials and Resources Required for Unit
Part One: First Nation Creation Stories
Language Arts or Creative Writing: First Nation Creation Stories
Operation Water Spirit: Creation Story Worksheet
Part Two: Medicine Wheel Teachings
Social Studies: Medicine Wheel Teachings
Reading/Language Arts/Creative Writing: Turtle Island
Information Handout: Medicine Wheels
Information Handout: Historical and Contemporary Medicine Wheels
Operation Water Spirit: Medicine Wheels Worksheet
Visual Art: Medicine Wheel
Craft 1: Yarn Wrapped Medicine Wheel
Craft 2: Rock Formation Medicine Wheel
Craft 3: Medicine Wheel Craft
Health: The Medicine Wheel and Balancing the Four Parts of Self
Information Handout: Health and the Medicine Wheel
Operation Water Spirit: Medicine Wheel Health Worksheet
Science: Archaeological findings regarding Medicine Wheels
Information Handout: Medicine Wheel from Archaeological Perspective
Information Handout: Examples of Medicine Wheels
Operation Water Spirit: Locating Medicine Wheels Worksheet
Operation Water Spirit: Medicine Wheels Internet Worksheet
EXAMPLE: Operation Water Spirit: Medicine Wheel Internet Worksheet
Information Handout: Big Horn Medicine Wheel and Moose Mountain Medicine Wheel
Part Three: Four Sacred Elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Wind
Science: Four Elements from a Western Science Perspective
Information Handout #1: Definition of Four Elements from a Western Science Perspective
Information Handout #2: Definition of Four Elements from a Western Science Perspective
Information Handout #3: Definition of Four Elements from a Western Science Perspective
Information Handout #4: Definition of Four Elements from a Western Science Perspective
Information Handout #5: Definition of Four Elements from a Western Science Perspective
Information Handout: Let’s work together to save our Water, Fire, Earth and Air!
Information Handout: Lakota Four Elements of Life
Language Arts: Four Elements Creative Writing
Operation Water Spirit: Four Sacred Elements Worksheet
Creative Arts: Drama: Imagination and the Four Elements
Creative Arts: Drama Teachers’ Notes
Part Four: Respecting Water and Water Conservation
Science: Importance of Water to Life
Operation Water Spirit: Importance of Water to Life Worksheet #1
Operation Water Spirit: Importance of Water to Life Worksheet #2
Operation Water Spirit: Importance of Water to Life Worksheet #3
Health: Our life begins in water and we need water to survive
Social Studies: First Nation Water Issues
Part Five: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Traditional Knowledge Regarding Water
Information Handout: Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Information Handout #2: Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Operation Water Spirit: Traditional Knowledge Group Worksheet
Part Six: Evaluations
Operation Water Spirit Group Evaluation
Operation Water Spirit Individual Project Rubric
Medicine Wheel #1 Stencil
Many First Nation Creation stories begin in water, how does this differ from other cultures?
How is water an important component within First Nation Culture and practices?
Why are First Nations concerned about current water issues?
Introduction: The purpose of this unit is to provide students with an opportunity to learn about water and how it is viewed from an Aboriginal perspective. Water is one of the four sacred elements; the other three are Earth, Wind, and Fire. Water is extremely important as all forms of life are unable to exist without water. The Grade Seven: Operation Water Spirit Unit aims to serve as a tool for students in their discovery of the importance of water, as well as its surroundings around and within us. The goal is to achieve this through students’ exploration of the water within their own communities as well as in Aboriginal communities, comparing and contrasting the differences and similarities through a holistic, student-centered approach.
The Grade Seven Thematic Unit Plan has been designed to easily fit into the grade seven science, social studies, physical education and visual arts curricula. As well, this unit can be adapted to other grade levels.
When teaching this unit, keep in mind that one concept cannot be taught without other concepts being introduced. This unit provides some lessons that can be expanded upon to provide more information. As well, take a look at other Operation Water Spirit Units which may be adapted to fit within this unit.
Subject Area(s): Language Arts, Visual Arts, Drama, Social Studies, Health, Creative Writing, Science
Students Learning Outcomes:
Read, retell and interpret various First Nation Creation stories and be made aware that there is more than the Bering Strait Theory about origins.
Be made aware of non-linear thinking patterns and view the world in a holistic experiential way through Medicine Wheel teachings.
Will view and research historical Medicine Wheels from an archaeological perspective.
Will be able to construct a variety of Medicine Wheel crafts.
Compare and contrast their personal view of health and wellness with the teachings of the Medicine Wheel.
Be able to reflect upon the four sacred elements: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water and the role these elements play within their life.
Author creative writing pieces about an interaction with one of the four sacred elements.
Be able to read and reflect upon definitions of the four sacred elements from a western science perspective and compare and contrast this view with Aboriginal (Lakota) perspectives.
Be able to portray one of the elements through the creative arts and drama.
Be able to research and reflect upon the use of water in First Nation ceremonies and practices and then present upon this topic.
Experiment with bean plants and view how water affects their survival and growth.
Reflect upon the statement “our life begins in water and we need water to survive, water is in us and all around us...” and present that theme in a poster or drama format.
Student Assessment: Student assessment will be done by participation and through rubrics. The rubrics are located here.
Beginning computer skills in Word, Excel, Publisher (entering text), and accessing the Internet
Cooperative group work experience
Learning Assistant Students
If you have children in your class that require learning assistants or are in pull out programs, we recommend these students work within the classroom with the rest of the students. In order to do this, it is beneficial for the student to have their own, or a shared, learning assistant. By including these students, you are developing an inclusive classroom. Avoid having the students who are categorized as “Special” taught separately in these units because this is not only detrimental to their development, but disadvantageous to all of your students’ development (Beauchamp et al., 2000:81).
Homogenous grouping is recommended for group work and research.
Provide students with the opportunity to study at their own level and speed, allowing gifted students to stay in the classroom with fellow classmates but also providing them with challenge in their daily work (Beauchamp et al., 2000:86).
Since studies have shown that the greatest academic gains have been made when gifted students work together, provide the gifted students in your classroom with the opportunity to work together when conducting research and group discussions (Beauchamp et al., 2000:86).
Provide all students with an opportunity to gain extra marks for creativity. Gain extra marks for creative writing assignments and drama productions.
Give the students a bulletin board to develop and update throughout the thematic unit.
Provide additional readings about information within this project.
Provide Internet sites to learn and read more about these issues.
Supplies/ Materials needed:
Access to Internet, use of computer
Materials needed as stated with each individual lesson plan
Student rubrics and evaluation sheets
Photocopied lesson worksheets and readings
Access to library
Optional Unit Extensions:
Partner with a school in a different territory, if you are in the city find a school in a First Nation community or vice-versa. Undergo this unit simultaneously, e-mail updates to the partnered school.
Research First Nations people who have had something to say regarding water issues: James Bay Cree, etc.
Author and develop a play regarding the Four Elements and issues around them in modern and historical times.
Arrange to attend a First Nation ceremony that has water in it: Sweat Lodge, Fasting, Feasts. Meet with local First Nation/Métis/Aboriginal Elders to arrange for a cultural day in the country.
View the SDWF DVDs on the water crisis as it relates to First Nation communities
Invite in a speaker/activist on First Nation and Aboriginal water issues.
Materials and Resources Required for Unit
Teacher Resources: Saskatchewan Curriculum:
Saskatchewan Curriculum Education: The future within us. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.gov.sk.ca/
Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment. (1994). Language Arts for Indian and Métis students: Adapting the elementary level curriculum. Regina, SK: Author.
Aboriginal Education Unit. (2002). Historical Aboriginal Relationships Shaping North America. Saskatchewan Learning.
Hirschfelder, A. B., Molin, P. F., & Wakim, Y. (1999). American Indian Stereotypes in the World of Children: A reader and Bibliography (2nd ed.). Lanham, Md: Scarecrow.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. (2006). The Learning Circle; Classroom Activities on First Nations in Canada: Ages 12-14. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved from http://epub.sub.uni-hamburg.de/epub/volltexte/2009/ 1065/pdf/e_guide3.pdf
Office of the Treaty Commissioner. (2008). We are all Treaty People. Saskatchewan, Canada. Retrieved from: http://www.otc.ca
Bouchard, D., & Vickers, R. H. (1997). The Elders are Watching (3rd ed.). Vancouver: Raincoast Books.
Caduto, M. J., Bruchac, J., Ka-Hon-Hes, & Wood, C. (1997). Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children (1st Fulcrum trade paperback ed.). Golden, Colo: Fulcrum Publ.
Condon, P. (2001). Changes: the Turtle's Teachings. (2001). [cassette/compact disc]. Saskatoon, SK: Gabriel Dumont Institute.
De Coteau Orie, S., & Canyon, C. (1996). Did You Hear Wind Sing Your Name? : An Oneida Song of Spring. New York: Walker.
Goble, P. (1996). Remaking the Earth: A Creation Story from the Great Plains of North America. New York: Orchard Books.
Ridout, S. B., Funk, J., & Saskatoon District Tribal Council (Eds.). (1991). "--And They Told Us Their Stories": A Book of Indian Stories. Saskatoon: Saskatoon District Tribal Council.
Taylor, C.J. (1994). Bones in the Basket: Native Stories of the Origin of People. Montreal: Tundra Books.
Waboose, J. B., & Taylor, C. J. (1999). Firedancers. Toronto: Stoddart Kids.
Supplemental Resources (Internet Resources):
Library and Archives Canada. (2005). Haida. Retrieved from http://www.collectionscanada.ca/settlement/kids/021013-2061.1-e.html
Library and Archives Canada. (2005). Mi’kmaq. Retrieved from http://www.collectionscanada.ca/settlement/kids/021013-2091.3-e.html
Muskrat’s Den BBS. (2004). How Muskrat Created the World. Retrieved from http://www.muskrat.com/index.htm#MuskratLegends
Library and Archives Canada. (2005). Wendat (Huron). Retrieved from http://www.collectionscanada.ca/settlement/kids/021013-2111.1-e.html
Welker, G. (2004). Apache Creation Story. Retrieved from http://www.indians.org/welker/creation.htm
Welker, G. (1996). Gabrielinos Origin Tale. Retrieved from http://www.indians.org/welker/legend.htm
Jenks, K. (1999). Sacred Creation Narratives from North America. Retrieved from http://www.mythinglinks.org/ct~creation3.html
Yanko, D. (2008). Endangered Stones. Retrieved from http://www.virtualsk.com/current_issue/endangered_stones.html
Whiskeyjack, F. The Medicine Wheel. Retrieved from http://linna.ca/page8.html
Donald, D. (2003). Elder, Student, Teacher: A Kainai Curriculum Métissage. Retrieved from https://www.uleth.ca/dspace/handle/10133/147