Inuksuk Stone Statues
How do people communicate when the landscape is as barren and forbidding as Arctic tundra? Make a stone message board Inuit-style.
1. What happens when two people get together? They talk. People like to share what they know. They talk about what is important to them. Communicating-by talking, writing notes, or using a cell phone, is easy today for most people. It was far more difficult on the sparse, snowy landscape of Northern Canada near the Arctic circle. To get messages to each other, the Inuit people began an ancient tradition in their homeland-they built Inuksuks.
2. Stone statues were used as signposts to tell others about good fishing areas. Some statues helped people navigate across tundra. Others marked storage caches. The Inuksuk was traditionally made of stones that fit precisely together. Inuksuks are considered to be sacred and must never be destroyed. Many have been in place for a very long time. Their meanings are unique to their location and design. Find pictures of these stone statues in books or on the Internet.
3. To create a stone-like material, mix white Crayola® Model Magic with aquarium gravel in a recycled foam produce tray. The graininess of the stone depends on how much gravel you add to the Model Magic.
4. Flatten the Model Magic into slabs with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin. Cut the slab into several rock-like shapes with a plastic dinner knife. Dry overnight.
5. Decide on the purpose and placement of your Inuksuk. Do you want it to announce that you passed this way? Are you making a memorial for a lost pet? Guiding friends to a special place? Or welcoming visitors into your room?
6. Assemble your Inuksuk on a recycled foam produce tray. For example, pile the stones so that several point one direction. Or make a "window" of stones through which a viewer can look. Glue the stones in place with Crayola School Glue. Dry.
7. See whether you and your classmates can figure out what message each other's stones show.
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Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—
- Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
- Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
- Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
- The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
- Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
- Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
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Modeling Tools—Use the least dangerous point or edge sufficient to do the job. For example, craft sticks, plastic knives and forks, and cookie cutters can cut or carve modeling materials.
Recycled Foam Produce Trays—Wash in hot, soapy water. No meat or poultry trays should be used.
- Children who have special needs may benefit from doing this as a class learning activity. Pre-literate students will appreciate its communication possibilities.
- Make an Inuksuk circle of friendship. Stand each student's Inuksuk facing others in a circle.
- An Inuksuk is the central motif on the flag of Canada's newest territory, Nunavut. Find out about this territory. Study its flag of blue, gold, and red. Learn what the colors and symbols mean to Nunavut's inhabitants.
- What other world cultures built stone structures? When were they built? What were their meanings and uses?