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Historica Canada Education Portal

Elders Collage

  • Indigenous History
  • Intermediate – Middle School

This lesson plan was created by members of Historica Canada’s teacher community. Historica Canada does not take responsibility for the accuracy or availability of any links herein, and the views reflected in these learning tools may not necessary reflect those of Historica Canada. We welcome feedback regarding the content that may be linked to or included in these learning tools; email us at


Trigger Event:

Show the Heritage Minute titled The Peacemaker to lead to a discussion of elders – their qualities and their personal stories. Pose the question: Who are our elders?


Students will be able to:

- research and represent their personal heritage
- understand symbolism and how it is used by different peoples to represent their identities, using models from First Nations culture
- develop and practise interview skills
- explore personal narratives in order to understand varying points of view


Teacher's Role:

- collect samples/models of collages already completed
- prepare mini-lessons on the elders in First Nations culture, mosaics and symbolism
- prepare mini-lessons on researching using primary sources and interviews
- prepare a research planning booklet to be completed by students 

Student's Role:

- outline the steps s/he will take to complete his/her project, using the planning booklet 
- consider what s/he has learned about elders and choose a person to interview in their own family or community
- prepare interview questions that elicit narrative style answers (eg. tell me about your childhood …)
- search for some primary sources (eg. photographs, letters, journal writings)
- isolate key words from the elder that may serve as words of wisdom
- create a symbol that defines an aspect of her/his identity
- create a mosaic that represents her/his identity using the samples as models
- write a draft of the paragraph that will be included in the collage
- prepare a presentation that allows the students to share their identities 

Needed materials:

- collage samples
- symbol samples
- mosaic samples
- Historica Heritage Minute
- poster paper, scissors, glue, pencil crayons, markers, two sided tape
- primary sources


- formative: students will share their process through their planning booklets and informal discussions with peers and teacher-facilitator
- summative: students will share their representation through their collages and oral presentation