An open body of water somewhere in the Arctic.

Introduction to Nattiit (Ringed Seal)

Grade 3 - Grade 4


In this lesson, students will learn about nattiit (ringed seals) from both biology and an Inuit perspective. Students will gain a holistic understanding of how these marine mammals interact with their Arctic environment and how they are a part of regular life in the North. Accompanying this lesson will be a podcast with Inuk researcher, Enooyaq Sudlovenick, discussing her interest in nattiit and how to incorporate both Inuit guiding principles and Western knowledge. The lesson will conclude with a brief introduction to the Micro:bit and MakeCode environment to prepare learners for the coming activities.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the nattiq and how they are part of Inuit life
  • Learn about the basic habitat of nattiit
  • Avatittinnik Kamatsiarniq: Respect and care for the land, animals, and the environment

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit Principles (IQ Principles)

Note: Sometimes known as IQ principles, or Inuit guiding principles. It should be noted that the spelling of Inuit terms often differs, according to dialectal differences. The concepts remain shared despite spelling differences.  (Tagalik, Shirley. Inuit Princeples of Conservation- Serving Others).

Qanuqtuurunnarniq (Being resourceful to solve problems)
When hunting nattiit, the Inuit hunters are able to use naluaqtuut (a tool that Inuit hunters use) to get close to the nattiq. They learn how to use hunting techniques by placing a feather over the nattiq’s breathing hole.
Avatimik kamtsiarniq (Promoting environmental stewardship)
Inuit use all the parts of the nattiit.  The women make clothes out of the sealskin so nothing is wasted.
Pijitsirniq (Serving)
The hunter that catches the nattiq always shares it with other people. By catching the nattiq, the hunters are serving their community by providing food.
Tunnganarniq (Being welcoming, open, and inclusive)
If the hunter catches a nattiq on the ice, the hunter welcomes the other hunters in the area to have fresh nattiq liver and tea.
Pilimmaksarniq (Knowledge and skills)
The important skills for harvesting and preparing the nattiq are taught to the younger generation through observation and practice.


 Ringed Seal (singular)
Ringed Seals (plural)
Inuit Nunangat
Land where Inuit live
Polar Bear (singular)
Polar Bears (plural)
Arctic Fox (singular)
Arctic Foxes (plural)
Seagull (singular)
Seagulls (plural)
Lung (singular)
Lungs (plural)
Fore Flipper
Front Ribs
Back Flippers
Naluaqtuut is made from a white material and has a wood frame around it and a handle. This helps the hunter hide when trying to get close to a nattiq that is on the ice.



Before starting the lesson, the students will hear a story about the nattiq.

Suggested stories to read (one or all could be read throughout the lesson): 

Introduction and Know – Want – Learn Exercise

Nattiit are integral marine mammals to Inuit all across Inuit Nunanganit. In this lesson, we will look at what a nattiq is, their habitat, why they’re hunted by Inuit, and how Inuit consume and use nattiit.

To start the lesson off, the teacher will ask the students to fill out a KWL chart: 

  • K-(what I KNOW) 
  • W-(what I WANT to know) 
  • L-(what I LEARNED)

Before the lesson starts, students will write or draw out what they already know about the nattiq as well as what they want to know about nattiit (leave the ‘L’ section until the end of the lesson). Once they have written that down, a few will be asked to share with the whole class.

Listening Activity

Enooyaq Sudlovenickis is currently a Ph.D. student whose research focuses on marine mammals and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. Listen to the following podcast to learn about her research with the nattiq and how she considers both Western knowledge and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in her approach to research. 

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Discussion Questions on the Podcast

  1. What are some of the ways the nattiq  is important to Inuit?
  2. How did IQ principles (Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit) change the approach to research with regards to the nattiq project?
  3. What are some of the changes we see in the ocean when the temperature increases? 
  4. What were some of the observations Enooyaq found in the tissue samples of the nattiq? 
  5. How might IQ principles change one’s approach to conservation?

What are Nattiit?

Depending on what the students indicated that they already know about nattiit, either review or teach them in more detail about the following information: 

Nattiit are animals that live in the ocean and rely heavily on the sea ice. They are mammals that live in the Arctic and can be found as far south as northern Japan. The length of a nattiq is 1.5 metres with a weight of 50 to 75 kg. Their main diet is fish and invertebrates. Nattiit are grey with black spots with white around the spots, which are surrounded by light grey rings. They can live about 25 to 30 years! The population of nattiit always varies but there are approximately 2,000,000! Nattiit breed annually and their breeding season is from April to May. The known predators of nattiit are nanuit (polar bears), tiriganiat (arctic foxes), and Inuit.

Where Nattiit Live

We are looking at nattiit that live specifically in the areas where Inuit live and consume nattiit, but nattiit are located all across the Arctic. 

Nattiit live in Arctic waters and are commonly found on ice floes. The ice floes and pack ice is used for resting, pupping, and moulting. Nattiit do not like to come ashore but prefer to inhabit areas near breathing holes that they create or ice cracks to easily escape predators. The Arctic sea ice is integral for their survival.

A of the map of the world with blue highlighted areas in the Arctic oceans where the ringed seals live.
Image from Wikipedia – Ringed Seal

Many other images of the mapping of nattiit can be found online when doing a quick Google search.

How Inuit Use Nattiit/Innovations

Inuit use the whole part of the nattiq. Nattiit are a huge part of Inuit diet and clothing. To get a better understanding of how nattiit are used, we will look at how Inuit hunt, consume, and use nattiit.

The students will learn the different parts of the nattiq, which parts are eaten, and how each part of the fur is used, and for which garments.

Show the students the Nattiq poster from the The Nunavut Bilingual Education Society (NBES) and discuss the body parts of the nattiq.

The sealskin is adapted to the environment. The fur is very waterproof and warm. Inuit have observed this and use the fur to make warm and waterproof clothing, such as kamiik (boots), parkas (and/or amautiit, an Inuit baby carrier), and pualuk (mittens).Inuit have also used the uqsuq (nattiq fat/oil) for the use of lighting the qulliq (which is the light source and cook top inside of an igloo). 
Nattitt are rich in nutrition. Some nutritional facts are that nattitt contain; vitamin A, which helps Inuit see in the dark and help with infections; Vitamin D, which is needed for building strong bones; Omega-3 fatty acids, which is important for brain development and helps the heart and blood vessels work properly; Zinc, which is needed for fighting infections and for healing wounds; Iron, which is essential for blood; and Selenium, which is an antioxidant and prevents cells in the body from being damaged.
Using sealskin scraps has taken a new form of crafting from making jewelry, like earrings and necklaces, to small pouches and bags, which helps develop the Inuit economy.

Completion of ‘L’  Portion of KWL Chart

Task 1 – Students will be asked to complete the ‘L’ part of their KWL by adding a few points about what they learned in this lesson

Nattiq Anatomy – Tech Activity

After learning about the parts of the nattiq, put students into small groups or pairs. Assign each group one part of the nattiq  and challenge them to display that word in Inuktitut on their Micro:bit. 

Follow the activity guide below.

Introduction to Micro:bit

What is the Micro:bit?

The micro:bit is a computer that can fit in your pocket! You can use a computer to add code to the micro:bit to get it to do exciting things.

**Code is the instructions we give computers that make them work!

You can program this mini-computer with your computer and the MakeCode editor. You can use the online editor, or the offline editor that is installed onto your computer and loaded onto the USB. Follow the steps below to learn how to code and use your micro:bit.

Parts in your Kit


AAA Batteries & Battery Holder

Image of the Micro:bit battery holder and triple A batteries

USB Cord

Image of the USB to microUSB cable

Jumper cables

Image of rainbow coloured connection cables

Edge Connector Breakout Board

Image of edge connector breakout board

Other supplies needed

  • Computer/Laptop
  • Makecode editor

Get to Know Your Micro:bit

  • Put the two AAA batteries into the battery pack.
  • Match the + and – symbols to put each battery in correctly.
  • Plug the battery pack into the micro:bit. Plug the battery pack into the white box at the top left corner of the micro:bit.


  • Read the Hello message on the micro:bit display.
  • Follow the arrow and press Button A.
  • Follow the arrow and press Button B.
  • Shake the micro:bit and watch the display.
  • Play chase the dot by tilting your micro:bit.
  • Clap five times.

Take a closer look at your Micro:bit – V2

Diagram of front and back of micro:bits
  • The micro:bit has inputs (ways to take in information) and outputs (ways to send out information)

Now you are all set to learn how to code your micro:bit!

Step By Step

Go to the microbit MakeCode editor online or the offline editor on your computer.

Home page of the MakeCode editor

Create a New Project.

Close-up of the New Project button

Give your project a name, for example “Nattiit Anatomy”.

“Create a Project” pop up menu with blank section to enter your project’s name

Click on the blue Basic block tab and find: “Show String”.

 highlighted ‘show string “Hello”’ block

Drag the “Show string” block onto the coding area.

an empty ‘start’ loop beside an empty ‘forever’ loop with a ‘show string “Hello”’ below that is highlighted

Drag the “show string” block into the space inside the Forever block.

Computers do exactly as we tell them to do. The Forever block tells the computer to keep running the code we put inside the block (forever). The Forever block is a loop block.

an empty “start” loop beside a “forever” loop with the ‘Show String “Hello” ‘ block inside

Click on the Play arrow to see the word “Hello!” scroll across the display of the simulator. You may need to click on the reset symbol to start your code.

Front of Microbit with the play button highlighted

Double click on the word “Hello!” inside the text bubble and type the Inuktitut word you were assigned. Press enter. Make sure you see double quotation marks around your word like this: “Siggu”

Close up of a ‘forever loop’ block with a ‘show string “Siggu” ’ block inside in MakeCode Arcade

Now look at the simulator to see if you can see your word scrolling across the display of LED lights! (In the picture below you can see the S for Siggu.)

Micro:Bit with LED lights lit up in the shape of a letter ‘S’

Connect the mini USB cord from your kit to your micro:bit, then connect your micro:bit to the computer with the mini USB cord.

Back of Micro:Bit with a USB attached to it

Click on the Download Button. This will transfer (flash) your code file to your micro:bit. The single LED light on the back of your micro:bit will flash when the code is downloading. When it is finished flashing (downloading) the file, your code will automatically start running on your micro:bit.

Close up of the Download button in the MakeCode Editor

When the code has finished downloading, you will see your word scrolling across the LED display!

Micro:Bit with led lights lit up showing the start of a word

Troubleshooting: If your word isn’t showing, check your code. Next, try pressing the reset button on the back of your micro:bit.

Diagram of the back of a Micro:bit with parts labelled

Congratulations! You are now a micro:bit coder! 

Activity Wrap-Up

Once all the students have completed this activity, have them hold up their micro:bits on the correct location on the seal anatomy diagram.

Conclusion: Digital Memory Game Activity

Welcome to the ocean conservation memory game! Here we will learn why ocean conservation is important and learn about nattiit!


Addition Resources