Analyzing and Understanding Creation Stories

Teacher Note: Depending on the length of class time available, this lesson may take 3-4 sessions to complete.

Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the main ideas, events, or themes of a variety of novels, stories, poetry, other print material, and electronic media.

Students will locate and interpret details in stories, articles, novels, poetry, or non-print media to respond to a range of tasks.

Steps to the Lesson

  1. Discuss the significance of creation stories in various cultures.
  2. Listen/Read/View four different creation stories.
  3. Compare the characteristics of four creation stories using a Placemat activity.
  4. Create a Fishbone Diagram to sort and organize the characteristics of Creation Stories.
  5. Reflect on the process.



Students will:

  • listen to a Cowichan, Ktunaxa and Sinixt creation story.
  • view a Coast Salish creation story.
  • analyze four traditional creation stories; identifying the underlying themes and characteristics contained in the stories.


Students will create a Fishbone graphic organizer to demonstrate their understanding of creation stories.

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Creation stories are an important way of obtaining information regarding people’s beliefs about how the world originated. However, obtaining the information is not always easy as the creators of the myths or legends did not always write in simple terms. The stories were often written in a way that encoded the information that one was seeking regarding the origin of a particular culture. Thus, creation stories are very common throughout most global societies and cultures.

Teachers conduct a class discussion and brainstorm on the board what creation stories the students are already familiar with (ie. Great Flood stories).

Predict and Question:

As mentioned, creation stories were very important in global cultures as they attempted to explain how the world was created. Some questions the teacher should ask the students to consider include:

  • Who were the stories written for?
  • Thinking of the students’ local environments, what natural landforms would a local creation story describe?
  • What are the students wondering about creation stories?



Students will now listen to and view three different creation stories; identifying and comparing their characteristics. Using a Graphic Organizer, students should consider the following elements of the stories while listening and viewing:

  • What is the story’s main topic?
    For example:

    • Creation of the world.
    • How humans, animals, and plants came to be.
    • Moral lessons to be learned.
  • Who are the main characters in the story?
    • What are they accomplishing?
  • What is the sequence of story events?

(Note: Students should use one Graphic Organizer per story. However, if students use small print, one sheet could be used for all three stories.)

Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the story and give students (A/B partners) opportunity to talk or respond to the story.

Using their completed Graphic Organizers for reference, students move into groups of three or four and complete a Placemat Activity (click link to view the procedure of a Placemat Activity) to record their observations on the creation stories they have just listened to or viewed. Once students have recorded their observations on their placemat, student groups discuss and highlight what they feel are the most important ideas/elements they have discovered about creation stories and what make them unique. Students then write these key ideas/elements in the center of their placemat.

Once the Placemat Activity is complete, student groups then create a Fishbone Diagram (click link to view the procedure of a Fishbone Diagram ) to demonstrate their understanding of the key elements of creation stories; providing evidence from the specific creation stories.


Students reflect on the creation stories they have seen/heard and, using the back of their Graphic Organizer sheets, consider the following questions:

  • What was my favourite of the three creation stories? Why?
  • What audio/visual format do I prefer with stories? (ie. listening or viewing) Why?

Extend learning or next lesson

Using the Fishbone Organizers as a framework for building story structure, students write their own creation story and, when completed, share their written creations with the class.