Day One: First Nation Creation Stories
Creation Story: The Origin of Earth
Origin of this creation story: Tuskegee
Circle Time: Explain to the class that they are beginning a new unit about water. Ask the students questions about water. Using a “talking rock or feather”, have your students pass this item around the circle. Ask your students questions about water:
- What do they know about water?
- What is their favourite thing about water?
- What are their favourite water activities (ex: swimming, boating, water fights)?
- Where water comes from?
- How is water used in their houses?
The Origin of Earth
Before the beginning, water was everywhere. But no people, animals, or earth were visible.
There were birds, however, who held a council to decide if it might be best to have all land or all water. "Let us have land, so we can have more food," said some of the birds. Others said, "Let's have all water, because we like it this way".
Subsequently, they appointed Eagle as their Chief who was to decide one way or the other. Eagle decided upon land and asked, "Who will go and search for land?"
Dove volunteered first and flew away. In four days he completed his hunt and returned, reporting, "I could not find land anywhere".
Crawfish came swimming along and was asked by the council to help search for land. He disappeared under the water for four days. When he arose to the surface again, he held some dirt in his claws. He had found some land deep in the water.
Crawfish made a ball of the dirt and handed it to Chief Eagle, who then flew away with it. Four days later he returned and said to the council, "Now there is land, an island has been formed-- follow me!"
The whole bird colony flew after Eagle to see the new land, though it was a very small island. Gradually, the land began to grow larger and larger as the water became lower and lower. More islands appeared and these grew together, creating larger islands into one earth.
Tuskegee (1996). The Origin of Earth. Retrieved from http://www.ilhawaii.net/~stony/lore35.html
There are four activities provided below, three are activities that can be done at a table and one is a physical activity. These can be taught to students in learning stations, or separately, according to the time constraints and the availability of teacher’s aides.
1) Messy Table Activity: Gluep
This Activity can be found in: Kohl, M. (1989). Mudworks: Creative Clay, Dough, and Modeling Experiences. Bright Ring Publishing.
Background Information: Students are strongly receptive and sensitive to the world around them when they use their senses. Gluep is an activity that will activate students’ senses, as it has properties of both solid and liquid states, subsequently initiating the student’s learning through touch. Gluep was developed by Mary Ann Kohl, and published in her book, “Mudworks”. More of her recipes can be found online: http://teachers.net/lessons/posts/1647.html
The Recipe per Child:
- 1TBS Elmer's Glue
- 1 TBS Water
- 2 TSP Borax solution—(60 mL borax + 1 L water)
- Measuring spoons
- Plastic cups
- Spoon or coffee stirrers
- Food colouring (optional)
- Water tray or pan.
- Several hours beforehand, mix borax solution of 60 mL borax (1/4 cup) to 1 litre water; completely dissolve borax and set aside.
- Mix borax solutions, water, food colouring and glue, stirring constantly until gluep takes form.
- Remove from cup and work in palm.
- Try using as silly putty. Have students use mixture to form islands within the water tray or pan. Explain how they are doing something similar to that of the Creation Story they just heard.
2) Cut and Colour Table Activity: Islands
- Brown and blue construction paper (8 ½” x 11”) Glue/glue stick.
- Cut the brown construction paper in half, while leaving the blue whole. Have the students cut up the brown paper into circular pieces to make islands.
- Paste these islands onto the blue paper which is to represent the water.
- Explain how they are doing something similar to that of the Creation Story they just heard about.
3) Creative Art Table Activity: Island Bird
- White Glue
- Paper plates for each table
- Styrofoam balls various sizes
- Sequins (optional)
- Googly craft eyes (optional)
- Yellow felt
- Yellow pipe cleaners
- Bird pictures
- Sticky tack
- Prior to students’ arrivals cut the yellow felt into various small triangles, these will be the beaks. If you do not have the craft eyes cut small circles for the birds’ eyes.
- Looking at pictures of birds, have the children discuss what the characteristics of the birds are. a. What is something that all the pictures of birds have in common? (beaks, feet/legs, feathers...)
- Have each student pick a Styrofoam ball from a selection of various sized Styrofoam balls.
- Instruct the students to roll their ball in white glue which should be located on a paper plate in the centre of the table.
- After rolling it in glue have the child place feathers on the ball.
- Glue on eyes and a beak.
- Shape the pipe cleaner like ] [ to represent legs and feet.
- Place bird on one of the islands from the previous island activity.
- Use sticky tack to keep bird in place.
4) Physical Play Activity: Chief Eagle and Crawfish
- Students gain a deeper understanding of the story “The Origin of Earth”.
- Floor Space in open area
- Identifying markers (picture on nametag or coloured ribbon) for Eagle and Crawfish
- Pieces of paper or rug squares
- Recap the earlier story from language arts. Talk about how the birds elected Eagle Chief.
- Define the parameters of the game:
- An election is done to appoint someone and that person instructs others. Have the students elect a person as their eagle. Have the students do this a few times so other students also get a chance.
- They can only vote for one person. The chief is nominated by the people by a majority vote. Have students raise their hands to vote someone for chief.
- Then have the Chief pick someone to be the Crawfish. Identify and distinguish the Crawfish from the Chief.
- All of the students (other than the chief and the crawfish) are birds. Discuss what birds do, (swim, fly, build nests, and lay eggs).
- The children stand on the outside of the perimeter until the crawfish is done and then they are to land on an island. The Crawfish throws rugs or papers within the circle (representing newly formed islands). There should be one or two less papers/rugs than children.
- Birds who do not find an island, go to the outside of the circle flapping their wings.
- Eagle picks up the rugs/papers when the whistle blows. Eagle takes his/her choice of rugs/papers out of the game.
- Crawfish then distributes the islands again. The birds try to land on an island.
- This continues until there are no islands again and all the birds are flapping their wings on the perimeter of the circle. The game can continue again. Timeframe for each game is about seven-ten minutes.
Resources: Tuskegee (1996).
The Origin of Earth. Retrieved from http://www.ilhawaii.net/~stony/lore35.html
4) Extra Activity: Eagle and Crawfish Chant
- Read this original poem with actions. This can be read and chanted to with the children throughout the duration of the unit.
- Optional: Invite an elder to come in and give a presentation and teach this chant to the children and tell a creation story revolving around water.
Eagle and Crawfish Chant
The birds flew and flew
They were getting so tired
Nothing to sit on
Not even a wire
So they got together Voted for a chief
Chief Eagle told crawfish
“Get me some land”
Crawfish made islands
With trees and sands
So the birdies sat on a tree
They had places to be
And that’s where land came from
According to the Tuskegee
5) Extra Activity: Crab Cracker Critter
Recipe provided by: Kraft
Materials: For each Child please have:
- 1 KRAFT Cheese Slice, quartered
- 4 RITZ Cheese Crackers
- 20 chow mein noodles
- 4 slices stuffed green olives
- PLACE 2 cheese pieces on each of 2 crackers; cover each with second cracker.
- ARRANGE 5 noodles on opposite sides of each stack of crackers to form the "crab's claws". Add olive slices for the "eyes".
Resource: Kraft Dinner. (2007). Crab Cracker Critter. Retrieved from http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/crab-cracker-critter-60590.aspx