Lesson plan

Sustainable food sources, food chains and interdependence

Look at the skeleton of an animal and learn about how every part is used for many things besides food. Model sustainable Indigenous harvesting methods - fish trap and clam baskets.
Science content
Biology: Indigenous People's sustainable use of Living Things (K, 2, 3)
Biology: Food Webs, Ecosystems, Biomes (3, 4)
Chemistry: Indigenous People’s Materials/Separation methods (1, 6)
Earth/Space: Indigenous People’s Traditions around Sky, Land and Seasons (K-7)
Earth/Space: Sustainable practices, Interconnectedness (2, 5, 7)

Materials in the activities.
Seasonal round poster if available. e.g. https://vashonheritagemuseum.org/product/coast-salish-poster/


Indigenous people that live here, and have done for thousands of years, have a respectful relationship with the animals they catch for food, including thanking an animal for giving their life to feed people.

Acknowledge that we are on Indigenous land.
In Vancouver, we live, work and play on the unceded land of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

Choose a selection of the activities.

Assemble the deer skeleton. Talk about how it may have died. Its body is used by, and help sustains, many other living things: animals gnaw the meat from the bones, bacteria and fungi decompose the meat and bones to valuable nutrients which leech into the soil, and are then used by plants to grow.
Humans can use many parts of an animal that they kill, and Pacific Northwest Indigenous groups make it a point to thank the animal for its life and to use every part of its body. Hooves and bones used to make tools, knife handles, spoons, arrowheads and fish hooks. Sinews (tendons/ligaments) for bow strings, fishing lines, thread.

We are eating sustainably when we only eat what we need, and get food in a way that protects ecosystem diversity. Then we leave healthy environments and food sources for the generations after us.
We will model two Coast Salish harvesting methods, both sustainable.
Set up stations of two sustainable food harvesting methods:
Clam baskets - harvesting by hand means that the clam beds are not overused
Fish traps - once enough fish for eating are caught, the remaining ones can be released

Look at the seasonal round poster (if available).
Show the basket weaving and clam fishing in the Winter. Show pics of real clam baskets.
In the Summer, fish are plentiful and the sockeye salmon are running. Fish are dried and smoked to eat in the winter.
In the Fall, large game such as deer are caught (for meat and for making leather goods among many other uses.

Show a version of the Pin and ring game made from animal bones.
Then students can try their own games made from recycled materials (cardboard tubes and chopsticks).


The Seasonal Round lesson plan includes many of the same activities.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 4