Exploring Values Towards Conservation
Each group of students will read a First Nation story, identify the values expressed in it and discuss how these values relate to conservation issues we face today. With the knowledge that Elders and other respected community members have important stories to tell, students will then seek out stories relevant to climate change from their own Elders and respected community members.
Time Required: 2-2 hours
To help students to define First Nation “values” and recognize the relevance of First Nation stories to today’s conservation issues – including climate change.
1.Divide the class into three groups and give each group one of the stories from Life Lived Like a Story to read.
◦For lessons on the value of respect read “Skookum Jim’s Frog Helper” (pp. 57-62). In this story, as told by Mrs. Angela Sidney, Skookum Jim assists a frog and this frog turns into to a beautiful woman who points him to the discovery of gold. Skookum Jim’s kindness, understanding, compassion and service to others are rewarded by material wealth, which is to be used in moderation and in balance.
◦For lessons on the value of connectedness read “How Animals Broke Through the Sky” (pp. 48-9). As told by Mrs. Angela Sidney, animals use thinking, analyzing, awareness and clear vision to help them through apparent climate change. The animals in this story are committed to universal life values and high moral conduct (essential characteristics in the development of one’s higher self).
◦For lessons on the value of conservation read “Kaax’achgook” (pp. 139-145). As told by Mrs. Angela Sidney, Kaax’achgook takes only what he needs and uses everything. This story is about balance, completion, reflection and contemplation. Kaax’achgook gives us a sense of how to live a balanced life.
2.Ask each student to consider some or all of the questions in the Teacher Handout: Question and Answer Key, and to write out their answers on paper. Each small group can then discuss their answers.
3.Ask a student from each group to present a verbal summary of the discussion his or her group had about one of the questions.
4.To reinforce and clarify the lesson, summarize on a flip chart with the whole class the key values identified in each story. Examine how these values relate to conservation behaviour today that would help reduce climate change.
5.Ask each group to interview a community resource person or storyteller about climate change. It is strongly recommended that the teacher be familiar with appropriate and accepted methods for interviewing community members and reviews these with the students. Encourage students to learn interview/research techniques that are appropriate to the culture, community and individual. Make sure that interviewees know how their stories will be used, and offer to give them copies of the results if they would like them. Students should prepare some questions beforehand, and identify who will ask which questions. This activity could take place in the school, if interviewees are willing to come in, or could take place after school hours. Consider placing any transcripts in the school or local library.
6.Ask students to identify the similarities and differences between the stories in Life Lived Like a Story and their own research findings by recording their ideas as a group on a wall mural or on paper.
Each group will then work their findings into a presentation format. They may do this in whatever way is most effective. For example, they may present a wall mural, distribute copies of an essay, or create an audio documentary (a radio-style documentary) that they play to the class, or use a combination of all of the above.
7.Post the results from activity step 5 in the classroom.
The stories mentioned throughout this lesson plan are found in Part Two of: Julie Cruikshank, “Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders,” (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1991), pp. 57-62, 48-9, 139-145.
Define the terms: “values”, “conservation” and “global warming.” Identify examples of each of the following, as they relate to conservation: personal responsibility, group responsibility, school responsibility, town responsibility, national responsibility, and international responsibility. The exercises in the Activities section will also evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson.
Source:Climate Change North
Resource Type:Lesson Plan
Subject(s):English / Language Arts, Social Studies, Aboriginal Studies,
Topic:Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Solutions,
Level:Intermediate / MiddleSecondary
Grade: 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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