Aboriginal Perspectives

 

Sums, Differences and the Fur Trade

Alison Kimbley

 

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Subject Area:

Mathematics

Strand:

Number

Grade Level:

Four

Content (topic)

Exploring the Addition of Whole Numbers

WNCP:

Outcome N4.2:

Demonstrate an understanding of addition of whole numbers with answers to 10 000 and their corresponding subtractions (limited to 3 and 4-digit numerals) by:

  • Using personal strategies for adding and subtracting

  • Estimating sums and differences

  • Solving problems involving addition and subtraction.

Indicators:

  1.  Estimate sums and differences using different strategies (font end estimation.)

  2. Explain the strategies used to determine a sum or difference.

Mathematical Processes:

Communication
Connections
Mental mathematics and estimation
Problem solving
Reasoning

Lesson Preparation

Equipment/materials:

  • The invoice of some of the trading goods sent over from England 1706. (Appendix A)
  • A table that recorded some of the goods remaining from the previous year. (Appendix B)

Advanced Preparation:

Presentation

Development

  • Explain to the students that the fur trade was one of the earliest and most important industries in North America and it played a role in developing North America.  The fur trade started shortly after contact in 1500 between First Nations people and Europeans.  Aboriginal people traded furs for implements, cloth, weaponry and other supplies, which aided in the quality of their livelihood.

  • Soon after the European people began trading with the Aboriginal people they  realized that their currency system was worthless and practical items would suit their lifestyle better.  Therefore beaver pelts soon became a currency, and items were measured against the value of the beaver pelt.  The Hudson Bay Company developed a system, which calculated the number of beaver pelts required to purchase other goods. 

  • Hand out a copy of the two shipment tables from Fort Albany to all students, appendices A and B.

  • Provide students with the worksheet (appendix C) or other questions, which will require them to solve problems, involving addition and subtraction of two or more numbers.

  • As a class brainstorm a variety of different strategies used to determine a sum or a difference. Write each of these strategies down along with an example using the questions provided in the worksheet.  

Appendix A:  

The text below is extracted from the Albany Fort America Journal of 1706. Fort Albany was a fur-trading post in northern Ontario, at the mouth of the Albany River on James Bay. It was founded (before 1682) by the Hudson's Bay Company as one of its earliest forts.

The invoice of some of the trading goods sent over from England to Michael Grimington, commander of the Royal Hudson Bay.

5584 Ibs powder
20162 Ibs shot
350 kettles
25 Ibs black lead
100 Ibs thread
450 guns
4000 flints
24 bayonets
2200 needles
72 pairs of shoes

144 powder horns
216 tobacco boxes
3456 pewter buttons
72 Pairs of shoes
3184 yard broadcloth
271 yards baize
288 fire steels
500 worms
3456 pewter buttons

Appendix B:  

The text below is extracted from the Albany Fort America Journal of 1706. Fort Albany was a fur-trading post in northern Ontario, at the mouth of the Albany River on James Bay. It was founded (before 1682) by the Hudson's Bay Company as one of its earliest forts.

Some of the remaining trading goods from the previous year’s account

430 Ibs powder
8477 Ibs shot
149 kettles
601/2 Ibs thread
78 guns
1564 flints
29 bayonets
308 fire steels
96 lbs lead

154 powder horns
83 tobacco boxes
8108 pewter buttons
12 Pairs of shoes
03/4 yard broadcloth
50 yards baize
691 worms
700 pewter buttons

Appendix C:  

Worksheet
  1. According to the invoice 72 pairs of shoes were ordered; check the list of remaining trade items and calculate the total pairs of shoes.

  2. After receiving the new shipment the shopkeeper found that he had 83 pounds of black lead. How many pounds of black lead remained from the previous year's account?

  3. 149 kettles were remaining from the previous year and 350 kettles were ordered, how many kettles are there in total?

  4.  According to the invoice there were 3456 pewter buttons ordered; check the list of remaining trade items and calculate the total numbers of buttons.

  5. After receiving the new shipment the shopkeeper found that he had 2780 needles. How many needles remained from the previous year's account?