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Lesson Plan

Workshop 1.2.1 Experiencing Inuit Innovation

In what ways were Inuit innovative in the past?

Students will explore the innovative and entrepreneurial history of the Inuit. The purpose of this module is to help them understand their past through the lens of innovation and entrepreneurship in order to connect to the entrepreneurial nature of their history.


  1. Warm Up Exercise – 10 mins
  2. Experiential activity: Inuit Innovation– 30mins+
  3. Debrief – 10 mins

Workshop Outcomes

Workshop Vocabulary

  • Elders
  • Innovation
  • Culture
  • Value
  • Need
  • Resources
  • Community members

Warm Up Exercise (10 Mins)

Customize a community building warm up activity for your group needs. You can consult the following resources for ideas:
Warm Ups in Design Thinking
Partners for Youth Empowerment
Icebreakers & Teambuilders
Inuit Games

Experiential Activity: Inuit Innovation (30mins+)

  1. Lay out 3 different Inuit innovations in front of the classroom. Divide students into 3 groups and give each
    group one of the Inuit innovations. Each group must then discuss and research answers to the following
    ➔ What is the name of this innovation?
    ➔ Why was the innovation created?
    ➔ What need were the Inuit trying to solve?
    ➔ What value did they bring to Inuit society?
    ➔ What is it used for?
    ➔ How did this innovation make the lives of the Inuit better?
    ➔ What is this innovation made of?
    ➔ How is this innovation used today? Has it changed over time?

    Students can use online resources, or interview members of the school community, their family, or other
    community experts.
  2. Each group can do a short 2-3 minute presentation of their findings to the class.
  3. Students look at the image from the workbook on p.47, which includes the main resources the Inuit had at their disposal pre-european contact. Students race to make a list of all of the innovations that were created
    using only these resources. They can be encouraged to ask family members, friends, and local elders for

Possible Answers:

  • Igloo
  • Harpoon
  • Kakivak
  • Parka
  • Kamik
  • Amauti
  • Snow goggles
  • Kayak
  • Qamutik (sled)
  • Seal skin rope
  • Dog boots
  • Bow drill
  • Umiak
  • Kudlik
  • Sleeping bag
  • Dolls
  • Bone games
  • Inukshuk

Debrief and Reflection (10 mins)

  1. What? What is an innovation?
  2. So what? What did you learn about Inuit innovation?
  3. Now what? What are the innovations around you today?

Other Workshops

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Workshop 1.2.1 Experiencing Inuit Innovation

Students explore the innovative and entrepreneurial history of the Inuit.
Lesson Plan
1.2-2.3 Career and Community Development

Workshop 1.2.5 The Kiggavik Nest

Students create a short pitch to communicate their top ideas and to then decide on…
Lesson Plan
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Workshop 1.2.3 Observe and Interact

How can we build empathy in our community?



Fish spear



Parka for carrying a baby

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