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Name: Jock Langlois (Red River Metis, Ojibway); Sean Pratt [contributor] (settler Canadian)
Grades: K-12
Subject Areas: All subjects including Drama, Science, PE/Health
Artefact /Place/ Skill: Stones/Balancing

Making Space

How might teachers prepare their students to work with this content? What background knowledge might be required? 

  • Teacher can initiate a discussion about balance ie: What does balance mean to you?
  • (Question of the Day) What does being in balance with nature, ourselves, and others look like?
  • Finding rocks in Nature: Place-based learning approach, prepare students to work with rocks and balancing with a field trip to the local park or beach to gather stones.
  • Students will learn about various types of rocks and minerals found there, can research the ages of these stones.
  • Students can also grow their knowledge of pollution and contribute positively by participating in collecting and cleaning up trash and garbage found in beaches and parks.
    This is also part of honoring the land, as part of Truth and Reconciliation, working to “actively work to return the land unto itself, to the caretakers who once nurtured nature

Balance of life: Interview with Jock Langlois

Practice Humility

How might non-Indigenous teachers sensitively work with this subject? What might they need to consider in their own positionality?

  • Recognizing that to Indigenous peoples, rocks have spirits and have many stories to tell. Indigenous peoples sometimes call the Earth’s rocks ‘Grandfathers’.
  • While rock balancing is not a strictly Indigenous activity, Inukshuk and Inuksuit have a distinct meaning which must be honoured and protected.
  • Inukshuk have often been coopted for non-Inuit purposes, most notably as a symbol of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Manitoba and elsewhere are painted with ancient sacred symbols called pictographs.
  • Stacking rocks symbolizes creation and connecting the spirit of the rock to ourselves as the rock standing requires concentration and focus and leads to healing.

Acknowledge Sources

What can teachers do to find good supporting resources? How should they be cited, especially when it comes to Indigenous knowledges?

BC Curriculum Connections

How does it relate to BC Curriculum?

Click on the subject area below to expand the section.


Big Idea(s):

  • Creative growth requires patience, readiness to take risks, and willingness to try new approaches.
  • The mind and body work together when creating works of art
  • Development as an artist requires perseverance, resilience, risk-taking, and reflection.
  • The creative process demands self-discipline, training, and planning.
  • Aesthetic experiences have the power to transform our perspective.
  • An artist’s intention transforms materials into art.

Curricular Competencies:

Personal and Social

 Personal Awareness & Responsibility

  • “I can set goals and use strategies and persistence to achieve them”
  • “I can use strategies to manage my emotions and build resilience”


  • Students who are personally aware and responsible take ownership of their choices and actions.
    They set goals, monitor progress, and understand their emotions, using that understanding to regulate actions and reactions.
    They are aware that learning involves patience and time.
    They can persevere in difficult situations, and to understand how their actions affect themselves and others.


  • Students who are personally aware and responsible recognize the factors that affect their holistic wellness and take increasing responsibility for caring for themselves.
    They keep themselves healthy and stay active, manage stress, and express a sense of personal well-being.
    They make choices that contribute to their safety in their communities, including their online communities and use of social media.
    They recognize their personal responsibility for their happiness and have strategies that help them find peace in challenging situations.

Strategies and techniques to support creative processes

  • Exploring and creating
  • Growth as an artist requires perseverance, resilience, and reflection.
  • Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge as sources of information


Concepts & Content:

  • Processes, materials, movements, technologies, strategies, and techniques to support creative works
  • Traditional and contemporary Aboriginal arts and arts-making processes
  • A variety of national and international works of art and artistic traditions from diverse cultures, communities, times, and places
  • Materials, technologies, and processes for artistic works

Big Idea(s):

  • The form, arrangement, and structure of rocks are affected by three-dimensional forces over time.

Curricular Competencies:

  • The history of the local community and of local First Peoples communities.
  • Use local knowledge to experience and interpret the local environment

Concepts & Content:

  • Internal and external factors that affect the plasticity of rock strata
  • Balanced and unbalanced forces: balanced forces are equal and opposite forces
  • Unbalanced forces are unequal; one force is larger
  • Daily physical activities: examples of effects of balanced and unbalanced forces
  • Force of gravity: Gravity is the force of attraction between objects that pulls all objects toward each other
  • On Earth, gravity pulls objects toward the centre of the planet

Big Idea(s):

  • Forces influence the motion of an object.

Curricular Competencies:

  • Construct, analyze, and interpret graphs, models, and/or diagrams
  • Analyze cause-and-effect relationships
  • Use local knowledge to experience and interpret the local environment
  • Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge as sources of information

Concepts & Content:

  • Relative motion within a stationary reference frame
  • Impulse and momentum
  • Gravitational field and Newton’s law of universal gravitation
  • First Peoples knowledge and applications of forces in traditional technologies

Big Idea(s):

  • Through explorations of spatial relationships, we can develop a geometrical appreciation of the world around us.
  • Solving problems is a creative process.

Curricular Competencies:

  • Engage in problem-solving experiences connected with place, story, cultural practices, and perspectives relevant to local First Peoples communities, the local community, and other cultures
  • Connect mathematical concepts with each other, other areas, and personal interests
  • Solve problems with persistence and a positive disposition

Concepts & Content:

  • Observational and experimental studies
  • Scale models
  • 2D and 3D shapes: including area, surface area, volume, and nets

First Peoples’ Principles of Learning

Which First Peoples’ Principles of Learning apply?

  • Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors.
  • Learning involves patience and time.
  • Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place).

Inviting Community

What is one way that teachers could work with community members for this project?

  • Bring in Jock for lesson on rock carving, balancing. (School would have to source own rocks, perhaps gathered from beach or park visit, in addition to carving tools)

For more information, contact

Jock Langlois:
Jock Langlois: art, story, and materials Copyright and owned solely by Jock Langlois

Further links supplied by Jock:

(Autumn 1989) Manitoba History: Site Review: St. Peter’s and the Interpretation of the Agriculture of Manitoba’s Aboriginal People

(2012) Red River 200 – Celebrating 200 Years of Farming Experience

(Mar 17, 2014) Did You Know? – The History of Louis Riel

(December 8, 2023) Louis Riel Act receives Royal Assent, becomes law