Grade 5 - Discovering the First Peoples of Nova Scotia

Program Highlights

“Long, long ago there was only the forest, the sky, and the sea…” and so begins the Mi’kmaq story of how the world began and how people came into being. 

This new school program was created in consultation with members of the Mi’kmaq community and designed specifically to meet outcomes in the grade five social studies curriculum. It provides a unique experience for students to learn about the history and culture of Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq using both traditional knowledge (via storytelling) and academic knowledge (via archaeology) The program uses storytelling, problem solving, group discussions, as well as interaction with artefacts and specimens to challenge and engage a variety of learning styles. 

Through “hands-on, minds-on” activities, students will gain a deeper understanding of how we learn about the past, Mi’kmaq people and their connection to the natural world.

Curriculum Outcomes Links

Specific Curriculum Outcomes

  • Develop an understanding of how we learn about the past (5.1.1)
  • Explain how environment influenced the development of an ancient society (5.2.1)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the diverse societies of First Nations and Inuit, in 
    what later became Canada (5.4.1)
  • Illustrate the similarities and differences of past societies and your society (5.6.1)

Social Studies Skills

  • Make self -regulated use of simple group and personal management strategies and basic interactive strategies
  • Formulate and revise information questions, including sub-questions to guide basic research

Program Length

 90 min


  • 2 classes (60 students maximum)
  • 1 chaperone for every 5 students


The charge for this program is $3.55 per student which includes the tax. The teachers are admitted free of charge. One chaperone is admitted free for every five students (1:5 ratio).


10 minutes: Introduction

The program begins with a whole group presentation of a Mi’kmaq creation story. After the introduction, students will be divided into two groups and take part in each of two activities.

40 minutes: Archaeology Dig

Students will experience what it is like to be an archaeologist and discover how the work of archaeologists provides evidence for past events. Students will use the evidence they collect to create a timeline of the history of Mi’kmaq people in Nova Scotia. This timeline reinforces the message that Mik’maq people have been in Nova Scotia for a very long time, and that they continue to live here today.

40 minutes: Wayfinding in Netukulimk

This activity will help students understand that Mi’kmaq society was very strongly influenced by the environment, using storytelling to transmit the knowledge that everything needed for a community to survive can readily be found in nature. In small groups, students (assisted by their chaperones) will discover how to meet different needs by using stories, artifacts and natural specimens found in the Netukulimk gallery

Information and Reservations

This program is fully booked for the fall. To book a visit in April, May and early June 2024, please email