Mother Earth | Ophea Teaching Tools

    Mother Earth

    Physical Activity Level
    • Moderate Vigorous

    • Gymnasium

      • Appendix G

      • Appendix H

      • Station Cards (see GETTING ACTIVE)

    Safety Considerations
    • Prior to starting, inspect the activity area for safe traction and eliminate any potential hazards.
    • Remind students to be cautious when moving, and to be aware of the personal space of others.
    • When using the gymnasium, outline the boundaries for the activity (e.g., use the basketball court boundary lines or a set of pylons) to keep a safe distance from walls and obstacles.
    • When using the classroom, move furniture to the perimeter of the room and outline the activity area (e.g., using masking tape).

    Students will actively and safely explore the four elements of the Earth (traditional medicine wheel).

    Warm Up

    Animal Rally

    • Students begin by walking around the activity area.
    • Ask for a volunteer to be the “leader” and call-out groups of different types of animals (e.g., slow animals such as turtles, at the start of the activity, large animals such as moose and deer, those that fly such as owls and hawks, those that crawl, bears and skunk).
    • While moving around the activity area, students assume the shape of the animal called as (e.g., goose, turtle, bear, deer, blue jay, frog). Be sure to focus on the movement skills that students perform, and not just on describing the animal.
    • Next, call out 1 letter and ask students to identify an animal whose name starts with that letter. Students then move like the animal named (e.g., S –> snake, B –> bear, R –> rabbit), until the next letter is called. If students are learning their traditional language, ask for an animal whose name starts with that letter in the language. For examples of animal names in First Nations languages, see Appendix H.
    • Call out the names faster and faster until the end of the warm-up.
    Getting Active

    Mother Earth

    • Before the activity starts, on each of the four walls post one station card along with its corresponding activity (see below). Explain that each station is an element of the Earth—when an object is called out, students should move to the station where the object is found and perform the activity posted there.
    • Begin by reviewing and practicing the following activities:

    Station Cards
    Air: make a 2-foot jump and flap arms as if flying
    Water: squat against the wall and paddle a canoe (move arms as if paddling)
    Land: lift alternating knees with opposing arm reaching up as if climbing a mountain
    Fire: touch toes, wave hands while standing (as if fanning the flames of a fire)

    • Call out one of the Earth List items (see list below).
    • Students decide which of the four elements the item should be associated with, run to that station, and do the action for 15-20 seconds.
    • Call out another Earth List item and the students decide if they need to run to another station and perform a different action, or stay where they are and keep doing the same action.

    Earth List

    Air Water Land Fire
    Duck* Frog* Bear (or other local mammal) Bow and drill
    Goose Rain Cedar tree (or local tree) Frying pan
    Grandmother moon Seal* Corn, beans, squash, strawberries, potatoes (or other local fruit or vegetable) Lightning
    Helicopter Thunder* Tobacco (or other local traditional element or medicine) Matches
    Mosquito Trout (or other local fish) Sun
    Thunder Weeds* Woodpile

    *Items may be found under multiple elements

    Cool Down

    The Longest Snake (based on Rock, Paper, Scissors)

    • Students walk around the open area and challenge another student to play Rock, Paper, Scissors.
    • After the game, the two students join together to form a “snake”; the winner becomes the head and stands in front of the other student, who becomes the tail and holds on to the winner’s waist.
    • The students then move around together and challenge another pair. The heads of the snakes decide what move to play (rock, paper or scissors). The two pairs join to form a longer snake; the winning pair becomes the head and the tail of the new snake.
    • Groups continue to challenge other groups and join together, until there are two snakes playing each other in a final round.
    Other Considerations
    • Add Earth List items that relate to current topics discussed in class.

    • Explain the basic concept of the Medicine Wheel. Please note that not all nations or communities use the Medicine Wheel, and there are variations in the order and descriptions of the colours. Refer to your community’s elders or leaders for correct local details. Some basic information is provided in Appendix G.

    • Following the DPA session, ask the Grade 1 students to share orally while Grade 2 and 3 students write a paragraph about the Earth, using some of the vocabulary used during the activity.

    • For Grade 3 students, select words for the Earth List that may be associated with more than one of the Earth elements (e.g., ducks may be found in the air, on water, or on land.)

    • If the students are learning or know their traditional language, the Earth List items can be called out in their language, rather than in English.