Koluskap and an Inconvenient Truth

Section One: Project/Lesson Overview

Grade: 9/10

Subject: English Language Arts

Lesson Title: Koluskap and an Inconvenient Truth

Lesson Description: The students will develop critical thinking skills by reading Koluskap and the Giant Beaver and analyzing the text to help understand the values of Wolastoqiyik.

Time Required: 3 x 60 minute classes

Specific Curriculum Outcomes:

  • respond critically to a variety of print and media texts
  • demonstrate an awareness that texts reveal and produce ideologies, identities, and positions 
  • make inferences, draw conclusions, and make supported responses to content, form and structure 
  • use writing and other ways of representing to extend ideas and experiences 
  • reflect on their feelings, values, and attitudes 
  • consistently use the conventions of written language in final products
  • gain a greater appreciation and understanding of Wolastoqiyik and their history, culture, and conditions 

Section Two: Project/Lesson Implementation

Equipment/Materials Required: Access to Shaping the Landscape content and http://www.climatecrisis.net/

Lesson Procedures/Teaching Strategies:

Lesson 1

  1. Brainstorm: Identify behaviours and attitudes that North American society condemns.  Identify the way in which we encourage individuals to behave appropriately
  2. Journal question: From where do Canadians get their ideas about right and wrong? 
  3. Using the web site, Koluskap: Stories from Wolastoqiyik, introduce Koluskap to the class so that students have a firm understanding of his significance to Aboriginal cultures, specifically Wolastoqiyik. Have students research Koluskap further as time permits. 
  4. Introduce the story Koluskap and the Giant Beaver. Each student should have a copy of the story. When finished discuss the following questions:
    1. What role does Koluskap assume in the story?
    2. What is the difference in attitude that Koluskap shows to the bear versus the squirrel and beaver?
    3. What is it that Koluskap values in the bear's attitude?
    4. What attitude doesn't Koluskap value in the squirrel and beaver?
  5. Next, invite the students to look at the images found at Shaping the Landscape to get a better sense of the geography referred to by Koluskap. 
  6. Introduce Task: As he promised when he left them, Koluskap has returned at the request of his people and has encountered large population centers, governments, business and industry instead of beavers, squirrels and bears. Explore the website http://www.climatecrisis.net. Examine the pictures, read about the science and become familiar with the subject of climate change.

Lesson 2 & 3

  1. Write a short story, approximately 300-500 words, graphic tale or lengthy rap song (20 lines minimum) starring Koluskap. In this creative piece, Koluskap "deals" with the destructive values and behaviours of people, society, business and government that allow climate change to continue. 
  2. Peer editing should be introduced in the second class. Either have the due date the end of the third class or assign more time at home to finish.

Suggested Critical Thinking Skills Rubrics: http://wsuctprojectdev.wsu.edu/ctr_docs/CIT%20Rubric%202006.pdf
http://www.rio.maricopa.edu/distance_learning/critical_think_rubric.shtml

Section Three: Project/Lesson Resources
Web-Based Resources:
http://website.nbm-mnb.ca/Koluskap/index.php
http://www.climatecrisis.net/  

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.

Section Four: Additional Information

Modifications: You may wish to give them additional class time to finish the writing if they are struggling writers.


Catherine Decarie, Tantramar Regional High School, Sackville, New Brunswick
c. 2007
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.

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