Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Inuit Thought of It: Amazing Arctic Innovations

Annick Press 2007. 32 pages
First published: 2007
Series: We Thought of It
ISBN: 9781554510870 (paperback)
9781554510887 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 600
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

layout, multimodal, setting, structures and features

Award

The Forest of Reading – The Silver Birch Award (Non-Fiction) Nominee – 2009

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

It’s difficult to imagine the extent of the hardships faced by the Inuit people, living in a barren, treeless landscape where temperatures may dip to –50C°. The inventions outlined in this book illustrate a level of ingenuity and resourcefulness that is to be admired.

Most of the inventions originate from animals: waterproof coats from whale intestines, fur-lined parkas made of caribou skin, harpoon heads from bone. Bowls carved from soapstone hold burning moss, fuelled by seal oil.

The fairly dense text contains language that is straightforward and describes each concept efficiently: “Strong igloos could be made only from snow that had become hard enough to walk on without breaking through. An igloo could be built almost anywhere in the snow-covered Arctic, even at a hunting camp on sea ice.”

Each invention is accompanied by photographs, many black and white, of Inuit living in traditional ways. Readers learn how these Inuit inventions are used today. In one two-page spread, a sealskin kayak is under construction, while a modern hard plastic version sits on the adjacent page.

For each basic survival need, the Inuit have discovered creative solutions. As we learn at the end, many have continued their traditions, such as hunting, but combined them with newer technologies, such as motorboats, pickup trucks and computers.

  •  

    Brainstorm what you would need to live in the Arctic.

  •  Make a model of an Inuit invention. Describe your model and its significance to a group of peers in an oral presentation, video, multimedia presentation or report.
  •  

    Try writing your name in Inuktitut. Discuss the challenges of doing so. Do you face similar challenges between French and English?

  •  

    What Inuit inventions and innovations affect your day-to-day life? Find examples in the book and use a graphic organizer to record their impact.

  •  

    Brainstorm what you would need to live in the Arctic.

  •  

    Explore the structures and features of the book. How will you find information?

  •  

    Which inventions, innovations or foods do you believe are the most useful? Unique? Warm? Innovative? Essential? Give awards for each category and write a short paragraph to explain your choices.

  •  

    Try writing your name in Inuktitut. Discuss the problems you face. Do you face similar challenges between French and English?

  •  

    Research other Canadian inventions. Create a page in the same style to celebrate one of them and assemble a class book. Place your findings on a timeline.

  •  

    In teams, compile a speculative list of Inuit innovations.

  •  

    With a partner, create a Top Ten list of the innovations that are useful in places other than the Arctic. Compare your list with others.

  •  

    Research a Canadian Inuit community. Outline a 24-hour schedule of life there for a family such as your own.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Science and Technology