Families of the Past


09 March 2010


Families of the Past

by Jessica Wesaquate and Andrea Rogers

Grade Level:

Three to Four


Heritage--Families of the Past (Saulteaux/Ojibway First Nations)


Students will learn that past lifestyles are different than lifestyles of today.

Students will be able to compare and contrast children of the past and the present.

Pre-requisite Knowledge:

Venn diagram

Set/Introduction Activity:

Before teaching this lesson, have your students interview with their family members to find out what the past was like. They can interview parents/guardians, grandparents or community members. They can brainstorm five questions they will ask, or prepare a questionnaire for them to take home.

Ideas for Questions:

"What do you find is the biggest difference between the present and the past?"

"What types of chores where you expected to do?

"What types of technology did you have?"

Once you have given students some time to interview family members or members of the community, have a class discussion on the questions and answers that students had.

Invite a community elder from the area into your classroom to share what life was like for him or her growing up. Have them share how life has changed for the children and youth of today.

Activity: Have students watch the tipi raising video titled 'overview' or all of the videos. Explain to the students that in the past, First Nations youth were responsible for helping the women put up the tipi. The old peoples would teach them about the tipi and the ways of life. Discuss how this is different and similar from the roles children have today.

Another part of the First Nations children's lifestyle was playing games. Ask students what types of games they play today out on the playground or in their communities. The games First Nations children were accustomed to playing helped them build skills like balance and swiftness. Again, discuss how this is similar and different from the students' lifestyles today.

After students have had the opportunity to interview family members, learn from an elder, as well as hear the information you provide them as the teacher, have them do a two paragraph assignment.

In the first paragraph, have them pretend they went back in history.
They can go back to the time of a young Aboriginal girl/boy in a certain time frame, or choose someone from their family, or have them choose their own idea.
It will be called "A day in the life of ____________" What would their day consist of?

In the second paragraph, have students write a day in the life of themselves. After they have completed their writing piece, have them discuss in partners and groups how they were similar and different than the character they wrote about.

As a class, create a large Venn diagram on the chalk/white board. As the teacher, you will record on the board as students share how they were similar and different than their characters.


writing rubric

Alternative Activities:

You can have students research and look at the Metis ways of life. What was life like for Metis children growing up? This is a good opportunity to invite a Metis member of the community in your classroom to share what life was like for them growing up.



Aboriginal Perspectives is supported by the University of Regina, the Imperial Oil Foundation, the Canadian Mathematical Society and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences.

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