Aboriginal Perspectives


Addition and Subtraction

Jessica Wesaquate


Number (Number Operations)

Grade Level:


Subject Area:



Main Objective:

Students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of and proficiency with calculations.

  • Decide which arithmetic operation or operations can be used to solve a problem and then solve the problem.

General Outcome:

Demonstrate awareness of addition and subtraction.

Specific Outcomes:

Represent the processes of addition and subtraction through role-playing and the use of manipulatives.


Pencils, paper, felt (activity 4)

Related Video:

Tipi Raising with Tim Haywahe and ‘Little Sisters’


Before facilitating activities with students show them some or all of the tipi raising videos with Tim Haywahe. You can tell your students that the tipi raising was done behind the First Nations University of Canada. The overview tipi raising video will introduce your students to Tim, his son, and the Little Sisters from the Big Sisters program. You should familiarize your students with those people because they will be present in the following questions:

  1. If two little sisters are at the First Nations University of Canada and one more little sister comes over, how many students are now at the First Nations University of Canada?

  2. If two little sisters are lifting poles for Mr. Haywahe, how many more students can join them, if six little sisters want to help out?

  3. Six little sisters are putting up a tipi. Two little sisters left to have a bannock snack. How many students are left to put up the tipi?

  4. This activity can be facilitated using a felt board and felt pieces. Teacher preparation: create a felt board and long strips of brown felt to represent tipi poles. Have a student volunteer place up three poles on the felt board to represent the tripod. Have another student place four poles lying on the ground. Ask the students how many poles in total are on the felt board? Ask another student to take off two of the poles lying on the ground. Now ask them how many poles in total are left? Try different combinations after this one so all students can be involved.

Have students record their answers in a math journal.