This is a legacy provincial website of the ATA. Visit our new website here.

Indigenous Science Day provides many memorable lessons


February 5, 2020 Sandra Lamouche, Livingstone Range School Division

I have been looking for ways to engage teachers in ways that combine the best of education with the best of Indigenous ways of knowing. One of the resulting collaborations was with our numeracy lead, Kathy Charcun, on an Indigenous numeracy day in October 2019. Leroy Little Bear shared his knowledge of how Blackfoot and Indigenous people used math. We watched the Navajo Math Circles documentary and played Blackfoot hand games. Brian St. Germain from Red Deer Public Schools taught Indigenous games that could be used to teach math. We found that the best practices in numeracy aligned with the way Indigenous people used math traditionally.

More recently we held an Indigenous science day on Dec. 6. Michelle Hogue from the University of Lethbridge shared her research on Indigenous student success in science and math and how teachers can help Indigenous learners in terms of methodology and pedagogy. She shared a medicine-wheel way of teaching the scientific method that is aligned with the four seasons and traditional values. Two representatives from Destination Exploration taught teachers how to use Ozobots to connect with Indigenous knowledge.

Livingstone Range teachers learn about chemical bonds with Michelle Hogue of the University of Lethbridge during an Indigenous Science Day held earlier this school year.


In the afternoon, we hosted a panel of prominent local Kainai and Piikani Elders and Knowledge Holders. Mike Bruised Head (Kainai), a PhD candidate, shared Kainai knowledge and knowing from place, including an Earthwatch project at Waterton Lakes National Park that he has been helping with. Leroy Little Bear (Kainai) provided a framework for Indigenous knowledge to help teachers understand the Blackfoot perspective and how this relates to science and technology. Blair First Rider (Kainai), who works with Alberta Culture and Heritage and with the ATA’s Walking Together program, shared his knowledge about the medicine wheels made by the Blackfoot and some of the traditional stories related to different traditional sites, stars, constellations and local history. Ira Provost (Piikani) the director of Piikani Traditional Knowledge Services and Consultation, shared the history of the area. He discussed the importance of land-based learning, connecting with the land, and how, historically, Piikani people were restricted from using their own land.

One of the most memorable parts of the day was when Blair shared his gratitude toward the school division staff and teachers for their time and interest in Indigenous knowledge. As a residential school survivor, he appreciated that we are continuing to develop and deepen our understanding of the Blackfoot people, stories, culture and history for the benefit of all students. ❚

Sandra Lamouche is the Indigenous education consultant for the Livingstone Range School Division.



Success Stories is an ongoing feature that enables teachers to share their successes with their colleagues. To submit an idea or an article about a new program or approach that you’ve instituted, please contact managing editor Cory Hare at

Also In This Issue