Grade levels: 8-10

Lesson Objective: The Learner Will Be Able To:
  1. Describe how different parts of animals were used in traditional lifestyle.
  2. Explain how different rocks and minerals were used.
  3. Understand that the process of innovation and technological development has always been a part of the human experience, regardless of culture and time period.


  • Computers with internet access
  • Note-taking handout
  • Reference materials on First Nations traditional technology (such as Part of the Land, Part of the Water)
  • If you have access to different rocks and minerals, try to have some flint, copper and obsidian in the classroom for students to see and touch.
  • Pens, pencils

Lesson Process:

1. For the first 20 minutes, students will again go to the Mount Logan website, the First Nations section and the Traditional Knowledge subsection. This time, they will use their notes sheets with the Traditional Technology section.

2. The second portion of the class (20 minutes again) will be spent researching traditional technology among various First Nations. Students may wish to find out more about obsidian, flint, and other items mentioned in this section. They can search for information or images of these items. If you can bring any of these materials to class for personal experience, that would be best. (HINT: there are people who have learned to flake obsidian cores. Call local first nations or college/university anthropology departments to inquire. There may be a class visitor or a short video clip they could provide.) Emphasize that innovation and the development of technology has always been a part of the human experience, regardless of culture or time period. Challenge students to prove this through their research. Note the complexity of cultural knowledge, and the depth of the interrelationships with the land, plants and animals. See who can find the most interesting examples of technology among First Nations groups.

3. The final portion of the class will once again be devoted to individual expression and understanding. Divide the class into groups. Hand each group a small shoe box containing various materials (rocks, leather, rawhide, dried grasses, dried berries, antler, bone, etc.) Each group must work together to determine how they could use each item if they had to depend on themselves to live a traditional nomadic lifestyle. They must write down the various useful attributes of each substance. For example, a fur might be considered to be warm, soft, waterproof, insulating, flexible, strong etc. Rawhide strips might be strong, tough, tie-able, durable, flexible, etc. Once they have listed the useful attributes, they can then imagine all of the different uses they could put each material to. For example, rawhide strips can be used for house construction, clothing, footwear ties, packs, weapon and tool construction, etc...

4. Have each group share what they have come up with. Then, for the last ten minutes of class, challenge the groups to build something with their materials. It could be a mini-shelter, tool, weapon, item of clothing, etc...

5. Finish off the class by discussing the thousands of objects, plants, animals, etc... in the natural environment of the Southern Tutchone. The people had to learn about each and every item in order to discover its usefulness. They had to become experts about the nutritional, medical, and other useful attributes of hundreds of plants, to know the different qualities of various kinds of wood for building, tool and weapon making, how to use every part of an animal for different purposes, how to make waterproof storage containers and carrying containers, etc. This vast realm of cultural knowledge is often taken for granted by modern society, and many people don’t realize how intense and necessary the process of innovation has always been for humanity.