Grade Two Thematic Unit: Unit Scope and Introduction

Unit Scope and Sequence

Introduction to Grade Two Operation Water Spirit Thematic Unit

  • Focus Questions
  • Unit Summary
  • Subject Area(s)
  • Student Learning Outcomes
  • Student Assessment
  • Prerequisite Skills
  • Accommodation Options
  • Supplies/Materials Needed
  • Optional

Part One: First Nation Creation Stories

a. Activities

  • Language Arts: Understanding Creation Stories
  • Physical Education: Chief Eagle and Crawfish
  • Language Arts: Understanding Creation Stories II
  • Creative Art: Muskrat in Water Paper Plate Craft

b. The Stories

  • Reading/Language Arts/Creative Writing: The Origin of Earth
  • Reading/Language Arts/Creative Writing: Turtle Island

Part Two: Aboriginal Communities – Heritage and Citizenship

  • Social Studies: Mapping your Community
  • Off Reserve Instructions
  • On Reserve Instructions
    • 1. Mapping Symbols
    • 2. Mapping Chart

Part Three: Importance of Water to Self, Health, Community and Culture

  • Social Studies: First Nations Family Chart
  • Health/Science: Tree Rings
  • Science/Creative Art: The Importance of Water
  • Reading/Language Arts: Koluscap and the Water Monster

Part Four: First Nations People and Hydroelectricity

  • Science/Social Studies/Language Arts/Creative Arts: The effects of hydroelectricity on First Nation communities.
  • Creative Arts/Drama: Becoming Water

Additional Activities for the Grade Two Thematic Unit


Focus Questions: Many First Nation Creation stories begin in water, compare and contrast similarities.

  • Why are First Nations concerned about current water issues?
  • How is water viewed in their communities?  Canada is a country of many different types of cultures/communities, how does one’s family history relate to the first peoples of Canada?
  • How has Hydro Energy affected First Nations people?

Unit Summary 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 Two: 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 Two Thematic Unit Plan has been designed to easily fit into the grade two science, social studies, physical education and visual arts curriculum. 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.
  • Be able to research and reflect upon the use of water within their community.
  • Experiment with bean plants and view how water affects their survival and growth.
  • Recognition of tree growth as related to water and use tree circles as a timeline for their family events.
  • Reflect upon their community and those communities of Aboriginal people.
  • Students will explore their family grouping and Aboriginal family relations, focusing on extended family and community.
  • Reflect upon the statement “Water is in us and all around us...” and present that theme in a poster

Student Assessment: Student assessment will be done by participation and through rubrics. These rubrics are located in the appendix at the back of the unit for use. As well, there are student rubrics which will enable students’ self-evaluation

Prerequisite Skills:

  • Students will be required to work individually and in groups.
  • Cooperation

Accommodation Options

  • 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.


  • Highly-Capable Students
    • 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. Students will gain extra marks for creative writing assignments and drama productions.
  • Give 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:

  • Writing assignments and drama productions.
  • Paper, pencils, chart paper, Internet access, LCD projector and screen, fresh cut tree ring, poster paper, magazines, glue, markers, coloured push pins or sewing pins.

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.
  • Invite in a speaker/activist on First Nation and Aboriginal water issues. Further suggestions regarding this can be found at the end of this unit in the appendix.
  • Invite an Elder into your classroom to tell an oral story and to talk about the importance of water.
  • Organize a water day; where you look at how your life would be without water.
  • As a class look in the media for other current news regarding water and First Peoples.