Holy moly! Learning is happening. A few days ago, I had my doubts, in fact, I was downright fearful about the direction this new inquiry would take. If you didn’t read my blog post from a few days ago, you can read it here.
So here we are, two days later… And learning is happening! While I thought learning might happen, and hoped learning would happen, I am surprised to see such amazing learning emerging so soon.
Today I sat with two groups to ask where they were with their inquiries and how I could help. Here are of few of the conversations we had:
Me: “Where are you and how can I help?”
Student 1: “I started learning about treaties. Did you know that there are 15 treaties? But I really want to focus on treaty #6. This treaty was the one that described who was going to get what lands and what they would receive in exchange. I think the First Nation people agreed to them because they thought it was important to work with the government to protect their people. And the treaties made it seem like they were getting stuff in return. I think they thought it would be a peaceful way to work with the government. Can I find out more about this?”
Student #2: “I started researching wars. I wanted to find out about the different perspectives – like the First Nation and the European Explorer perspectives. But, when I found out about the Beaver War, I learned that the British and the Dutch sided with the Iroquois and the French sided with the Huron. It seems like the different European groups had different perspectives. Can I focus on the French and the English perspectives instead?
Student #3: “I started learning about muskets. I was curious about their role in wars. But I found out that many of the Europeans started killing the buffalo and that made it harder for the First Nation people to hunt. Do you think the First Nations used guns to hunt too? I’m curious about how guns changed the First Nations people’s way of life. Can I find out more?”
Student #4: “I started learning about Cartier’s ship. I was planning on brining in old pieces of timber and maybe a page from his log to show how he started trade. I learned that at first he was nice to the First Nation people and they started to trade. But as time went on, he seemed less respectful. It seemed like he was taking advantage of the people, and they felt trapped because they needed the things he was trading with them. The settlement was not doing so well because the climate was so harsh. As time went on, Cartier seemed to get more and more disrespectful to the First Nations people and kidnapped the chief and his sons. It seems that he thought his religion and beliefs were more important. I want to find out more.”
Student #5: “Did you know that spears were different in different tribes? I wonder if they were different because of resources or the ways they used them? Can I focus on the interrelationships between the type of spear and the place where they lived?
Student #6: “Did you know that art and symbols had different meanings with different groups? I wonder if they all had religious significance?”
Student #7: “Some Europeans described the religious masks as “pagan”… What does pagan mean?”
Learning is happening. It’s working. I feel like I’ve started a wheel in motion and my kids are digging in. I thought it might happen, I hoped it would… But in this moment, I’m completely surprised that is has taken root so deeply, so soon!