Aboriginal Perspectives


Applying Measurement to Real Life

Jessica Wesaquate and Andrea Rogers



Grade Level:




Cross-curricular ideas:

Social Studies – significance of the tipi to Aboriginal peoples
Physical Education – tipi raising with the students


Students will be able to indicate the best methods of measurement given an item

Pre-requisite learning:

methods of measurement, background on the tipi

Discussion opportunities:

Elder Glen Anaquod says that when setting up a tipi, “it always depends on your observation skills, so you watch.”  How does observation skills fit into math class?  Who do we observe on a daily basis that teaches us things? (Teachers, peers, coaches, parents).

Introduction Activity:

Grade fours should be able to state the best method of measurement when given a particular situation. Test them with this question a set/introduction to this lesson. "You have to measure the length and width of a medium-sized canvas for a tipi, what is your best method of measurement and why?"

On the (chalk/white) board, post different pictures.  One of the items will be a tipi, one a birch bark biting, and then other culturally appropriate pictures* of small and large items.  On individual sticky notes, use a dark marker to write measurement methods.  Have students match the sticky notes to the pictures to indicate which measurement method they would use to measure each item.

You can also make a handout comprised of pictures where students record the best measurement method to use when measuring different items. Pictures can be found online, or scanned from books.

* Culturally appropriate pictures:

It is essential that students be taught using visuals that are not stereotypical.  First Nations people should not be portrayed as buckskins and feathers.  Tipis are significant to the culture.

The following points summarize Saskatchewan Education's expectations for the appropriate inclusion of Indian and Métis content in curriculum and instruction.

Curricula and materials will concentrate on positive images of Indian,
Métis, and Inuit peoples.

Curricula and materials will reinforce and complement the beliefs and values of Indian, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

Curricula and materials will include historical and contemporary issues.

A strong curriculum emphasis will be given to Indian/Métis Studies,
Indian languages, and English language development.

Curricula and materials will reflect the legal, cultural, historical, political, social, economic, and regional diversity of Indian, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

Saskatchewan Education. (1995).
Indian and Métis Education Policy from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Regina, SK: Author, p. 10.