Section One: Project/Lesson Overview

Grade: 10

Subject: Science

Lesson Title: Nature Based Art

Lesson Description: Collect and analyse resources in the ecosystem to enhance understanding of cultural diversity and sustainability of ecosystems. Natural materials subsequently used to produce original works of art.

Time Required: 4 x 60 minute classes

Curriculum Outcomes:

  • propose a course of action on social issues related to science and technology, taking into account human and environmental needs. 
  • explain various ways in which natural populations are kept in equilibrium, and relate this equilibrium to the resource limits of an ecosystem 
  • explain how biodiversity of an ecosystem contributes to its sustainability 
  • analyse the impact of external factors on an ecosystem 
  • plan changes to, predict the effects of, and analyse the impact of external factors on an ecosystem 
  • select, compile, and display evidence and information from various sources, in different formats, to support a given view in a presentation about the ecosystem change 
  • communicate questions, ideas, and intentions, and receive, interpret, understand, support, and respond to the ideas of others in preparing a report about ecosystem change 
  • propose and defend a course of action on a multi-perspective social issue. 
  • gain a greater appreciation and understanding of Wolastoqiyik and their history, culture, and conditions

Section Two: Project/Lesson Implementation

Equipment/Materials Required: Access to Art of the Land Learning Object content
Rocks, paints, brushes

Lesson Procedures/ Teaching Strategies:

  1. Introduce subject by exploring the web site, Koluskap: Stories from Wolastoqiyik (url below) 
  2. Have students examine the Art of the Land Learning Object content. Discuss the designs and make the connections between the materials and designs and the ecosystem. 
  3. Present the web site, Wolastoqiyik: Portrait of a People (url below) to the study and to examine and research the photographic journey for Wolastoqey designs 
  4. Wolastoqiyik have used painting for centuries for several reasons:
    a. As a way of recording events and leaving or sending messages
    b. As way of distinguishing one group from another
    c. Cave and rock paintings (Pictographs and Petroglyphs) 
  5. The class will participate in a field trip in search for rocks to paint. Teachers and students should offer tobacco to Mother Earth whenever something is taken from the environment. 
  6. Present information on how rocks are original material from Mother Earth and are important to Aboriginal people. The students will know that rocks are a symbol of stability. Wolastoqiyik use rocks for many reasons:
    a. Grandfathers are rocks from the river bank. These rocks are used for Sweatlodges. They bring the spirits of the grandfathers. Three hours before the Sweatlodge begins the rocks are heated hot enough to turn red. A certain number of grandfathers are brought into the lodge. Water is poured on the hot rocks to create steam. This serves as purification for those in the Sweat lodge.
    b. Rocks with beautiful designs, special encouraging messages can be given as gifts. 
  7. Note to students that, “symbols”, as we know them today, were not simply “put on”. This was an activity done by medicine people. Ceremonies, songs, and healings were put on scrolls for future medicine people. The practice was extended to stones, as well; whether chipped in or painted on. Art, as it is called today, had a spiritual purpose. 
  8. As activity progresses, also initiate a discussion concerning cultural appropriation of motifs and symbols. Talk about the pros and cons of using elements from another culture in creating contemporary works. 
  9. Using the web site, class discussions, and other research as inspiration, have students paint their rocks with traditional designs.

Suggested Assessment Strategies:
The students will be assessed based on their research, and presentation.

Section Three: Project/Lesson Resources

Supplementary Resources:
http://website.nbm-mnb.ca/Koluskap/index.php  
http://www.gnb.ca/0007/Heritage/virtual_exibition/Portraits/Welcome.htm  

Disclaimer: The recommended web-resources included here have been scrutinized for their grade and age appropriateness; however, contents on links on the Internet change continuously. It is advisable that teachers preview all links before recommending them to students.

Extensions: The teacher can generate this to several projects:

1. Differentiate various uses of rocks.
• Environmental; ceremonies
• Utilitarian; building around the home
• Economic; selling rocks, birthstones
• Medicinal; therapeutic, rocks slow us down so we can gather our thoughts.
• Aesthetic; gifts
2. Use of field trip to the river
3. Invite an Wolastoqew person to the classroom to demonstrate Wolastoqey designs
4. Invite an Wolastoqew person to explain the importance connection between Aboriginal People to Mother Earth.


Gail Nicholas, Southern Victoria High School, Perth-Andover, New Brunswick
c. 2007
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.

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