Lesson Overview: Students learn how the Pikunii (Blackfeet) people met the challenge of transporting fire from one camp to another as they traveled along historical migration routes. First, students build their own campfires to learn about the technological challenge of starting a fire and protecting “live” (smoldering) coals. Then they speculate on ways to carry fire, and they examine a model of a Pikunii fire carrier. Then they view a video in which a Blackfeet elder describes the construction and use of a traditional fire carrier. Finally, they review what they have learned using a cumulative-listening activity, in which they repeat what previous speakers have said and add their own statements.
This lesson is an excellent complement to activities in the FireWorks curriculum on the Fire Triangle and the science of wildland fire.
- Increase students’ understanding of native people’s technology and ways of life
- Increase students’ ability to listen respectfully and contribute to a discussion
- Increase students’ understanding of combustion and their skill in handling fire safely
- Students can explain or demonstrate the technological difficulty of starting a fire and transporting live coals.
- Students can explain why it was important for the Pikunii people to have continuous fire and how the Pikunii people met this challenge.
- Students can listen attentively enough to one another so they can repeat what previous speakers have said and add to the discussion.