Inquiring Into Paddles
On this page you will find resources and curriculum connections to help you lead students through an inquiry unit on making canoe paddles and the important contributions of Mi’kmaw people to the art of canoe paddle making and canoeing. This project was inspired by the students of We’koqma’q Mi’kmaw School who chose to explore paddle making for their 2012-2013 Show Me Your Math project.
For this particular project we encourage you to visit our dedicated site woodtowater.ca where you can see step by step instructions on how to make a paddle and also learn more about canoeing and canoe paddles.
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.
A rubric from the Galileo Educational Network that can help you to guide your inquiry project with your students
Why inquire into Paddles?
The canoe is an important part of Mi’kmaw culture and history and, within the concept of the Mi’kmaw canoe, is the canoe paddle. This inquiry project focuses on the making of canoe paddles as it encompasses many mathematics outcomes and is a project that students can engage in with relatively little time and resources needed to complete the research and making of their own canoe paddle.
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 canoe paddles. There are also suggestions about how the eel inquiry fits within various units within the curricula.
Paddle Making: Grade 8 (coming soon)
Paddle Making: Grade 10 (coming soon)
Links and Reources for Paddle Making
- “How to make your own canoe paddle”
- Paddle Making and Other Canoe Stuff
- How to build a traditional canoe paddle
- Tuktu Paddles: Wood Selection Guide
- The North Woods Paddle, by Rick Waters; Paddle Making, by Shawn Burke; Making a Canoe Paddle, by Rob Stevens; Greenland Style Paddle Building, by George Ellis