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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
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Lessons & Units

A database of lessons and units searchable by content and cultural standards, cultural region and grade level. More units will be available soon. You can use Acrobat Reader to look at the PDF version of the Cover Sheet for the Units and Self-Assessment for Cultural Standards in Practice.


by Jonas Ramoth and Sidney Stephens

Section III - Connecting Globally


Once students have become grounded in observing and understanding local weather patterns in terms of cultural and scientific knowledge, and once they begin to realize through these studies that what happens locally is connected to what happens globally, the stage is well set for expanding learning activities to focus on those global connections and their implications for life and behavior at home. Such connections are especially important in Alaska and other high latitude areas where global warming is expected to be of a greater magnitude.

GLOBE Investigations

The GLOBE Program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) is a hands-on science and education program that unites students, teachers and scientists from around the world in study and research about the dynamics of the Earth's environment particularly as related to global climate change. In this program, students take careful measurements of the environment at their school and share the data with scientists and with GLOBE students in other countries through the Internet.* Because one of the goals of GLOBE is to provide educational activities for students and uniform data for scientists, the GLOBE Learning Activities and Protocols clearly lay out the precise student measurement procedures and data quality techniques. Calibration of equipment, control of variables, and standardization of measurement are critical aspects of the activities. As such, they provide many opportunities for students to observe, measure, collect, record and analyze data and thus address key science standards. They also present a clear example of how Western science is done and, by comparison, illuminate the similarities and differences between Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western science. It is for these reasons that extending local weather observations to include the Atmosphere/Climate protocols of GLOBE is suggested.

A listing of relevant GLOBE protocols and learning activities follows. All of these can be fully accessed at their site:


Atmosphere Investigation

Seasons Investigation


  • Cloud Type
  • Cloud Cover'
  • Rainfall
  • Solid Precipitation
  • Precipitation pH
  • Maximum, Minimum and Current Temperatures



- Integrates protocols from other investigations

Learning Activities:

  • Observing, Describing and Identifying Clouds
  • Estimating Cloud Cover: A Simulation
  • Studying the Instrument Shelter
  • Building a Thermometer
  • Land, water and Air
  • Cloud Watch

Learning Activities:

  • What Can We Learn About Our Seasons?
  • What are Some Factors that Affect Seasonal Patterns?
  • How do Regional Temperature Patterns Vary Among Different Regions of the World?
  • What Can We Learn by Sharing Local Seasonal Markers with Other Schools Around the World?


Community Memories II

Summary This lesson is a sequel to Community Memories I evening, differing from it only by the addition of the GLOBE studies as well as any new work on local studies. Again, the purposes would be to display and discuss student work, get input from community members and gather new information from the stories and experiences shared by others. It should take place once the students feel well grounded with their GLOBE studies and have sufficient information to share.


GLOBE activities and data

Personal weather journals for each student

Class weather log

Any posters, stories, poems, paintings etc. that students have created

(see Apply section from previous lesson and Interdisciplinary Suggestions in Appendix)





1. Talk with students about the idea of hosting a community weather night both as a way of giving back to the community some of what they have learned and of further tapping the weather knowledge of the community by listening to stories shared by others.

2. Help them select the place and time for this event, decide on a format/agenda, create invitations, organize the food and so forth. There are obviously lots of options here, but one way to envision it would be much like a poster session at a conference in which students create a display of their work and then discuss it with visitors as the visitors move around the room. Following this general review, students and community members alike could gather in a central spot and be invited to share their memories and knowledge about weather. This would be a good time to publicly thank the Traditional Forecaster and anyone else who has worked with your group. Videotaping such a session would make it easily accessible later.

3. Be sure to follow-up the next day in class with a discussion of the community weather stories. It is likely that new information will have been shared and students might want to incorporate that into their work.


* It should be noted, however, that since readers of this unit are not trained GLOBE teachers, access to the data entry and retrieval portion of the GLOBE internet site is not possible. It is possible, however, to use and adapt the GLOBE lessons for local purposes and thus involve students in an inquiry-based learning experience that will broaden and deepen their understanding of global weather phenomena.



Section I - Observing Locally

Section II - Understanding Wind

Section III - Connecting Globally

Appendix A - Selawik Weather Information from Jonas Ramoth

Appendix B - Assessment

Appendix C - Weather Resource List

Appendix D - Interdisciplinary Integration



Whouy Sze Kuinalth
"Teaching Our Many Grandchildren"
Tauhna Cauyalitahtug
(To Make a Drum)
Math Story Problems
St. Lawrence Island Rain Parka Winds and Weather Willow
Driftwood Snowshoes Moose
Plants of the Tundra Animal Classification for Yup'ik Region Rabbit Snaring
The Right Tool for the Job
Fishing Tools and Technology
Blackfish Family Tree
Medicinal Plants of the Kodiak Alutiiq Archipelago Beaver in Interior Alaska Digging and Preparing Spruce Roots
Moose in Interior Alaska Birds Around the Village  


Handbook for Culturally Responsive Science Curriculum by Sidney Stephens
Excerpt: "The information and insights contained in this document will be of interest to anyone involved in bringing local knowledge to bear in school curriculum. Drawing upon the efforts of many people over a period of several years, Sidney Stephens has managed to distill and synthesize the critical ingredients for making the teaching of science relevant and meaningful in culturally adaptable ways."



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Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Phone (907) 474.1902
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Last modified August 18, 2006