Students identify the most significant similarities and differences among two or more Aboriginal groups, i.e., First Nations, Métis and Inuit, in different regions of Canada. To make these comparisons, students examine the ways of life of Aboriginal peoples, including the culture, spiritual beliefs and the relationship with the natural environment.
To meet diverse learning needs, provide students with a visual summary of Aboriginal ways of life, e.g., culture, spiritual beliefs and relationship with the natural environment, in various regions of Canada.
Review similarities and differences among Aboriginal groups
For this activity, use the wall chart created in Be an Anthropologist/Archaeologist (Critical Challenge). Review information on ways of life and encourage students to notice the similarities and differences among the various Aboriginal groups.
Ask students to consider whether some similarities and differences are more significant than others.
Develop criteria for biggest similarity and difference
As a class, discuss the criteria for the biggest similarity, such as:
- is common to all/both
- impacts greatly on the way of life for all/both.
Discuss also the criteria for the biggest difference, such as:
- greatly impacts on the way of life for one but not both/others.
Post the criteria on a wall chart for later use.
Form groups of two or three students and ask them to identify the most significant similarity in the ways of life for each feature across the regions; e.g., the biggest similarity in daily life, relationship to the land, culture for Aboriginal peoples of the Northwest Coast, central Canada, eastern Canada. Direct students to focus initially on similarities before examining differences.
You may want to adapt the chart in Considering Options (Support Material) to structure and assess students' comparisons.
To meet diverse learning needs, ask students to identify the biggest similarity and difference between their assigned people and another group's assigned people.
Illustrate or write about the biggest similarity and difference
After comparisons are complete, review the decisions to be sure they are based on the above criteria. Invite students to illustrate or write, individually, about the biggest similarity and difference they notice among the Aboriginal groups.
Share writing and drawings on biggest similarities and differences
As students share their findings, be sure to qualify potentially stereotypical claims, such as "All Aboriginal peoples are...," with more measured conclusions; e.g., "The groups we are examining seem to..." or "Traditionally, some Aboriginal peoples were..."