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Learn how to twine wool and/or grass, and find out how twining is used by First Nations People.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Biology: First People’s sustainable use of Living Things (K, 2, 3)
Chemistry: First People’s Materials/Separation methods (1, 6)
Lessons activity is in: 
  • wool, ideally of two contrasting colour, maybe wool dyed with red cabbage
  • wide grass
  • optional: other plants to try twining with e.g. wide grass blades or roots

Thank you to Brenda Koch from Xpey’ Elementary for teaching Ingrid how to twine.

Teach how to twine:
Secure the ends of two strands (or the loop end of one strand folded in half).
Twist the right hand strand twice to the right (in the direction that wool is already twisted).
Pass the right hand strand over the left hand strand and hold in your left hand (without letting it unravel).
Twist the new right strand, then pass over the new left hand strand.
Repeat down the length of the strands, not too tightly, so that the strands relax into each other to make a coil.

A twined strand can be twined again around another one, to make a stronger cord.

The physics in twining:
When you twist, you force the [wool] to twist into a new position. You are putting energy into it - elastic potential energy - a stored energy in materials that are elastic and can deform.
When you let go, the elastic energy is released and the wool tries to unwind again. As it is twisted around the other strand, they tighten onto each other to keep the coil in place.

Look at photographs of twined handles e.g. the Coast Salish clam basket handle here:

When strands are twined around the uprights of a basket, they hold the basket together.
More information on twining used in basket weaving:

Grades taught: 
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6
Carla Mountali
Melissa Marshall
Wendy Zwaagstra
Teaching site: 
Brock Elementary
Selkirk Elementary
Activity originally developed and delivered: 

Brock Elementary with the Scientist in Residence Program