My AbEd inquiry question began by trying to figure out how to utilize the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel in my ongoing teaching practice without it feeling forced or out of place. So my question was just that, “How can I utilize the medicine wheel in my ongoing teaching practices?”
At the beginning of 405 I believed that physical education would be the best fit for introducing and utilizing the Medicine Wheel. However through many experiences I found that it could be used cross curricularly in my science and math classes as well. Although I was hesitant I experienced a positive association and engagement from my students. I have attached a journal from the day I used the Medicine Wheel in my chemistry class (a place where I thought I would never use it). I have also utilized this practice in my PE and math settings, this blog will just discuss the experiences in science. I have kept a journal of my experiences and will bring to the final week of 405 for your viewing pleasure.
Example: Balancing Chemical Equations – What does it mean to be balanced?
- Class discussion
- Incorporating the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel.
I introduced Chapter 4.3 Balancing Chemical Equations by use of a class wide discussion. I began by posting a picture of the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel and asked the students to engage in a “think, pair, share” exercise. I guided the discussion around the different components of health in the medicine wheel: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. I had students think of an example for each, and some shared their ideas. Then we talked about the importance of being balanced and how difficult it is to do day-to-day activities when your medicine wheel is off. The students were asked if they could draw any connections between being a balanced person and balancing chemical equations. This discussion didn’t gain as much dialogue but students did connect back to the law of conservation of mass that was introduced by use of a lab the previous class.
The medicine wheel was very relatable to the students and many of them were able to think of an example for at least one of the different aspects of health. It can be used across a wide variety of subjects and I intend to continue to incorporate it within my practice. When teaching a subject such as planning or health, it can be used as an entire unit. For example talking about the emotional and mental health conditions and issues facing young students, as well as coping skills. It can also be used to discuss the physical health components and the importance of daily physical activities and how that relates to a healthy you. Then the unit can even be used to discuss healthy and meaningful relationships.