Working Together to Protect the Land

This lesson plan is ideal for:

Grade 7 Dene Kede

In the 4th module of the Grade 7 Dene Kede curriculum, My People, My Identity, the students are to demonstrate their understanding of who they are, the importance of the land to their culture and how to protect their land.

Grade 7 Science

In Unit A: Interactions and Ecosystems with a social and environmental emphasis the students must:

Grade 7 Social Studies: The Land: Places and People

Students will consider contemporary and historical issues related to land and resource use, survival and adaptation to the environment.

If we remember and live by the teachings and we take the signs set on the land for us as our symbols, we will survive as a nation.

- George Blondin, Sahtu


There are four main tools used throughout this lesson.

Each of the tools (other than the large tarp) are available online and listed in the chart below (scroll over the instructions in the left-hand column for more information on each activity). A DVD of these resources is also available from the PAS Secretariat. Full-colour cruncher sheets can be obtained from the PAS Secretariat as well.

As you set up the lesson, you could do each activity as a class or split into groups and design stations that groups rotate through.

Instructions To Teacher Materials
Opener: Fun with Acronyms
Connector: The Incredible Shrinking Island
Activity 1: Protecting Our Special Places
Activity 2: What's on the Map?
Maps & Information Sheets
Activity 3: Stephen Kakfwi Speaks Out

Have students respond to:

  • "In 100 years from now my community will look like..."
  • "Today I learned the PAS is..."
  • "I think the PAS strategy is..."
Assessment: Show what you know
Opener: Fun with Acronyms

To begin the lesson, ask your students if anyone has heard of the PAS. Don't tell them what it stands for. Give them a few minutes to try and come up with what they think it could mean. For example, one student could guess “Parents Against Students”. Have some fun with the acronym. After a few minutes tell them about the Protected Areas Strategy using the background information provided.

Connector: The Incredible Shrinking Island

You can use an ordinary tarp to illustrate the concept of sharing the land with other interests and planning. The simple game rules will allow your students to experience in miniature the complexities of balancing land management and conservation issues.

Activity 1: Protecting Our Special Places

The Protected Areas Strategy produced the video Protecting Our Special Places. It contains messages from Elders from around the North discussing the importance of the land. Some of the Elders are speaking in their Aboriginal language and sub-titles are provided. The video also describes the Protected Areas Strategy in plain language.

  1. Hand out a copy of the Protecting Our Special Places worksheet to each student.
  2. As a class or group, view the video and have the students answer the questions.
  3. Discuss as a group.
Activity 2: What's on the map?

This website hosts an interactive map of the NWT with the proposed protected areas and other areas of interest. Allow time for your students to use the map to answer the questions in the accompanying question sheet.

Note: It is very important that students note the differences between what is currently protected and what areas are proposed under the PAS. Their understanding will be evident in their answers.

Site Maps & Information Sheets

This website hosts a series of maps and information sheets about each PAS area (listed to the right), which teachers and students can download for more in-depth study.

Activity 3: Stephen Kakfwi speaks out

This website hosts audio clips of Stephen Kakfwi speaking about his position in Slavey and English on protected areas now and thirty years ago when he was part of the Indian Brotherhood (now called the Dene Nation). Hand out a copy of the assignment and allow time for your students to listen to his three minute piece to answer the questions. They may need to listen more than once.

Assessment: PAS cruncher
  1. Hand out the PAS "cruncher" to each student in your class. Photocopy one if you don't have enough. Keep one for making copies at a later date.
  2. Read through the folding instructions with your class so that they know how to fold their PAS cruncher.
  3. The cruncher was designed to assess what they learned throughout all the activities you have done with them on this topic. Have them work with a partner to answer each of the eight questions. Some questions have a definitive answer while others are more open-ended.
  4. Encourage your students to bring their cruncher home to see if their parents are aware of the PAS.
  5. Encourage a class discussion on what special places they would like to see protected in their communities or if they think protection is necessary. All opinions are equal, the goal is the dialogue.