Aboriginal Perspectives


Size and Weight

Jessica Wesaquate

Subject Area:



Shape and Space (Measurement)

Grade Level:



Main Objective:

Students will describe and compare everyday phenomena, using direct or indirect measurement.

General Outcome:

Estimate, measure and compare, using standard units for length and primarily nonstandard units for other measures.

Specific Outcomes:

  1. Estimate, measure, record, compare and order the mass (weight) of objects, using nonstandard units.

  2. Recognize that the size and shape of an object does not necessarily determine its mass (weight).

  3. Estimate and measure the passage of time related to minutes and hours.


Activity One:
a piece of hide, a dowel, piece of rope, Glen Anaquod or Tim Haywahe tipi raising ‘Overview’ video

Activity Two:
Lacrosse ball, beach ball (or inflated balloon)

Activity Three:
YouTube video on lacrosse, Glen Anaquod or Tim Haywahe tipi raising ‘Overview’ video

Activity/Lesson Ideas:

  1. Watch Glen Anaquod or Tim Haywahe tipi raising ‘Overview’ video. Have students brainstorm what types of things are needed to put up a tipi after seeing the video (canvas, poles, pegs, rope). Using material that is the same, or mimicking, the students are going to compare the weight of objects used in a tipi rising. The first item is a piece of hide, the second a dowel (which mimics the poles), and a piece of rope (found at the dollar store).

    Which is the heaviest…a piece of hide, the dowel or a piece of rope? Students can order the three objects from lightest to heaviest. Use yellow hexagon pattern blocks and a balance scale to find the weight of each object. Use your numbers to check your predicted order. Ask students to check if their estimates are correct. Have them explain.

    Pictorially, have students order the actual objects from the tipi rising from lightest to heaviest. How does this compare to the manipulatives used for this activity?

  2. Walk around the classroom and show students a lacrosse ball. Ask students to volunteer to share one thing they can see about the ball (color, shape). Let students feel weight of the ball as well. Show students a beach ball or inflated balloon and again ask them to share some attributes and give them a feel of its weight.

    Talk about the history of lacrosse and its connection with Aboriginal culture.

    Pose this question to the students: Can something be heavier than something that is large? Using a balance scale, see if students can find two items in the classroom that can prove this statement.

  3. Have students estimate the number of time units you need for the following activities:

    Before students make their estimations on the following, show them a YouTube video on lacrosse and one of the ‘Overview’ videos from Tim Haywahe or Glen Anaquod tipi rising.

    • Minutes needed to play a game of lacrosse up to ten minutes.
    • Hours you need to put up a tipi.

    How do students think the estimates can be checked? (Play an actual game of lacrosse, or research through books or the net on time it takes to put up a tipi).