Current Projects

Beginning Approaches: What Does It Mean to Teach Indigenous Ways of Knowing Nature?

CMASTE Science Teachers’ Workshop: January 24 and 25, 2019

CMASTE is excited to be hosting another 2 day workshop this January! The workshop is for K-12 teacher of science in Alberta and is aimed at helping practicing teachers to understand and implement Indigenous perspectives in the science classroom. This session responds to requests from our participants who attended our June workshop and is not a repeat of that session -- teachers who attended the June session are welcome to attend this one, and if you are just starting to consider these ideas, this workshop is also for you!

About this workshop:

When: January 24 and 25 -- 9:00am - 3:30 pm

Where: Room EdS 122 University of Alberta Faculty of Education

Cost: $260 (lunch included both days)


  • Bruce Cutknife -- Maskwacis Educational Consultant
  • Madeyn Rymer -- Science Department Head and Teacher, Ermineskin School, Maskwacis
  • Dr. Frank Elliott -- Adjunct Assistant Professor, Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, University of Alberta
  • with several guest lecturers

Our leaders will model and show us that the process of considering Indigenous perspectives is initially based upon building relationships -- with one another, with the land, with our own worldviews and with those of others. We will introduce references and resources surrounding Indigenous practices and technologies as they might apply, and teachers can tailor their workshop experience to their grade level and subject area. Teachers can expect to be challenged, and to also begin developing practices in their classrooms that they can use for and with their students.

This workshop will include:

  • An introduction and explanation of protocols (and ceremonies)
  • A discussion of what “Science” and ‘Indigenous Science’ is and is not
  • Some teaching strategies and how to use them in your classroom
  • A discussion of how ‘tokenism’ and ‘appropriation’ should be considered
  • Identifying places of connection between Indigenous and scientific ways of knowing nature and the Alberta Program of Studies

Register at:

Please see attached poster - feel free to print and post at your workplace!

Questions? Email

The CMASTE Seminar Series is a discussion group that meets once a month on Wednesday from 4:00 to 5:00 pm to discuss various topics in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. Each seminar a guest speaker conducts a 20 minute presentation on a topic of their choosing leaving plenty of time for discussion to follow.


Everyone is welcome to attend the CMASTE Seminar Series, invitations are distributed via the CMASTE listserv. If you would like to be added to the listserv or are interested in becoming a guest speaker please email

Previous Discussion Papers

Periodically CMASTE has funding opportunities for faculty member projects, graduate and postdoctoral student projects, graduate and postdoctoral student travel and term contract sessional projects.

Funding for the 2017/2018 year is completed, please stay tuned for an update funds available for the 2018/2019 year.


Current Projects

Telus World of Science Collaborative Research Project

Dr. Cheryl Poth and Dr. Jerine Pegg

Pre-service Science Teachers' Personal Metacognitive Knowledge

Dr. Greg Thomas

Cross Border Shopping: Analysis of STEM Teaching Resources from Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario Canada

Dr. Darren Hoeg

Critical Research in/through Project-Based Learning

Dr. Mijung Kim and Dr. Suzanna Wong

Computational Thinking Assessments - CanCode Grant

Dr. Maria Cutumisu and Dr. Catherine Adams

The Callysto-Colaboratory Interactive Textbook Project: Extending Pre-Service Teachers' Computational Thinking Skills

Dr. Catherine Adams

Completed Projects

Integrating Scientific and Mathematical Reasoning in Elementary School

Dr. Janelle McFeetors and Dr. Mijung Kim

NARST Conference 2018: Integrating Scientific and Mathematical Reasoning in Elementary School

Qingna Jin

CSSE Annual Conference 2018: Mathematics Teachers Learning in Professional Learning Networks

Xiong Wang

GlycoNet is a Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada that began in 2014. The vision of GlycoNet is to deliver solutions to important health issues and improve quality of life of Canadians through glycomics.


The mission of GlycoNet is to:

  1. ensure that the Network and Canada are internationally recognized as the leader in glycomics research;
  2. deliver exceptional training in glycomics research and entrepreneurship;
  3. bridge the translation gap between research and industry; and
  4. translate research advances into tangible benefits for Canada.

Using teachers from cooperating universities, CMASTE has worked with partner Universities to create the resources to assist in translating the research performed as part of GlycoNet to K-12 learners.

For access to all Glyconet Resources please visit the Glyconet Resources section of Teacher Resources.

GlycoNet Workshops

Tours of local research labs, with hands-on experience using locally developed inquiry-based classroom science resources for teachers. Interested? Registration is free!

Indigenous Teaching Gardens

Welcome to the Indigenous teaching and learning gardens in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. They are a site for learning from the Land and engaging with Indigenous perspectives in the teaching and learning of K-12 subject matter, with a specific focus on mathematics and the sciences.

Thinking about teaching, research and learning in and use of the gardens involves an ongoing series of conversations within the community we are building around them. The website is therefore a work-in-progress that changes as we come to understand new, differently and more.


Since 2000, most provincial and territorial governments, including Alberta’s, have mandated the integration of perspectives of Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across all K-12 curricula.

In 2011, the gardens project was conceived as a means of considering integration within preservice teacher education at UA. They were developed primarily for and by students taking courses focused on teaching and learning in the science and mathematics because these subject subject areas can be challenging with respect to integration.

Since the winter of 2012, the project has involved multiple courses in the Departments of Secondary and Elementary Education.

What are the gardens?

The gardens are places located in and around the Education Building on the University of Alberta North campus. They contain plant species mostly native to Alberta, making them sustainable and eco-friendly. The gardens exist as a learning space where faculty, students, and pre-service teachers can come together to learn in a natural and welcoming environment.

Where are they located?

There are three garden locations. The first is known as the West Balcony Planter, located on the 3rd floor of Education North, on the large balcony on the West side of the building (across from EdTech Services). This planter is less sheltered from the elements, and hosts many plant species that prefer moist conditions. This planter was filled in Spring 2012. Picnic tables are provided here for visitors to enjoy the outdoors, with the sun being strongest in the afternoon.

The next is the East Balcony Planter, located on the 3rd floor of Education North on the smaller balcony. This balcony can only be accessed through EdTech Services, and it hosts multiple picnic benches as well. This balcony is much more sheltered from the elements, so the plants found here prefer dry soil conditions. The sun is strongest here in the morning and early afternoon, and is a great place to enjoy your lunch or morning coffee! The planter here was also filled in Spring 2012.

The third location is the Naturalization Site, located just outside the windows and doors behind the Education Cafeteria on the main floor of Education North (on the East side of the building, in the courtyard). This site is older than the balcony planters, but contains many of the same indigenous plant species. Initially cared for and reclaimed by Sustain SU, this garden is a collaboration joining our projects together.

Contact Us


3rd floor balconies (West and East), outside main floor cafeteria

Education Building, North Tower

University of Alberta North Campus

114 Street, 89 Avenue

Edmonton, AB



The plants in the gardens are Indigenous to the prairies and most can be found in Alberta. However, there is one excpetion; tobacco, which is a sacred plant that we grow, gather and dry to use as offerings. For a summary of plants please click here.

Teacher Resources

In order to help fellow educators realize the potential benefits of using an Indigenous teaching garden with their students, we have put together some ideas to get indigenous perspectives into the classrooms.

Under Lesson Plans, you will find lesson plans created using our gardens. These are specific to the Alberta curriculum and laid out for use in the classroom.

Under Classroom Resources, we have put together lists of handouts, websites, and other resources. These may not be specific to the Alberta curriculum or to our gardens, but they can easily be adapted.

To set up your own garden, use the resources provided in garden development. The links include places to purchase seeds, lists of indigenous plants etc.

If you have any comments or suggestions about the classroom materials or lesson plans, please email

To print any of the following lesson plans, click on the small arrow in the top right-hand corner to be taken to the full Google Docs site. You can then print from there by clicking the printer icon on the left.

To download, click on the small arrow in the top right-hand corner to be taken to the full Google Docs site. From there, click "File" on the left, and then "Download".

All lessons were developed using the Alberta Curriculum.

For more information on teaching Indigenous students, please read Our Words, Our Ways

Biology 20

Career and Technology Studies

Science 7

Website Resources

  • University of Alberta's Center for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (CMASTE)
    • This is a great place to find sample lesson plans and classroom resources that portray the possibilities of Aboriginal infusion in the Alberta Biology 20 curriculum.
  • The Edible Schoolyard Project
    • A page dedicated to sharing resources from teachers across North America, all centering on the use of gardening within classroom curriculum. Mostly science based, but includes many cross-curricular lessons and activities. Various grade levels are targeted.
  • Nitsitapiisinni - Stories and Spaces Exploring Kainai Plants and Culture
    • Website created following a Grade 4 classroom's experience working with Kainai plants and culture within curriculum. Includes a PDF file of sample cross-curricular lesson plans, and instructional videos for how to use the site within existing teaching practices.
  • Visual Thesaurus Scientific Nomenclature Lesson Plan
    • A great lesson plan idea that can be incorporated to use with or without the garden. Payment required for an account with Visual Thesaurus. Although it is not absolutely necessary, the site is highly interective and research based for students to use.
  • School Garden Network
    • New site launched in Canada, connecting schools across the country by allowing them to build a profile for their gardens. Some teaching resources are also available, and are expected to grow as the site matures.
  • Wonderville
    • Website containing lesson plans ideas, games, videos, and interactive activities that can easily be implemented in the classroom. Science Alberta Foundation award winner, linked directly to Alberta curriculum.
  • School Garden Wizard: Children's Garden Themes
    • List of themed gardens that apply across the curriculum, regardless of what you decide to plant. Ideas of how to incorporate various plants into learning.

Classroom Materials

Reference Materials

  • Protocarnivorous Capabilities in Geranium viscosissimum
    • Research proving that Geranium viscosissimum (Sticky Geraniums) found in the Indigenous teaching gardens use their glandular surfaces to trap insects, digest them with enzymes, and use resulting nitrogen to supplement what they obtain from the soil. Can be used in conjunction with teaching about nitrogen cycles and relationships between organisms.
  • Ojibway Plant Taxonomy
    • Examples of Ojibway plant taxonomy that can be used in the classroom as a resource for Indigenous classification systems.
  • Inuit Taxonomy
    • Site describing Inuit Taxonomy, can be used in the classroom as a reference for Indigenous classification systems
  • Naming Nature: The clash between instinct and science
    • Book describing classification, taxonomy, and the interesting connections between all patterns that exist within different systems. Excellent for understanding how people have derived classification systems independently, while still creating similar systems.
  • Our Words, Our Ways
    • Publication by Alberta Education, describing Indigenous perspectives and how they exist in the classroom. Many great examples of acknoledging Indigenous perspectives in the classroom, and how to teach students of Indigenous culture.

Other Lesson Plan Ideas

  • Soil pH Lab
    • Utilizes pH strips and pH probes to determine the pH of soil in various locations and conditions. This can be used with the Indigenous teaching gardens by having students test different ares of the gardens, and comparing the soil pH levels of both the gardens. Can also discuss traditional and modern techniques for adjusting soil pH. Retrieved from the Edible Schoolyard Project site.
  • Temperature Basics in the Garden
    • Students use various methods to record temperature in different locations in the garden. Helps gain knowledge of the environment in the garden, as well skills involved in measuring and recording temperature. Can be adapted to include a closer relationship with the Alberta curriculum by tying to more specific objectives in the Program of Studies. Retrieved from the Edible Schoolyard Project site.
  • Wildlife What Am I?
    • Students look at different native Alberta species as they relate to biodiversity and food chains. Could easily be adapted to include species found in the garden, or Aboriginal consumption of native species. Retrieved from
  • My Community - Ecological Design
    • Students analyze their community as it has impacted native species, then redesign it to allow reduced impact on the natural environment without decreasing the quality of life of humans. In place of choosing a native animal species, students could choose one of the native plant species found in the gardens. Retrieved from
  • Pulse Crops and Seed Production



An organization which promotes knowledge and conservation of the native plants and vegetation of Alberta


Site with information on native Alberta plants, and also a source of seeds for growing your own Indigenous garden. Also a place to find out about gardening and native plant and wildflower events in and around Edmonton!


National park travel and wildlife information, written by Perry Rosenbloom after spending time working at the glacier.



High school permaculture club run through Jasper Place High School by Dustin Bajer in Edmonton, Alberta.


Website with lots of identification and use information for native Montana plant species, many of which are the same in Alberta.


Native plant species garden located in the University of Alberta's Devonian Botanical Gardens. Some plants in this garden are the same as in our gardens, and some further information can be found here.


This is the web site that Alvine did with her students in Kainai. Lots of information here about plants and their uses, all put together by elementary school students! On the site you can find lots of information about the plants the students studied, many of which will grow in our garden.


A not-for-profit, charitable organization dedicated to providing information and inspiring an appreciation of native plants with an aim to restoring healthy ecosystems across the continent.


Database website containing information on edible, medicinal, and other uses of numerous plant species.


Website dedicated to identifying and growing prairie plants in Manitoba.


Website from which we purchased our Wild Tobacco and Wild Strawberries.


Student's Union initiative, promoting everything sustainable on campus. They currently tend to a naturalization site outside the doors near the Education cafeteria, containing many native species to Alberta. Many of these plants are also similar/identical to those found in the Indigenous teaching gardens.


Located in Turner Valley, AB, Wild about Flowers is a supplier of wildflowers and grasses native to Alberta. They collect our wildflower seed from natural spaces in Alberta and grow plants outdoors, in-tune with the growing season to produce the hardiest of plants. Most of the seeds and plant plugs for our garden were purchased from Wild about Flowers. They provide great information about the plants they supply. Check it out under “Plants and Seeds” and “Browse by Common Name”.





Available at Rutherford or JW Scott Libraries, University of Alberta, RS 164 A545 1982

LIVING WITH THE LAND: USE OF PLANTS BY THE NATIVE PEOPLE OF ALBERTA - Alberta Culture, Provincial Museum of Alberta, Various editions

Available at the University of Alberta:

Cameron Library (Oversize), E98 B7 A33 1985

JW Scott Library, E98 B7 A33 1982

Rutherford Library, E98 B7 A33 1975

Coutts Library (Curriculum), E98 B7 A33 1975



RESEARCH IS CEREMONY: INDIGENOUS RESEARCH METHODS - Wilson, S. (2008). Halifax, NS: Fernwood Publishing.

Journal Articles

HARVESTING CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE - Keating, J. F. (1997). Harvesting cultural knowledge: Using ethnobotany to reap the benefits of ethnic diversity in the classroom. The Science Teacher, 64(2), 22-25.

Presentations and Papers


Wiseman, D., Onuczko, T., Glanfield, F. (In press). Resilience and hope in the garden: Intercropping Aboriginal and Western ways of knowing to inquire into teaching and learning science. In H. Smits & R. Naqvi (Eds). Framing Peace: Thinking About and Enacting Curriculum as “Radical Hope”. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.


Onuczko, T., Wiseman, D., Glanfield, F., Donald, D., & Wiebe Buchanan, C. (2014, May).
Learning to hear the land speak: Reflection-in-place as a means of engaging with Aboriginal perspectives in the sciences. Paper presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education. St. Catharine’s, ON. (Dawn will provide PPT)
Wiseman, D., Glanfield, F., Donald, D., & Wiebe Buchanan, C. (2013, November).
Engaging with mathematics in the Indigenous teaching and learning gardens. Presentation at the Banff International Research Station, Understanding relationships between Aboriginal knowledge systems, wisdom traditions, and mathematics: Research possibilities workshop. Banff, AB
Wiebe Buchanan, C., Kammal, J., Glanfield, F., Wiseman, D., Onuczko, T., Appelt, S., Edwards, S. (2013, November).
Inquiry in the garden: Teaching science with open-ended, living projects.
Wiseman, D., Onuczko, T., Glanfield, F., Donald, D. (2013, June).
Engaging with Indigenous perspectives in pre-service science teacher education: Stories from the garden. Paper presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education. Victoria, BC.
Claxton, N., Donald, D., Tanaka, M., & Wiseman, D. (2013, June).
Teacher education and Indigenous pedagogy: Imagining possibilities. Paper presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education. Victoria, BC.
Wiseman, D., & Onuczko, T. (2013, April).
Inquiry in the garden: Integrating open-ended, living projects in science teaching and learning. Paper presented at the National Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting. San Antonio, TX. (Tracy will provide ppt)
Appelt, S., Glanfield, F. Onuzcko, T., & Wiseman, D. (2012, November).
Inquiry in the garden: Teaching science with open-ended, living projects. Paper presented at the Alberta Teachers Association Science Council Conference. Banff, AB.
Wiseman, D., Onuczko, T., Glanfield, F., Mountain Horse, A., & Appelt, S. (2012, June).
Inviting preservice teachers to consider a space for the integration of Indigenous perspectives in the science classroom: Conversations emergent from a(n attempted) change in practice in preservice education. Paper presented at the NorthWest Association of Teacher Educators conference. Edmonton, AB.
Wiseman, D., Glanfield, F., & Donald, D. (2012, April).
Meeting places in the garden: Making meaning around integration of Indigenous perspectives in secondary science teacher education. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association. Vancouver, BC. (Dawn will provide paper)

CMASTE has partnered with various school boards in the Edmonton area to provide professional development for teachers who want to build on their knowledge, understanding and confidence in mathematics. Facilitated by professors from the University of Alberta, The Math Academy consists of 4 two day sessions which covers various topics in mathematics including; Patterns and Relationships, Cognitively Demanding Tasks and Mathematical Proficiency.

CMASTE is pleased to announce the return of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) project! Thanks to the generosity of Alberta Innovates and NRC-Nano (formerly NINT) the microscope will continue to visit schools for the next two years.

Nanotechnology is an emerging field of research and development that teachers and students want to learn more. Our program involves the use of a SEM. The SEM is equipped with an Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometer that can do elemental analysis of samples. To learn more about sample preparation please click here. This project is encourages schools to participate in inquiry-based projects with their students and the microscope. As a result, the microscope would typically visit your school for several days, and a trained facilitator would help your students use the microscope and interpret the results.

CMASTE are looking for schools that have students use the SEM for student-generated research ideas and make maximum use of the SEM while visiting (for example, have other students see presentations of the SEM when it is not in use for inquiry projects at the school). For more information on project and lesson ideas, please see the Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Resources tab above. To view a recent inquiry project done by a high school student using the SEM please click here.

How to Apply?

Applying is easy, simply fill out this form.

If you have any questions about the SEM project, please email