Nunavut - Flag and Coat of Arms

Nunavut Flag and Coat of Arms

Grade level            

This lesson plan is designed to be used with students aged 12-15 years.


Students will locate and label Nunavut on a map of Canada/North America and will learn and research key facts. After learning and discussing the symbolism of both the flag and the coat of arms, students will work in pairs and create either a new flag or a new coat of arms for their school or community. Students will write a description of their creation, explaining why each item is included and supporting their decisions with facts about their school or community.

Time required           

1-1/2 to 2 class periods (estimated)



1       Ask students to share what they know about the Arctic Circle. Explain that the Canadian Arctic is the region covering the portion of Canada north of the Arctic Circle. Show region on overhead map.

2       Explain that a second definition of the Canadian Arctic is the region north of the tree line. Ask students what they think that definition means? Explain that this portion of Canada is farther north than trees can grow.

3       Ask students if anyone has heard the term Nunavut. Explain that Nunavut, the Inuktitut word for "our land," is a territory that spans two million square kilometers of Canada (1,242,742 square miles), and was created April 1, 1999. Inuit represent approximately 85% of the population.

4       Write "Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit" on the board. Explain that IQ is the traditional knowledge and wisdom of Inuit. "IQ is defined as the Inuit way of doing things and the past, present and future knowledge, experience and values of Inuit society."
~ Nunavut Social Development Council, 1999

      IQ shapes the government, business and day-to-day life in Nunavut.

5       Give students two-sided maps (one side: map of Canada, second side: map of Nunavut). Have overhead copies of both maps. Guide students through tracing of Nunavut on map of Canada.

6       Turn to map of Nunavut. What is the capital of Nunavut? (Iqualuit: approximate population 6,000).

7       Have students locate Igloolik. Remind students that Igloolik is the home of Isuma Productions, the company responsible for Atanarjuat The Fast Runner and The Journals of Knud Rasmussen.

8       Explain that none of Nunavut is accessible by road or rail, with the exception of one government-maintained road, which runs 21 kilometers from Arctic Bay to Nanisivik (point out on map). Everything, including people, supplies, and food, arrives by plane or sealift. Ask students how they think this physical isolation affects the cost of living? (high cost of living throughout territory) Why?

9       Pass out copies of the flag of Nunavut and the coat of arms (also have overhead copies). Read through the descriptions of their symbolism, taking time to locate the items mentioned in the descriptions and to discuss their significance.

10       Break up students into pairs or small groups. Explain that each pair is going to design a flag or coat of arms for their school or community. Groups are to research the history of their school or community and choose items of significance, using the Nunavut flag and coat of arms as templates.


Allow students time to conduct additional research and complete their flags or coat of arms. Students must also write a description on the symbolism of their creation, supporting their choices with facts about their school or community.

Have students share and display their flags and coats of arms.


Isuma Publishing - a division of Igloolik Isuma Productions:

Kessler, Deirdre, Isuma Teacher's Resource Guide, Montreal: Isuma Publishing, 2004

Robinson, Gillian, Isuma Inuit Studies Reader, Montreal: Isuma Publishing, 2004



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