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Activity Information:

Grade Appropriate Level: Grade 10-12

Duration: ~six 40-minute periods for introductory lesson & full project (Teacher can choose to do some or all of the components of this project.)
Materials: chart paper, marker, use of the Internet for students, information sheets and worksheets 


This mini-project aims to engage students in a dialogue about prevalent misconceptions about Indigenous people and natural resources. The lessons are designed to increase student awareness and have them think about strategies for addressing these issues responsibly and respectfully. Through research, videos, interviews and discussions, students will learn the tools of how to dispel popular, potentially harmful myths and explore how mainstream media and social media can promote narratives or misconceptions that need additional research to see all sides of issues and context.

Puzzle piece working together - Misconceptions.png

Prescribed Learning Outcomes:

History, Resource Science, English, Technology

  • demonstrate awareness of and appreciation for Indigenous peoples’ relationship with the forests and other natural resources in British Columbia

  • analyze the exchange of ideas, practices, and materials between First Nations and other cultures, in historical and contemporary contexts, with reference to governance, economics, environment, language

  • demonstrate the ability to think critically, including the ability to: define an issue or problem, develop hypotheses and supporting arguments

  • gather relevant information from appropriate sources

  • assess the reliability, currency, and objectivity of evidence

  • develop and express appropriate responses to issues or problems

  • reassess their responses to issues on the basis of new information

  • assess the influence of mass media on public opinion

  • practice handling Internet information in an ethical way

  • demonstrate a willingness to take a tentative stance, tolerate ambiguity, explore multiple perspectives, and consider more than one interpretation

  • develop focused inquiry questions with specific purposes and audiences in mind

Introductory Activity:

  • Prior to beginning this activity, talk to the class about the sensitive nature of the lesson. Review with them your usual guidelines and expectations about respecting others’ opinions and demonstrating appreciation for diversity in the classroom.

  • Engage students in a conversation about misconceptions. Some leading questions might be: What is a misconception?  Cambridge Dictionary: defines misconceptions as: “An idea that is wrong because it has been based on a failure to understand a situation: We hope our work will help to change popular misconceptions about disabled people. I'd like to clear up the common misconception that older workers don't know how to use technology.”

  • Share and discuss examples of misconceptions with the class.

  • Have students offer some ideas. How does a misconception come to be? How is a misconception harmful or damaging? How are misconceptions spread and how (if possible) can they be stopped?

  • The teacher can offer a few questions at a time and allow students time to dialogue in partners or small groups before sharing ideas aloud.

  • Ensure that all students have a solid understanding of the concept before proceeding to the first lesson.

Suggested Instructional Strategies:

Lesson One

  • Hand out the sheet Some Popular Misconceptions About Indigenous People (Canada) to each student to read. Let them know the source of this information.  If time permits, you can also show them a US-based reference about Native American misconceptions.

  • Share some popular, contemporary Indigenous Canadian youth and elder voices from a variety of local and national groups such as Indigenous Resource Network, the Macdonald Laurier Institute and others who are attempting to get their voices heard with various media opinion articles. Links below:

Those who support blockades and protests are doing a disservice to Indigenous Peoples-National Post

- Chris Sankey is a former elected councillor for Lax Kw’ Alaams Band, a business leader.

Worksheet Preview:

Popular misconceptions Worksheet preview

Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo's Eco-Colonialism Will Only Serve to Keep First Nations Impoverished - National Post.


Melissa Mbarki is a policy analyst and outreach co-ordinator at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and a member of the Treaty 4 nation in Saskatchewan.

Melissa Mbarki tweet - Misconceptions.png
Melissa Mbarki tweet 2 - Misconceptions.png

“In recent years, Canada has become a touchpoint for Hollywood stars eager to demonstrate their environmentalist props. Motivated by commitments to sustainability, while publicly declaring support for Indigenous peoples, feel free to lecture Canadians about both environmental matters and their treatment of Indigenous peoples."

- Hollywood Should Get the Facts and Show Respect to Indigenous Peoples - The Star

JP Gladhu: JP Gladu is currently Principal of Mokwateh, and previously served as the President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)

“TC Energy has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the (Coastal Gas Link) route, and signed option deals earlier this year for potential sale of a 10 per cent stake to two Indigenous groups representing 16 of those communities.”
CBC News.

Watch some of our YouTube videos with prominent Indigenous leaders and FORED BC.  (Hear from Chief Leanne Joe, Squamish Nation and Matt Wealick, Professional Forester (RPF), Tzeachten First Nation.)

Toronto star clipping - Misconceptions.png Karen Ogen-Toews, Wet’suwet’en First Nation, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance and David Kirk, Stó:lō Nation, Indigenous faculty advisor at Capilano University, share advice on preparing Indigenous youth for leadership. "Be teachable, you won't know everything about every topic," says Karen. She had to learn about natural resources management and economic development when she became Chief of her nation. "It was a real learning curve for me." "Education is a lifelong process," says David Kirk. "Our elders have so much knowledge... to share. Stó:lō Nation Indigenous scholar Jo-ann Archibald says 'the elders are waiting to be asked.'"

  • After reviewing the information, videos and news stories, ensure students share their initial feelings on some chart paper. They should NOT offer their opinion about the common misconceptions at this time, but only express what they felt after reading or watching the videos. For example: surprised, confused, neutral, angry, unsure, etc. Title the chart paper: How Misconceptions Make Us Feel.

  • Draw a line below the responses leaving room for more thoughts to be added at the end of this study. [At that time students can make comparisons between the feelings they had before and after and discuss reasons for some of the possible changes.]

  • Ask students to raise their hand if they have heard of any of these misconceptions prior to reading the information sheet. Based on the response, close the lesson by explaining that their job will be to debunk one of the myths with supporting evidence they’ve gathered themselves.

Lesson Two

*Project length will need to be altered by the teacher depending on available blocks of time in the class scheduling. Approximate time needed: three to five, 40-minute classes if the work will mostly be done in class time. Teachers will need to determine which portions of the project will be done in each class.


In partners, students will choose any of the stated misconceptions about Indigenous people (or suggest one of their own) for further research. There may be some overlap in topics. The teacher should ensure a variety of misconceptions are represented in the various classroom groups to facilitate discussion diversity in larger groups later on. For example: With 30 students in a class (15 partner groupings) there would be room for 3 partner groupings to cover each misconception topic.

  • Provide students with the worksheet: Misconceptions – Research Notes and review the details of the research project.

  • Provide students with the handout: Resource Options. They will use this sheet as a guide to search the Internet for information to complete the worksheet. Students may find other worthwhile sites to explore that can be approved by the teacher prior to the lesson.

Worksheet Preview:

Worksheet Preview:

Research Notes WS Preview
Resource Options WS Preview
  • In addition to using websites to find information about their topic, students also must interview an appropriate, knowledgeable candidate to add to the dimension of their research. The teacher should outline criteria for seeking an appropriate candidate. For example: a First Nations member from a group such as Indigenous Resource Network or their local Band Office or Aboriginal Friendship Centre. (see resource/contact list above)

  • Students will need to complete the worksheet: Interview Questionsand have the teacher’s approval prior to conducting the interview.

Worksheet Preview:

Interview Q's Worksheet Preview

Once research, worksheets and interview are complete, partners will organize their information into a short oral presentation to be delivered to the class. Give students time to practice. (See Suggested Assessment Strategies below for ideas to design presentations)

  • After each presentation, the teacher should allow time and encourage the audience to offer constructive comments about the presentation and ask questions or clarify information.

  • Once all presentations have been shared, refer the class back to the How Misconceptions Make Us Feel chart. Again, ask the class to share their thoughts now that the project is complete.

Suggested Assessment Strategies:

Teachers should record observations throughout the project based on the following criteria

  • Complete, thoughtful and detailed research that demonstrates the use of at least 3 different website resources.

  • Interview questions for candidate were thorough, unbiased, and completely relevant to the topic. In addition, were students resourceful in terms of obtaining answers that satisfied their questions as opposed to being left with an “I don’t know.” Did they try another source?

  • Work is completed on time according to set deadline.

  • Students work cooperatively in partners with fair distribution of the work, and support each other throughout project.

  • Students demonstrate a willingness to seek truth about the misconceptions being explored.

  • The teacher can work with the students to set assessment criteria for the presentation.

  • Some important components could include: To what extent has the project proved the misconception wrong or not entirely accurate? To what extent has the research and interview been used to achieve the purpose?

  • To what extent have the students delivered an unbiased and factual presentation? To what extent has the presentation engaged students? To what extent have the presenters used effective communication skills? To what extent have the presenters utilized helpful and innovative tools (visuals, powerpoint slides, props, etc.) in order to deliver a quality presentation?

Suggested Extensions:

  • Following the presentations, partners meet up in small groups with other partners who researched the same topic. They can discuss the similarities and differences they experienced during the project. Students can also compare the information supplied by the interviewee and draw some conclusions about their information.

  • As a class, revisit the topic of misconceptions. Based on the presentations, findings and their point of view (before & after) how do students feel about these misconceptions? What do students think are ways that these misconceptions could be squashed? For example: more education about topics to the public. How can students become involved in the education process or take leadership?

Interview - Misconceptions.png

Lesson plan provided by: Fored BC

Developed by: Eve Simon, VSB Teacher & Education Services Coordinator,

Fored BC, updated in 2022.

"Some Popular Misconceptions About Indigenous People"

“Resource Options”


– Research Notes”

"Interview Questions"

Download the PDF version of the 

Misconceptions Activity below:

Worksheets & Activity download
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