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?
The Galileo Educational Network desscribes inquiry as “a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world. As such, it is a stance that pervades all aspects of life and is essential to the way in which knowledge is created. Inquiry is based on the belief that understanding is constructed in the process of people working and conversing together as they pose and solve the problems, make discoveries and rigorously testing the discoveries that arise in the course of shared activity.” (Link to galileo) Inquiry invites children to explore questions of interest to them related to a given topic. Through inquiry, students can cover a large numebr of curriculum outcomes through authentically exploring a topic of relevance to them.
Click here for a rubric from the Galileo Educational Network that can help you to guide your inquiry project with your students.
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
- Beads and Beadwork from NativeTech
- Frieze Designs in Indigenous Art from Math Central
- MMNN Article on Mi’kmaq Beadwork
- Historic Iriquois and Wabanaki Beadwork
- AANDC Article about Genevieve Julian, Mi’kmaq Beadwork Artist and the Queen’s Visit to Halifax