Aboriginal Perspectives


Number Concepts

Jessica Wesaquate


Number (Number Concepts)

Grade Level:


Subject Area:



Main Objective:

Students will use numbers to describe quantities and represent numbers in multiple ways.

General Outcome:

Recognize and apply whole numbers from 0 to 100.

Specific Outcomes:

Count orally by 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s to 100.


Small rocks (50 per student), class set of calculators, 50cm long strips of old newspaper, Tim Haywahe still image “closer view”

  1. Give each student a set of small rocks. Teach students about the significance of rocks to First Nations culture. Rocks play an integral part of the sweat ceremony where they are seen as grandfather rocks. They are also seen as animate versus inanimate in western culture.

    You can gather rocks in buckets as a class for this activity.

    For this part of the activity give each student 28 small rocks. Have students estimate how many counters they think you gave them. Once they have estimated, they can write that number down in their math journal or workbook. After their estimates are written down, have them count the exact number of rocks. Have the count by 2s to make a set of 28. Also have them count by 2s to create a set of 25.

    Students will have determined they have 28 small rocks. Have them finish the counting of a set to 50 – they will have to determine how many more rocks they need. With the set of 50 rocks, have them make three piles from least to greatest.

  2. Talk about the significance of the land to First Nations peoples. Take for example the Plains Cree Indians and how they used every part of the buffalo as not to waste. Teach students about taking this same worldview into the now. For this next activity the students are going to re-use newspaper for an activity. Once the activity is done the newspaper can be recycled. Newspaper is usually ready available as the school usually subscribes to the local paper or students can be asked to bring it from home.

    Teacher preparation: Cut strips of old newspaper into strips of strips of about 50 cm long (cut to the size of adding machine tape).

    Give a calculator to each student in the classroom. Show students how to skip count by 2s to 20 using the keys. Have students predict each number to come up before pressing the key each time. Have them do the same with skip counting 5s to 50. Let students work together to find out it if is faster to count by 2s or by 5s to get to 50. Ask them how they figured out the solution.

    Go back to skip counting by 5s. As students use the keys to skip count by 5s, have them copy these numbers down in increments on their newspaper strips.

  3. Go to the Tim Haywahe section and open or print off the still image called ‘Closer View.’ Have students count the number of eyes by counting by 2s and the fingers of Tim, his son and the girls. You could also have them skip count by 10s.