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For Teachers

The story of Claire and her Grandfather is designed to enhance young people's awareness of some of the many contributions and inventions by Aboriginal people. The story is meant to be a versatile teaching tool for children ages 7-12, although older students might enjoy the story and its images. Teachers of children in the target age group can use the story to initiate a broader examination of the many historical and contemporary contributions of First Nations and Inuit to Canada and the world.

Teachers and parents are encouraged to contact local Aboriginal communities, Cultural Education Centres and Friendship Centres to obtain more in-depth information on Aboriginal people, culture and issues. A list of contacts for major Aboriginal organizations is provided at the end of this publication for those wishing to obtain specific information on their region.

A glossary of words used in the story is provided at the end of this publication.

Teachers are authorized to reproduce Claire and her Grandfather as needed for their classroom or school use.

Learning Outcomes

Students could be expected to:

  • describe how Aboriginal people contributed to the development of Canada (e.g. with respect to food, transportation, exploration, the arts and technology);
  • identify contributions that Aboriginal people made to pioneer settlements;
  • describe various plants used in food preparation (i.e. vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs);
  • demonstrate an awareness of Aboriginal place names.

In addition to its story and the images children can colour, Claire and her Grandfather opens the way for various related activities which teachers can introduce within the existing curriculum. While you will have many ideas on how to introduce this material to students and make it relevant, you may want to consider some of the following suggested activities:

Suggested Related Activities Identify - Ask students to identify what they think was the most important contribution or invention they learned about from the story, and describe how this has been used through time. Have students prepare a written story or presentation showing what Canada might have been like without this contribution.

Research - Have students research additional Aboriginal place names in your area or region. The meaning of the name might be illustrated through artwork; for example, names that translate as "flowing river" or "place of caribou bones."

Compare - Ask students to compare their family with Claire's. Have them try to identify contributions their own culture or cultures have made to Canada. Have students identify things and traditions that have been transmitted from one generation to another in their families. Students should come to understand that all cultural groups - including Aboriginal peoples - have a rich heritage.

Ask - Present students with reflective questions after introducing each contribution or invention. Examples: "What impact has this particular contribution had on our lives today?" "Why was this invention necessary and how might it be used today?" "How have modern transportation methods changed traditional lifestyles?" "How are modern canoes built?" "How does that modern version differ from original designs?" "Why hasn't the basic design changed?"

Discuss - What does "community" mean? Why is community important for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people? Have students identify the different communities in which they live: family, religious, neighbourhood, sports, ethnic/racial, cultural, language, etc. Have students research the similarities and differences between their own community and various Aboriginal communities.

Storytelling - In a group storytelling session, ask students to share treasured stories or legends from their family history or their cultures. Have students ask their grandparents or other family members for stories important to their family history.

Research - Have students research modern-day contributions of First Nations and Inuit. The National Aboriginal Achievement Award Web site ( and the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Kids' Stop Web site ( will provide a good start. The results can be presented through written work, class presentations, posters or role-playing.

Organize - Plan an activity for June 21, National Aboriginal Day, or organize an Aboriginal awareness week in your school. (

Field Trip - Plan a trip to an Aboriginal cultural centre or Friendship Centre or an Aboriginal community. Invite an Aboriginal speaker to your class.

Exchange - Initiate an exchange of information and e-mails between the class and an Aboriginal school through the Kids From Kanata project. The project brings together schools in groups of three, one of which is an Aboriginal school. ( For more resource materials on Aboriginal subjects, consult The Learning Circle series of publications available through INAC. (

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Claire and her Grandfather
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