Grades 4 – 8

Programs Notice

The Canadian Canoe Museum is temporarily closed, and our programs are on pause as we prepare to move to our new museum.

If you’d like to be notified when our education programs resume, please sign up for our Educator’s Newsletter.

Bark, Skin and Cedar (Grade 3-4)

An active, hands-on exploration of traditional Indigenous watercraft, tied to the grade 3-4 curriculum. Students compare different First Nations and Inuit watercraft – materials, form, function – and work in pairs or groups of 3 to investigate the geographic regions of Canada connected to each specific craft and culture. Each student works on his or her own mapping activity during the program, which can be taken back to class for assessment or further exploration. This program starts with a short hands-on small-group interactive tour of the galleries’ aboriginal watercraft, and culminates with the students’ sharing their findings using a Venn diagram created by the whole class.

A great program for 3/4 splits!
(Grade 3 Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada 1780-1850)
Grade 4 People and Environments: Political and Physical Regions of Canada, B3
Grade 4 Heritage and Identity: Early Societies, A2, A3
Grade 4 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 Reading 1.4, 1.8, 3.2 Writing 1.4, 1.5

“They loved making the bannock and dressing up in costume. Actually lifting up one of the 90 pound packs had an impact on them and their understanding of how physically demanding the role of a voyageur was. There was also a definite link to our social studies program – it brings the learning alive and I am able to continue to refer back to things we did as we move forward in our unit.” – Joanne Mitchell (George Webster ES)

Trappers and Traders (Grade 5-7)

An immersion in fur trade history that students will always remember. Dress up in period costume, trade in the trading post, bake bannock, tie tumplines, handle Voyageur paddles, and visit the Encampment in this day-in-the-life of a Voyageur experience! Our staff, in character as “bourgeois”, facilitate first-hand, hands-on experiences of the stories, language, navigation, trade items, portaging practice, period food and fur-handling in the context of the First Nations’, Metis and European relationships at the core of the fur trade. In our debrief of the role-play experience, we facilitate discussion of women’s roles in the fur trade, and the legacy of the fur trade relationships between Indigenous and European newcomer populations. Classroom-follow-up will be provided during your visit: A copy of an authentic Voyageur contract in the original French, plus an English translation.

Grade 5 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: First Nations and Europeans in New France and Early Canada
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present
Grade 7 History, New France and British North America, 1713-1850
Grade 4 – 8 Drama B1
Grade 4-8 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 1.4, 1.8, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4

“The programming was excellent! The students were fully engaged for the entire day. They learned a great deal about First Nations people, Canadian History and canoe’s – (of course!)” – Teacher

Traditional Knowledge and Skills (Grade 4-8)

A cross-curricular program that explores First Nations’ oral culture, traditional knowledge and skills through storytelling, artifacts and creativity. Students gather knowledge from primary and secondary sources in our collection about the watercraft of the Indigenous peoples of different regions of Canada, and work in small groups to share their findings through drama and movement. A traditional Mi’kmaq tale told in the Voyageur encampment inspires an exploration of storytelling as a way to share knowledge. Students each create an artifact to help them carry the story home.

Grade 4-8 Drama B1, B2, B3, Visual Arts D1, D3
Grade 4-8 Language – Oral Communication 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 
Reading 1.4, 3.2

Path of the Paddle (Grade 4-8)

Please note: This program is NOT available for Overnight or Evening programs.
Explore environmental stewardship, traditional fire-making, and human interaction with the land. Students engage with exhibits throughout the Museum galleries via a scavenger hunt that inspires discussion about their role in environmental stewardship. Outdoors, students learn fire safety and try their hand using fire bows, char cloth, flint and steel, working cooperatively to create fire. A great trip to connect with Earth Day!
Please be sure that students are dressed appropriately for approximately 30 minutes outdoors, and wearing closed-toe shoes.
Grade 4 Social Studies People and Environments B2
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communicates in Canada Past and Present.
“I think this was one of the most expertly designed, rich learning field trips that I have ever taken students on. You made the history come alive. With the costumes, accents, scripts, and gamification, you had the students totally immersed from the start AND you taught them SO much along the way! I was really inspired by the way you started by giving the students a bit of knowledge, then had them ‘play’ with it a bit, then you layered on some more facts and so on – it really was masterful. I was truely inspired.” – Teacher
“I think this program is the best around. It totally fits in with what I am teaching about natives and fur traders. I just wish we had more time to spend there!!” – Christine Proulx (Baltimore PS)

Fur Trade Game (Grade 5-7)

A knowledge-trading game that immerses students in early New France history! Working in small groups, students explore the Galleries to gather, analyze, record and communicate information about the Fur Trade and its significance for, and perspectives of, First Nations and European participants. They trade knowledge for goods and services with a “trading post clerk”, a “First Nations trapper” and with each other. This activity includes hands-on exploration, evaluation and analysis of reproduction trade goods (of both European and First Nations origins) as well as study of different primary sources – maps, text and images — in the Museum’s Galleries. Working in small groups, students will communicate their findings both orally to program leaders, and in writing activities that provide excellent assessment opportunities.

Grade 5 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: First Nations and Europeans in New France and Early Canada, A1, A2, A3
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present, A1, A2
Grade 7 History, New France and British North America, 1713-1800 (Continuity and Change, Historical Perspective). While this program addresses the early French period, much of the content is applicable to the 18th century Fur Trade as well. Our staff will modify delivery and emphasis according to your class grade level.
Grade 4-8 Drama B1
Grade 4-8 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 1.4, 1.8., 2.2., 2.3, 2.4, 2.6 Reading 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 1.9, 3.2
Writing 1.3

“This was a very well run program. Well planned and thought out. The leaders were able to adapt to various student needs to help their experience. The students had some misconceptions changed, and were introduced to new games that have been played at the school following our visit.” – Heritage Christian School

Arctic Paths (Grade 4-8)

What do you know about Arctic life today? Discover and dismantle common misconceptions about how Inuit people live their day-to-day lives and explore continuity and change in traditional Inuit cultures in this fun and collaborative program. Includes active traditional Inuit games, small group inquiry-based learning, and a scavenger hunt!

Add Soapstone Carving to make a full Arctic-themed day!

Grade 4: Social Studies, Early Societies 3000BCE-1500CE
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present
Grade 4-8 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 1.4, 2.2, 2.3 Reading 1.4
Grade 4-8 Health and Physical Education, Active Living A1, A3, Movement Competence B1, B2

Decoding The Arctic (Grade 5-8)

Want to know how to write your name in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit? Students explore the language, the people, and traditional and contemporary lifestyles of the Arctic. A map-based activity sends students throughout the museum’s galleries for clues to understanding and communicating in Inuktitut. Students also get a chance to play a variety of traditional Inuit games

Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present
Grade 5 – 8 Language – Oral Communication 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4

Kayak Building (Grade 6-8)

A stimulating hands-on initiative task. Students work together to build an eight-foot skin-on-frame kayak, from a kit based on an Inuit watercraft in the museum’s collection. Students learn about of kayak-building as a community task in traditional Inuit cultures where different members play distinct and crucial roles. Working collaboratively in small groups, students problem-solve to discover the best building method for their group and project. This is a challenging program that promotes team-building and an understanding of Inuit cultures.

Please note that the kayaks that the students build are not take-homes.

Pre- or Post-Visit Activity: Download a Kayak template here.

Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present
Grade 4-8 Visual Arts D3
Grade 4 – 8 Language – Oral Communication 3.1, 3.2 Reading 1.4, 3.2

“The Canoe Museum programs are always hands-on and offers opportunities to explore by doing in ways that my students rarely or never get a chance to. I had several students wanting to buy spokeshaves when they got back and start carving something of their own! Every Grade 5 teacher in Ontario should try to get here and do the program that we did!” – Percy Centennial School

Paddle Carving (Grade 5-8) 3 hours, $18/student

Carve a 24” paddle out of poplar! Using a traditional spoke shave tool, students learn the woodworking techniques to take their rough blank to a smoothly-sanded, finished paddle. Students have a beautiful souvenir to take home and treasure. as well as an introduction to all the skills necessary to make a full-size paddle in the future.

Grade 4-8 Visual Arts D1, D2, D3
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present A1.2

While the majority of this program is hands-on wood-working, we contextualize paddle-making with a brief tour of paddles in our collection, their origins and significance.

“Please pass on our thanks to Gloria and Jack. They did a great job and were very engaging and interesting. They conveyed to the group some of the traditions and lifestyle of the people living in Canada’s far north as well as inspiring us to make soapstone carvings. Everyone really enjoyed their afternoon at the museum. I look forward to bringing other groups of newcomers to the Canoe Museum in the future.” – Anne Elliott (New Canadian Centre)

Soapstone Carving (Grade 4-8)

A hands-on experience of soapstone carving! The majority of the time of this program is hands-on carving (with sandpaper), starting from a 2×3 inch soapstone blank. As well, we introduce the students this art form in our Arctic Gallery to provide meaningful context, exploring the Inuit cultural tradition in the Arctic environment through our kayak collection and related hands-on artifacts.

Grade 4-8 Visual Arts D1, D2, D3
Grade 4 Science: A 30-minute Grade 4 Rocks & Minerals activity is an optional $1.50/student add-on. (We briefly touch on the properties of soapstone in the standard 90-minute program)
Grade 4 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Early Societies A3.1, A3.2
Grade 6 Social Studies, Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present A1.2

“I can’t thank you enough and the lovely staff, they were so great! My students really enjoyed it and although some students were challenging your staff dealt with the behaviour so excellently!” – Teacher Silvia Stetco (St Joseph)

Watercolour Painting (Grade 4-8)

Whether your students are new to watercolour painting or would like to further develop their skills with the inspiration of our Galleries and instructors, this program provides a unique and stimulating artistic setting that promotes close study of the Museum’s traditional indigenous watercraft, artifacts and shape and form.

Grade 4-8 Visual Arts D1, D2, D3
Depending on the interests of your students and/or the cross-curricular links desired, we can modify this program to emphasize art in the environment, First Nations arts, or environmental activism and canoeing.

Add an on-shore component to your program.  Choose from soapstone carving, kayak discovery, or watercolour painting.

Voyageur Paddling Program 

Students have the unique experience of paddling a 36″ Montreal Canoe up the Peterborough Lift Lock and along the canal. This stunning canoe is a replica of a canoe used in Canada’s Fur Trade era. Students learn about Voyageur history and First Nations’ roles in the Fur Trade through story, role play, and costume, as well as the history and engineering of the lift lock.
“The youth also loved choosing a spot to sleep in the museum and really appreciated the opportunity to learn in such a hands on environment. Thank you so much for the wonderful experience!” – Organizer


Sleepover in the Museum’s Galleries! You get exclusive access to the Museum’s exhibits during your overnight experience. We create a custom schedule base around our education programs. It’s a great camp-in option that can’t get rained out.