This resource is part of the Museum Snapshot collection - a collection of smaller resources perfect for starters, plenaries or spare moments to explore something fascinating.
First Nation artists from the north-west coast of Canada have been creating totem poles to honour the legends of their sacred animals for generations. A totem pole is a tall wooden pole carved with symbols - these can be animals, plants or patterns - of things that are important to the people who made it.
Telling a Story Through Pictures
This 1970s cedar-wood souvenir plate decorated with two killer whales is a modern version of a totem pole.
- Before reading the story of how the killer whale got its name, what did you know about killer whales?
- How does the story make you feel?
- Why do you think people made up this story about the whales?
- Why do people use animals as symbols or in stories?
- Can you think of any examples of stories where animals are used to tell us something about the world?
- Can you find the north-west coast of Canada on a map? Do some research to discover in which other regions killer whales live and locate them on the map as well.
- This story on the plate is told through a picture. Write a story about an animal just using pictures. Thinking about famous fairy tales might help you.
- Did you know that whales are mammals? Find out about the differences between whales and sharks. The Related Links at the bottom of the page might help.