Lesson Three: Traditional Watercraft
Aboriginal People built a wide range of watercraft for specific environments and to collect different types of food. The canoe was an essential element of Aboriginal hunting encampments across Canada, both for travel and gathering game. In the following lessons, students will research and create one model of the various canoes that were in existence in the late 1800s to early 1900s.
Ask students to think back to the early days of Canadian exploration. What was one of the major ways in which Aboriginal People and explorers moved about the country? The aim is to get students to identify water as a source of transportation. Ask students in small groups to compile a list of all the different types of boats used (this can be both a contemporary or traditional list) as well as reasons why people used boats.
On the board write the following questions and have students answer the questions verbally.
Break students into ten groups with two-to-three members each as correlates with your classroom demographics.
Download, print, and laminate the following ten historical photographs of different variations of Aboriginal canoes. Each group will receive one of the historical photographs and will conduct a research project on the type of canoe illustrated in their photograph. It is up to your discretion to determine what format of reporting you would like students to do. However, students will need to study/interpret the information provided with the photo to make an educated guess as to which Aboriginal group may have utilized that particular canoe. In their research project, students will endeavor to answer the following questions:
After each group has completed their research randomly pair two groups together. These larger groups will now compare their canoe to each other. Collectively all of the research findings from the class as a whole will be complied to create a database on Aboriginal traditional watercraft.