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IIK by Stacie Roblin




Exploring the Night Sky

Indigenous Inquiry Kit


Created and Written by:


Stacie Roblin

stacieroblin@hotmail.com

Brandon University

Fall 2010


This resource is freely shared by the author whose only request is that she received acknowledgment during all quotations from and/or use of this resource.


Table of Contents


Section I: Overview Page 3

Rationale Page 4

Outcomes Page 5

Annotated Bibliography

Literature Resources Page 7

Non-literature Resources Page 12

Websites Page 13

Educational Documents and Curricula Page 14

Section II: Book Critiques Page 15

Books Used (reviewed)

Review #1 Page 16

Her Seven Brothers

Review #2 Page 19

The Missing Sun

Review #3 Page 22

Keepers of the Night: Nocturnal Stories and Nocturnal

Activities for Children

Review #4 Page 25

Thirteen Moons on Turtles Back: A Native American Year of Moons

Review #5 Page 29

Coyote and the Sky: How the Sun, Moon, and Stars Began

Review #6 Page 32

Star Tales: North American Indian Stories About the Stars

Review #7 Page 36

Star Boy

Review #8 Page 39

Living the Sky: The Cosmos of the American Indian

Additional Books Page 43

Section III: Lesson Plans Page 48

Lesson #1: The Sun (Science) Page 49

Lesson #2: Thirteen Moons (ELA) Page 52

Lesson #3: Aboriginal Myths and Legends (ELA) Page 55

Lesson #4: The Moon and Eclipses (Science) Page 58

Section IV: Resources Page 61


Section I:

Overview


Rationale


A large part of Manitoba’s history involves the Native North American people who lived on this land before we did; many children of these people still live here today. It is important for teachers to integrate aspects of Aboriginal culture into the curricula we teach; not only in social studies but in all subject areas of the curriculum.

When teachers integrate aspects of Aboriginal culture into the different subject areas, it not only teaches students about the Aboriginal culture but it also helps to engage students, especially those who are Aboriginal. The middle years are an important time for children. At this age, students are searching for their own identities and trying to find out who they are and where they belong in life. It is important for teachers to use topics and resources that are relevant to students and that will help them discover who they are as a person.

I have have created this inquiry kit as one way of integrating Aboriginal culture into my future classroom. This kit revolves around two broad aspects of Aboriginal culture:

  • The importance of the night sky and other celestial objects in the everyday lives of Native North American people.

  • The importance of the oral tradition (storytelling and listening) to Aboriginal culture.


Many different aspects of the night sky have played a very important role in the daily lives

of many different Aboriginal groups. The night sky is relatively predictable from year to year and for this reason, different celestial objects have been used during travel, to predict weather, and to describe events that occur each year. Much of this has been passed along through stories from generation to generation.

This kit has been designed to be used in a grade 6 thematic inquiry unit about our solar

system (Grade 6, Cluster 4: Exploring the Solar System), however, it may be used at many different grade levels. This thematic unit can be used to meet outcomes in science, social studies, English Language Arts, and art as well as introduce and teach a variety of different Aboriginal perspectives.

Throughout this unit, students will explore a variety of different Native North American myths and legends about different aspects of the night sky, as well as learn about the solar system that we live in. In this kit, I have included a variety of children’s stories. Many of these books tell wonderful stories and are beautifully illustrated. Even though children at the grade 6 level do not normally read children’s books, these books work very well to introduce different topics and are also great for students at a variety of different reading levels.

This inquiry kit uses a variety of different resources (both literature and non-literature) and I hope that it will help students explore the night sky around them and learn the importance of the oral tradition to Aboriginal people.


Exploring the Night Sky

Thematic Inquiry Unit Outcomes


This kit has been designed as a thematic unit called Exploring the Night Sky designed for grade 6 students. This unit incorporates outcomes from Cluster 4: The Solar System from the Manitoba grade 6 science curriculum, as well as outcomes from the grade 6 English Language Arts curriculum and the grade 6 social studies curriculum. I have also included some of the Aboriginal perspectives that students may gain through this inquiry unit. These perspectives are from the Integrating Aboriginal Perspectives into Curricula document.

Many of the books and items in this Indigenous Inquiry Kit can be used in many different areas across the curriculum and at many different grade levels. The following outcomes are some ways this kit may be used.


Aboriginal Perspectives:


Students will....

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of oral tradition in Aboriginal cultures.




  • Demonstrate awareness of traditional Aboriginal practices associated with the seasonal cycles.




  • Demonstrate awareness of the special significance of celestial objects for the Aboriginal peoples of North America.




  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance of listening in Aboriginal cultures.




  • Demonstrate awareness that Aboriginal stories often have specific teachings or purposes.




  • Demonstrate willingness to retell Aboriginal stories




  • Demonstrate awareness that traditional Aboriginal stories express the uniqueness of each Aboriginal culture.




  • Describe three purposes of Aboriginal stories.


Curriculum Outcomes


Annotated Bibliography

(Literature Resources)


Ahenakew, Freda. (Illus. Sherry Farrell Racette). (1999). Wisahkecahk flies to the moon.

Winnipeg, MB: Pemmican Publishing Inc.

A story about a young boy who decides he would like to fly to the moon. He grabs on to the tail of a crane who flies him to the moon where he sits and admires the beautiful scenery surrounding him (eg. stars, the Earth). As he sits there, the moon starts to change and get smaller. The moon eventually disappears and Wisahkecahk falls back down to Earth and lands in a muskeg. This is a story about the creation of muskegs and it also explains how the crane gets its long legs. This story is told in both English and Cree.


Bourdeau Waboose, Jan. (Illus. Brian Deines). (2001). Sky sisters. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press

Ltd.


This is a story about two sisters who journey through the snow to reach Coyote Hill where they dance in the snow and wait for the SkySpirits to come. While they wait, the girls look at Grandmother Moon and the stars surrounding her. Soon the SkySpirits (northern lights) come and the girls dance beneath them as they watch the lights dance across the sky.


Bruchac, James & Bruchac, Joseph. (Illus. Stefano Vitale). (2008). The girl who helped Thunder

and other Native American folktales. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.

This is a collection of Native American folktales from different regions and tribes of Native North Americans. This collection of stories tells many tales about different aspects of the natural world. There are three stories in this book that relate to the night sky: The Sister and her Seven Brothers, Why Moon Has One Eye, and How Raven Brought Back the Sun.


Bruchac, Joseph, & London, Jonathan. (Illus. Thomas Locker). (1992). Thirteen moons on

Turtles back: A Native American year of moons. New York, NY: Paperstar.


In this book, Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan Landon have told the stories of one moon from each of thirteen different groups of Native Americans. These moons include Moon of Popping Trees (Northern Cheyenne), Baby Bear Moon (Potawatomi), Maple Sugar Moon (Anishinabe), Frog Moon (Cree), Budding Moon (Huron), Strawberry Moon (Seneca), Moon When Acorns Appear (Pomo), Moon of Wild Rice (Menominee), Moose-Calling Moon (Micmac), Moon of Falling Leaves (Cherokee), Moon When Deer Drop Their Horns (Winnebago), Moon When Wolves Run Together (Lakota Sioux), and Big Moon (Abenaki). Each different moon has it’s own poetic story to go along with it that describes why they have named that specific moon.


Bruchac, Joseph & Locker, Thomas. (1998). The Earth under Sky Bear’s feet: Native American

poems of the land. Toronto, ON: Paperstar Publishing.


This is a collection of Native American poems about the land. These poems are about everything that Sky Bear can see from the sky. The first poem in this book is called Sky Bear, which is a poem about the Big Dipper. Each poem is accompanied by a beautiful illustration.


Bruchac, Joseph & Ross, Gayle. (1995), The story of the Milky Way: A Cherokee tale. New York, Ny:

Dial Books.


This retelling of a Cherokee folktale presesnts an explanation for the origin of the Milky Way. When a great spirit dog begins to rob cornmeal belonging to an old couple, the wise Beloved Woman devises a plan for the whole village to frighten the dog away for good. Running away across the sky, the dog leaves a trail of dropped cornmeal, each grain of which becomes a star. Only in the final passage does the reader learn that the Cherokee name for the Milky Way means "the place where the dog ran."


Bushey, Jeanne. (Illus. Vladyana Krykorka). (2004). Orphans in the sky. Calgary, AB: Red Deer

Press.


This is a story about a brother and sister who were forgotten when their people move to a new camp. They wait for them to come back, but they never do. The children do not know what they are going to do; they can’t survive all on their own. This story tells of the journey the children make to go and live amongst the stars. They dance and play in the sky and are known as Sister Lightning and Brother Thunder.


Caduto, Michael. J. & Bruchac, Joseph. (Illus. John Kahionhes Fadden and Carol Wood).

(1997). Keepers of the Earth: Native American stories and environmental activities for children. Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing.


This is a book filled with different Native American stories about the environment as well as activities to accompany each story. The book is divided into 9 different sections: Creation, Earth, Wind and Weather, Water, Sky, Seasons, Plants and Animals, Life, Death and Spirit, and Unity of Earth.


Caduto, Michael. J. & Bruchac, Joseph. (Illus. David Kanietakeron Fadden). (2001). Keepers of

the night: Native stories and nocturnal activities for children. Calgary, AB: Fifth House Publishers.


This book is a collection of aboriginal stories about the things that happen at night as well as activities to accompany these stories. In this book, there is a chapter called Oot-Kwah-Tah, The Seven Star Dancers, which contains this story as well as one called The Creation of the Moon. The discussion ideas and activities relate the night sky to the Native American culture. This book also provides a lot of information about the constellations and the moon including a list of the constellations and when they are visible in specific areas of the world.


Eyvindson, Peter. (Illus. Rhian Brynjolson). (1993). The missing sun. Winnipeg, MB: Pemmican

Publications.


This is a children’s story about a young girl who has just moved from Regina, Saskatchewan to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The girl is told that the sun disappears in the winter but she does not believe it is true until it actually happens for the first time while she is living there. Her Aboriginal friends tell her the story of how Raven stole the sun, but Emily is reluctant to believe this because her mother had explained to her that the reason that the sun disappears every year is because of the Earth’s rotation and tilt.

At first, Emily does not mind having no sun but soon she starts to miss it and asks the raven to bring it back to them. Eventually, the sun does come back, but according to to her friend, it is a brand new (and much brighter sun). It is not the sun that Raven stole from them.


Garcia, Emmett, “Shkeme.” (Illus. Victoria Pringle). (2006). Coyote and the sky: How the sun,

moon, and stars began. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.


This is a story about the Animal People’s journey from the Third World (their world) into the fourth world (our world). The only animal who was not allowed to come was Coyote because he is known for being a trickster. When they arrived in the Fourth World, there was no light so they returned to the Third World for help. The Animal People brought back burning hot coals which they flung into the sky and these became the sun. But then night came and it was completely dark again. Again, they returned for help.

This time, they returned with many more coals which they, again, flung into the sky. This became our moon but this still was not bright enough for them, so they returned for more coals again. This time, Coyote snuck into the Fourth World with them. Instead of immediately throwing these coals into the sky, they drew pictures with them for awhile. Before they had the coals bundled again, Coyote snuck up behind them and flung the coals into the sky. These became our stars and our constellations.


Goble, Paul. (1988). Her Seven Brothers. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.


This is a story about a young Cheyenne girl who did not have any brothers or sisters. This girl has a vision of seven brothers living in the north country with no sisters. She decides to make a beautiful shirt and pair of moccasins for each of the seven brothers as an offering for them to accept her as their sister when she finds them. The brothers were very proud to have this girl as their sister and became very protective of her as time went on.

One day, the chief of the Buffalo Nation comes to the tipi of the seven brothers and demands that they give him their sister or else he will kill them all. They refuse and the chief returns with all of the Buffalo People to kill the brothers and take the sister. The brothers are not sure what to do but the littlest brother shoots an arrow into the ground and a pine tree appears. They all climb up it and continue to shoot arrows up and climb until they are up amongst the stars, where they will remain forever.

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