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Instructional Plans:  Plants Used for Medicinal and Social Purposes

Lesson 2: Pictures of Aboriginal Plants

This lesson can be conducted in two formats. Option one is for students to access the computer lab and work with a partner. If you select this option have the students computers logged on and already set up on the Student Zone, Photograph Gallery webpage. Option two, and perhaps the most efficient is to print off pictures of the various plants (in colour) ahead of time and mount them on stiff cardboard. This lesson will focus on three different plant types found in a variety of Aboriginal communities in Alberta.

It is important that students know that not every person in the community knew how to use the plants. Elders were often given a special gift of knowing which plants could be used and what they could be used for. This knowledge has been passed down through the generations.

PDF of plant chart

Objectives

Students will:

  • Identify three examples of Aboriginal plants and their medicinal uses
  • Understand that different Aboriginal communities used the same plant for different purposes
  • Develop computer skills
  • Respect Aboriginal peoples traditional practice of utilizing plants as medicine
  • Recognize that their own families may have traditional remedies to cure ailments

If you have chosen option one, begin by having the image of Bearberry (Kinnikinnik) on the screen. Ask students to study the picture and verbally share what they notice about the plant. Using the charts from the Teacher Information section copy the three charts into larger formatting and place on strong cardboard as a visual component for students. Share with students, which Aboriginal communities used the plants and what they used them for. Make sure to note that some plants were used by different communities for different things. Guide students to the next image by rolling over top of the plant photopgraphs. A small pop up will appear with the plants scientific and common name.

If you select option two, copy and paste the chart and photograph side by side and present the information to the students.

Conclude the activity by asking students if they have thought about where their medicines come from. Do they think it is possible that they came from a plant, root, or berry that Aboriginal communities have been using for hundreds of years? Would they be willing to try one of the Aboriginal medicines? Do their own families have any ‘homemade’ medicines or remedies?

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