Science 7: Informed Decision-Making
This lesson meets cross-curricular outcomes for Science 7 and Social Studies 7. Students will learn the contributions of Indigenous knowledge to decision-making about current events/issues in the Mackenzie River Basin, which is within the circumpolar region.
Students will learn the significant relationship between humans, the ecosystems of which they are part, and how traditional, local, and scientific knowledge is used to make informed decisions. This lesson shares several case studies made up of information, quotes, and photos from Elders, land users, community members, and researchers about an important environmental issue.
The final component of the lesson introduces students to interviewing Elders or community members in relation to an environmental issue that matters to them. While learning outcomes may be met without the interview, we believe the interview is an important way for students to experience the vitality and necessity of intergenerational sharing of Indigenous knowledge of the land. Benefits also extend to the Elder or community member, who is enabled to pass on knowledge, culture, and language in relation to scientific learning.
The Mackenzie River Basin is spread out between the NWT, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and BC, and is an important part of many people’s lives. However, due to many human activities such as development, climate change, hydro damming, and others, there are many problems facing this important river basin. Managing or dealing with these issues is important in ensuring that the health of the river is protected and people’s livelihoods are supported. This lesson introduces students to the importance of using all knowledge available (traditional, local, and scientific) in making decisions about current and future problems.
Key questions for student inquiry:
Why is including Traditional Knowledge and Indigenous perspectives important? How do both local knowledge and Western science contribute to decision-making about the environment?
In the classroom; interviews may take place inside or outside the classroom.
Length of activity:
1-2 classes for Parts 1& 2; 2-3 classes for Part 3