Lesson Plan: Giseagan | Folk Beliefs


Social Studies 6, Outcome 1:

Students will explore the concept of culture and demonstrate an understanding of its role in their lives inclusive of Acadians, African Nova Scotians, Gaels, Mi’Kmaq and additional cultures.

Social Studies 6, Outcome 4:

Students will examine how traditions relate to culture in a region, inclusive of Acadians, African Nova Scotians, Gaels, Mi’Kmaq and additional cultures.



To define the words "superstition" and "folk belief" with cultural sensitivity.  Theorize why they exist and conduct a poll to determine the level of belief amongst people.


Suggested time

2 hours (over 2 or more days)


Anticipated Outcomes

Students will

  • be able to define what a superstition is in their own words
  • appreciate why some people would prefer to use the term "folk belief"
  • name some superstitions from their own cultures
  • theorize why certain folk beliefs exist
  • conduct a poll of people's beliefs in superstitions, record and present their findings



  • As a class, discuss what we mean by "superstition"
  • Introduce the term "folk belief" and discuss why this term is preferred by some.
  • As a class, make a list of some superstitions or folk beliefs that we know of.  Discuss whether we place any credence in them or not.
  • Read the section titled "Folk Beliefs" from the main website.
  • Are there any common themes in Gaelic folk beliefs?
  • In groups, discuss why certain beliefs are held and persist even though they seem irrational.
  • Discuss our ideas.
  • Download What Are Your Beliefs? (17 KB PDF) and discuss how you will carry out the survey.
  • Students carry out survey at home and record their findings on Appendix 1.                                                                                                                                                                                          


Review and Reflection

  • Students convert their findings to percentages.
  • Students present the findings of their survey to the class.
  • What other data could we have collected?  ie:  Do more women than men hold these beliefs?
  • What did we learn from the data we've recorded?