Schools Closed March 13th and suddenly many parents were faced with childcare and work-from-home responsibilities. Below were my weekly examples based on the interests of my children. I followed my guideline schedule to balance physical activity, mental/emotion health, online resources and hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) powered projects to encourage learning and connection.
- Physical activity and outdoor walks
- Mindfulness exercises and art-making (gratitude, smudging, breathing exercises)
- Online learning and physical sheets for math (IXL for grade 6 and Prodigy for grade 1)
- Lunch and leisure time
- STEAM learning based around a themed project (they select the theme)
- Outdoor play and leisure time
- Family and game time (switch, board games, art, play)
DAY 1 STEAM:
In the afternoon, we did a lesson on respiratory health using both online and book resources. We learned about the body and explored how we take care of our bodies. We explored our traditional teachings as Mohawk First Nations people through stories and medicine. Taking them outside, we laid down our tobacco and acknowledged the cedar. Cedar is used to purify homes and gathering spaces. Foraging through our cultural customs, we gathered cedar to make cedar tea.
Our ancestors used cedar tea to aid respiratory health and fevers but should not be consumed more than twice a week. People who are pregnant should not consume cedar tea. We collected the leaves, simmered in boiling water and sweetened with maple syrup.
This time of year is maple season and we honoured the maple trees in our traditional ways. They too are medicine.
Lesson themes: traditional teachings/history, health science, language arts, holistic health.
Day 2 STEAM:
In the afternoon, we explored the connections between math and art. For grade 1, we practiced shapes in both English and our Mohawk language. We built shapes using tooth picks and mini marshmallows to create a whole town. For grade six, there was also participation and some lessons on perspective drawing with some math angles.
Conversations emerged around mental health, safety and security. Creating together is a wonderful opportunity to connect.
Lesson themes: math, architecture, storytelling, art.
Day 3 STEAM:
In the afternoon, we explored our carbon footprint on the environment using food chains and nature exploration. Using Brainpop (excellent resource), the children did some research on environmental science. They were invited to choose an animal from their backyard and explore their role in the food web.
Using a physical activity, they created their own food web using yarn and stools, playing with the idea of removing elements. They shared their inferences and together we explore the role of humanity. Pipelines, deforestation and over-hunting were explored. We ended the day in an exploration outside where they were invited to create a video documentary of food chains in their environment and the role of humanity.
Lesson themes: environmental science, social justice, art.
Day 4 STEAM:
In the afternoon, we explored motion, physics and energy by creating a marble obstacle course using recycling. They followed BRAINPOP resources to learn about the history of motion and how energy states change. We applied them to our marble structure and explore how we can use motion to understand the world.
Lesson themes: math, science, history, art and engineering.
Day 5 STEAM:
In the afternoon, these curious learners wanted to explore Viking history. As an art therapist in communities, I am always mindful of cultural safety when exploring other cultures. I took time to find reputable videos and sources from nordic cultures so that they were receiving knowledge. Like Indigenous communities, it is important to gather information from elders and stories from the community itself to minimize extractive and colonial lenses. Through videos, they gathered information and were invited to explore “a day in the life”. They created characters, oath sculptures and baked traditional bread. For grade six math, there was the invitation to change the fractions (measurements).
We made links to our wampum and treaties with Viking customs. This builds connections with others.
Lesson themes: history, art, math, cultural links.