Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inuit Unit Study and Lapbook

As part of our Arctic unit study, we learned about the Inuits.

Part 1: Inuits
Part 2: Penguins/Mr. Popper's Penguins
Part 3: Polar Bears/Magic School bus Polar Bear Patrol

Follow my Pintrest board with arctic ideas here

These are some of the elements included in Levi's lapbook:

 Inuit definition:   Inuit  simply means “The People” in their own language, refers to the indigenous people of the Arctic.

Scrimshaw definition:  The Inuit engraved pictures that told stories in ivory walrus tusks and whale bones.  When their engraving was completed they rubbed the carving with lampblack to make their picture stand out.
These tusks depicted stories of whale hunts, dog sledding, caribou, and other various animals and people.  Carvings The Inuit are famous for their soapstone, bone and ivory carvings. Most carvings were pieces used to tell legends or small figures that served as toys for children.
The Inuit also carved and decorated their handmade tools. Pieces were often of animals, especially polar bears, seals and walruses, as well as people and other wildlife.

To replicate Scrimshaw, Levi carved a bar of soap using a wooden stick.  When he was done carving, we rubbed the soap with black paint and wiped the surface to leave the paint in the groves.

Inuksuk:  An Inuksuk is a monument made of un-worked stones used for communication and survival.   They have been used by the Inuit as guides and markers, pointing out trails, nearby people or even the migration routes of caribou.
These markers have been vital to the Inuit, marking landscapes that would be otherwise indistinguishable, and constantly changing because of ice and snow. Inuit tradition celebrates the importance of and forbids the destruction of these monuments.
Levi did a Inuksuk puzzle and we also looked at real photos of them 

We listened to throat singing:   Throat singing is usually performed by two women facing each other, but recently men have begun to take part as well.
It is not traditional singing; it uses the voice in a different way. One singer will make deep breathy sounds and produce a short rhythm that she repeats with small breaks in between. The second singer responds during the leaders breaks and they engage in a sort of competition.  There are a bunch of youtube videos of this, its really interesting sounding.  Here is an example:

Musk/Ox push game: The Musk ox Push- With both players on their hands and knees, and heads bent down against each others' shoulders, they attempt to push each other forward out of a designated area. Hands must be kept on the floor. 

He did a simple coloring page of Inuit clothing.   Clothing was an important factor in the ability of the Inuit to dwell in such a harsh environment.
All clothing was made from various animal skins and hides. In winter they wore two layers of caribou fur clothing- with the fur on the outer layer facing out and the inner layer facing in for ultimate warmth.  Their outer garments were hooded fur jackets called parkas which we still use
commonly today. They also wore jackets called Atiqiks. They were made with goose down from
geese that were hunted during the spring months.

Snowshoe experiment How do snowshoes work?   We put a polar bear in flour, pressed him down gently and noted how deep his feet sunk.  Then made some "snowshoes" with cardstock and tape, and tried again.  This time, he was much harder to press down and didn't make much of a dent!

We then discussed how Inuits use snowshoes and looked at photos of real ones, both Inuit made and modern ones.  

Inuit diet:  Because of their food source (only what they killed) the Inuit diet is very high in protein and very high in fat- 75% of their daily energy intake is from fat.
It is not possible to cultivate plants for food in the Arctic; the Inuit have always gathered what is naturally available. They collect grasses, tubers, roots, stems, berries and seaweed. They preserved these depending on the season and their location. Because it is much harder to get food in the freezing winter months, the Inuit will dry large supplies of fish in preparation.
What they eat:  They hunt whales, walruses, caribou, seals, polar bears, muskoxen and birds.     In the winter they would hunt seals through their air holes in the ice. They would stand above the holes, harpoon in hand and await the seals return to their breathing hole. In spring the Inuit were able to navigate the thawed surface and hunt for food in their one-man kayaks. Caribou are an important source of sustenance for the Inuit; they are used not only for food, but their skins and antlers are used for clothing and tools as well. They hunted with bow and arrow, harpoons, fishing spears and traps. Today the Inuit use modern fishing rods, hooks, nets and traps as well as firearms.

Komatik:  a sturdy frame on runners with reins attached to multiple huskies was the main mode of transportation for the Inuit. Today many dogsleds have been replaced by snowmobiles.

Qujaq: means hunter boat, was an Inuit invention that is still widely used today. It was traditionally a one person boat made of a light weight driftwood or whale bone frame, covered with stretched animal skins, and finally made watertight with whale fat. The hunter would fasten his outer layer- an annuraaq made of seal skin around the cockpit to seal out any water.

Igloo: The word igloo means any type of house, not just a snow house. Snow block houses were never used in Alaska.  Alaskan and many Russian Inuit lived in cabins made of driftwood covered in soil. In Greenland, Inuit often lived in permanent stone houses. Some Inuit did live in snow block houses during the winter, but moved intoanimal skin tents during the short summer months. In recent years, many Inuit homes have become more modern. Prefabricated wooden houses with heat provided by oil-burning stoves are common. However, Inuit housing styles continue to vary greatly depending on location.  We did an Igloo craft

We also did a snow/ice sensory bin, which included crushed ice (snow cone texture), and small arctic animals (toobs)
This is what T does when you ask her to smile! 

Here is the finished lapbook:

Inuit lesson plans: (click on Inuits for youngers)
inuit coloring page
Inuit paper doll
Igloo craft
Inuit family book
Inuit language
Inuksuk craft
Snowshoe experiment
Inuksuk file folder game

Download a PDF  I made with all of the pictures we used for the flapbooks here   
***** I think I fixed this so you should be able to download now!******


  1. What a great lapbook! We have been learning about the arctic and this would be a great addition. Tnaks for sharing!

    p.s. I tried to download the pdf but it is asking for a pernission.

  2. Awesome! We have been studying Alaska and I was looking for ideas to extend the mini study we're doing on the Inuit people. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. I lived in Baffin Island as a child- just a small correction to offer. Inuit is a plural word and so you wouldn't say "Inuits". If you are referring to one person it is "Inuk". Loved your lap book and lesson ideas! Great job.