Mawkina’masultinej: Let’s Learn Together! Bead Work

Inquiring Into Bead Work

On this page you will find resources and curriculum connections to help you lead students through an inquiry unit on bead work and the tradition of bead work in the lives of Mi’kmaw people. This project was inspired by the students of Mikmewey School in Potlotek who chose to explore bead work for their 2013-2014 Show Me Your Math project.


What is Inquiry?

Inquiry is the result of human beings’ wonderings and curiosities about the natural or constructed world (Barell, 2008; Krauss, 2013). Our natural inquisitiveness is the driving force to ask questions and formulate means of authentic learning, and it is this inquisitiveness and passion that moves us forward (Krauss, 2013; The National Science Foundation, ND; Pahomov, 2014) and pushes our ability to think in critical, creative and divergent ways (Bateman, 1990; Krauss, 2013). IBL is a student-centred learning process that emphasizes the importance of motivating students to engage in and learn through the process of purposeful experiential investigations and research in order to better understand the world (Abuhimed, Beheshti, Cole, AlGhamdi & Lamoureux, 2013; Galileo Educational Network, 1999-2014; Kanter & Konstantopoulos, 2010; Prince, 2004; Rusche & Jason, 2011). Inquiry invites children to explore questions of interest to them related to a given topic. Through inquiry, students can cover a large number of curriculum outcomes through authentically exploring a topic of relevance to them.

Why Inquire into Bead Work?

Beadwork has been done by Mi’kmaq people for generations and continues to be practiced by many Mi’kmaq artisans today. The patterning and design involved in beadwork requires a good deal of mathematical reasoning to complete. Many children may know someone from their community who does beadwork creating jewelry or strip patterns. This inquiry project will allow them to explore the mathematics involved in doing beadwork and to connect with community members and develop a deeper understanding of the art of beadwork.

How do I Connect this to Curriculum?

Teachers are encouraged to use the Inquiry Project Details below for the appropriate grade. These projects include links to provincial Mathematics (WNCP), Science, Social, English Language Arts, Mi’kmaq Language, and other content area outcomes. These guides also contain examples of essential questions that can be used to start an inquiry project on bead work. There are also suggestions about how the bead work inquiry fits within various units within the curricula.

  • Grade Primary (coming soon)
  • Grade 1 (coming soon)
  • Grade 2 (coming soon)
  • Grade 3 (coming soon)
  • Grade 4 (coming soon)
  • Grade 5 (coming soon)
  • Grade 6 (coming soon)

Links to Bead Work Information