This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner Home Page About ANKN Publications Academic Programs Curriculum Resources Calendar of Events Announcements Site Index This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner This is part of the ANKN Banner
This is part of the ANKN Logo This is part of the ANKN Banner This is part of the ANKN Banner
Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

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.


A Cultural Mini-unit

Moose in Interior Alaska



Iditarod Area School District Donna Miller MacAlpine

Grade level:



2 weeks, preferably during hunting season


Interior Athabascan


1. To familiarize students with basic characteristics of alces alces, the moose, our largest deer

2. To familiarize students with the range and habitat of moose.

3. To have students become aware of the importance of moose to both the traditional and modern Alaskan way of life.

4. To increase oral and written language skills in English and in the local Native language.

5. To develop basic science and math skills within the local cultural setting.


The selected Alaska Content Standards for Science, Math and the Cultural Standards for Students which are addressed by this unit are identified and the skills and knowledge which are expected as learning outcomes are listed under the standards.


Our first cultural mini-units were prepared in 1983 under a Title VII grant. They consisted only of Lesson Plans prepared by Mary Walker of Holy Cross and emphasized language arts with a local setting. Over the years supplementary materials have been added and eventually the unit was put into a multi-media kit which includes a Kit Notebook, resource books and actual moose parts including hair, teeth, hide, hooves, and other learning aids. The notebook contains the lessons plans, activities, and resource material. 

This present revision of the moose unit has been prepared under the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative to include more activities emphasizing science and math, and to identify the Science, Math and Cultural Standards which are addressed. The overall goals of the unit are listed at the beginning. Suggested activities addressing the first three goals are outlined in each section directly under the goal. Activities to meet goals four and five are integrated throughout the unit. The Resource List from the kit is included as it lists some of the many moose materials available. There are many more.

Since every class is made up differently, especially in rural Alaska, there are no lesson plans. It is expected that the teacher will pick and choose from the activities in each section and prepare lessons to best fit the students, class schedule and general situation. We hope that teachers will adapt this unit to their needs and begin to gather moose materials to make their own moose kits with a local focus.

The unit is divided as follows:

1) characteristics of moose

2) range and habitat

3) traditional and modern importance of moose; hunting


Assessment for this unit should be on-going.

- A Moose Assessment Rubric developed by Judy Kuhn at McGrath School, K-1, is included for use with primary students.

- A set of questions is included for use with older students.




The goals and activities of this unit address the standards listed below. A student who meets these standards should:



A- 14 - (A)understand the interdependence between living things and their environments;

A- 15 - use science to understand and describe the local environment.

B-1 - use the processes of science: these process include observing, classifying, measuring, interpreting data, inferring, communicating, controlling variables, developing models and theories, hypothesizing, predicting, and experimenting;

D-3 - recommend solutions to everyday problems by applying scientific knowledge and skills


Skills and Knowledge to be acquired by the student:

1. Students will know the relationship between moose and their environment (food, predators, man) and an understanding of their interdependence

2. Students will know the physical characteristics of moose by which they are adapted to their surroundings and way of life.

3. Students will develop the ability to observe, collect and interpret data about moose, predict outcomes of changes in environment

4. Students will develop the ability to recommend solutions to various "moose problems"



A- 3 - perform basic arithmetic functions, make reasoned estimates, and select and use appropriate methods or tools for computation or estimation Including mental arithmetic, paper and pencil, a calculator, and a computer

A - 4 - represent, analyze, and use mathematical patterns, relations, and functions using methods such as tables, equations, and graphs;

A- 6 - collect, organize, analyze, interpret, represent, and formulate questions about data and make reasonable and useful predictions about the certainty, uncertainty, or impossibility of an event.

B - 6 - use common sense to help interpret results;

C-1 - express and represent mathematical ideas using oral and written presentations, physical materials, pictures, graphs, charts, and algebraic expressions.

E - 2 - use mathematics in daily life;


Skills and Knowledge to be acquired by the student:

1. Students will develop ability to estimate size and weight of animals such as moose.

2. Students will develop ability to perform basic math to measure, weigh and compare size and weight of moose to other creatures.

3. Students will develop ability to construct tables, equations and graphs showing such things as relative height/weight of moose, uses of moose, preference for moose products, etc.

4. Students will know that math is a valuable tool for everyday life useful in such activities as changing recipes and calculating costs of products



A- 4 - practice their traditional responsibilities to the surrounding environment;

C - 1 - perform subsistence activities in ways that are appropriate to local cultural traditions;

D-1 - acquire in-depth cultural knowledge through active participation and meaningful interaction with Elders.

F- 2 - understand the ecology and geography of the bioregion they in habit.

F- 6 - anticipate the changes that occur when different cultural systems come in contact with one another;


Skills and Knowledge to be acquired by the student:

1. Students will know traditional hunting practices and of how the elders worked in harmony with the environment.

2. Students will know the cultural values such as respect for animals, sharing, use vs waste, etc. which should be practiced in regard to moose.

3. Students will have knowledge of the local bioregion and how moose fit into their environment.

4. Students will develop an understanding of and the ability to anticipate and deal with changes and conflicts between different cultural systems and between man and the environment.


moose tracks



Reference Books: 

- Album of North American Animals, Dugdale; Rand McNalley & Company, 1966

- Meet the Moose, Rue; Dodd, Mead & Company, 1985

- Moose, Hoshino; Chronicle Books, 1988

- Moose, Scott/Sweet; G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1981

- Moose, The, Ahlstrom; Crestwood House, 1985

- Moose for Kids, Fair; NorthWord Press, 1992


Children's Stories:

- Deneki: An Alaskan Moose, Berry; Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1965

- Even That Moose Won't Listen to Me, Alexander; Dial Books, 1997

- If You Give a Moose a Muffin, Numeroff, Harper Collins, 1991

- Little Brother Moose, Kasperson; Dawn Publications, 1995

- Lost Moose, Slepian; Philomel Books, 1995

- Moose Baby, Freschet; G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1979

- Muscles the Moose Call; Devries; JADE RAM, 1989

- Muscles Visits Anchorage, Devries; JADE RAM, 1990

- Muscles, Bull Moose from Alaska, Devries; JADE RAM, 1995 Publishing, 1995

- The Secret Moose, Rogers; Greenwillow Books, 1988


Books about Tanning:

- How I Tan Hides, Peter; ANLC, 1980

- Tanning at Home, U of A Extension Service, 1975

- Tanning Moosehide & making babish & rawmane, Osip; ALL Project, 1974



- Alaska's Game Is Good Food, U of A Extension Service, 1974

- The Hunter Returns After the Kill, U of A Ext. Service

GOAL 1 To familiarize students with basic characteristics of alces alces, the moose, our largest deer


A. Set up a classroom display for moose. Include books, posters, moose parts and products, artifacts, puppets. Then introduce moose in the following ways:


Discuss what students already know about moose.
Read stories, poems about moose.
Show pictures of moose or a video if available.
Color moose pictures. (sample in Appendix)


Construct a moose poster, label parts of the moose - in both English and Native language. (sample in Appendix)


Make a life-size drawing of a moose family. Use the drawing to help estimate and then measure:

- comparative size of bull, cow and calf
- comparative size of moose to students


Make moose marionettes. (instructions in Appendix)




Write a poem about moose/make a song about moose.


B. Study the basic physical characteristics of moose and the purpose of each.
NOTE: If at all possible, have an elder or other resource person such as a Fish & Game biologist come to class for this section. A local hunter might be persuaded to bring in a moose head with horns or other moose parts to give students a "hands-on" experience. Also have students search for information in various resource books and talk to people in the community.


Brainstorm with students about moose's characteristics. Study actual moose hair, hide, hooves, horn etc.

Make a list of moose characteristics.


Discuss what might be the reason for these characteristics

- why is the moose hair hollow?,
- why are horns so big,
- why does the moose have hooves? etc.


Make a wall chart to show purpose of each physical characteristic.


C. Discuss the life cycle of a moose.
Illustrate the life cycle of the moose in relation to the seasons of the year Compare height and weight of moose at different ages.



GOAL 2 To familiarize students with the range and habitat of moose.


A. Discuss the worldwide range of moose.
a. Ask students where in the world they would expect to find moose.

b. Show students on a world map, US map and Alaska map where moose are found.

c. Have students make their own maps of the local area to and indicate where moose are most commonly found.

B. Discuss moose habitat.

a. What kind of a place do moose like to live in and why?
- include food, water, security, other inhabitants.

b. Take a field trip:

- what signs of moose can you find? what other animals?

- collect different types of moose food: tree bark, willow shoots, sedge and leaves

c. Have students describe what would be ideal moose habitat. (oral or written)

d. Make a scrapbook of moose in their natural environment noting the types of plants they eat and the different animals that are around them.

e. Discuss what effect changes in habitat might have on the health of moose or on the moose population. Does the abundance of moose change each year in the same area? Speculate on reasons for this. 

C. Discuss conflict between moose and other creatures.

a. Have students list what conflicts a moose might encounter
- include, predators, loss of habit, encounters between moose/people/vehicles, other dangers

- give local examples, examples from newspaper, etc.

b. Have students suggest solutions to each of these conflicts.

c. Interview local hunters about the abundance or lack of moose in certain areas. How does the hunter explain this? What solution would he/she suggest? Have students prepare a table to reflect local opinions.



GOAL 3: To have students become aware of the importance of moose to both the traditional and modern Alaskan way of life.



A. Learn about traditional Athabascan values in relation to moose: sharing, non-wasting, respect, etc.
a. Invite elders to come to class to talk about moose. Ask about the first moose they ever saw, their first hunt, how people used to treat moose and other animals and why.

b. Read some Athabascan stories about moose.

c. Discuss why moose was such an important animal.

d. Go on an actual moose hunt with elders and observe how they treat the moose and the environment.

B. Compare traditional and modern hunting techniques.

a. Discuss different types of weapons used over the years. Speculate on their efficiency. How does the type of weapon influence hunting technique?

b. Read about traditional moose hunting and compare to modern day hunting.

c. Use a hunting story for sequencing.

d. Have students relate their personal hunting experiences.

e. Prepare a list of what to take on an imaginary moose hunt.

f. Make a "Who Got Their Moose" graph.

C. Compare the traditional and present day uses of moose.

a. Discuss and list what uses traditional Athabascans had for moose. Stress the use of all the different parts and how nothing was wasted.

b. How do people use moose nowadays?

- list uses of moose (see sample list on following page)

- make a chart of students' favorite ways of eating moose

- gather favorite moose recipes and make a book

c. Do some "Moose Math":

- compare pounds of meat per animal: moose & cow

- compare cost of moose meat to beef (consider cost of the hunt vs going to the store, etc.)

- measure out skin-sewing patterns and calculate how much moose skin is needed for various items.

- calculate how many pairs of mittens can you get from one moose skin?

- calculate cost of tanned moose skin per square inch

D. Learn about preserving the meat.

a. Discuss how moose meat is preserved in both modern and traditional ways. Which old ways are still used? Make a chart to show this.

d. Experiment with different ways of making moose jerky:

- vary size of pieces, temperature, amount of air, use of smoke or salt.

- keep track of variables and observe results carefully.

- illustrate with graph or chart.

- use different flavorings. Make a chart to illustrate class preferences.

e. Take part in an actual moose butchering in the field and/or visit a butcher shop where meat is cut up for freezing. Describe.

Some "Uses of Mooses"

Meat for Food:

legs, ribs, back, brisket - roast, steak, stew, soup dry meat (jerky)

head - moose head soup, boiled moose nose, tongue


for tanning


covering for boat

tanned for clothing

babiche for sleds, snowshoe lacing fur from ears to make mittens


made into thread for sewing


shoulder bone to call moose

leg bone for scraper


foot bone for doll or hair ornament

hooves for jewelry


handles for knives

Reference: Make Prayers to the Raven by Richard Nelson lists many other traditional uses.





Let's Learn about MOOSE


with Judy Kuhn, K-1 McGrath School

Judy has many exciting activities for her class when they are learning about MOOSE. She always takes lots of pictures so last fall we made copies of some of them to include in the MOOSE UNIT.

Here are some of the things she did with her students. Pictures and instructions for some of them are on the following pages.

Make a large poster of a moose and label his parts.

Use hands and feet to make individual posters of the mooses head.

Make a moose marionette.

Get ready for a moose hunt.

- Make a moose call with tin can and string or with sticks.
- Make binoculars with empty toilet paper rolls. 

Make a book about moose.

Make charts and graphs for the wall:

- ways people use moose

- who got a moose and who didn't

- favorite ways of eating moose

Make up and illustrate moose riddles.

Have a parent come to class and bring a big set of moose horns.

Take a field trip to watch someone cutting up a moose.

Making a Moose Head with Your Hands and Feet! 

Paint students hands and feet with brown poster paint (Add a little dish soap to make it come off more easily.) Use a foot for the face, and hands for horns. To make the cow moose use a fist instead of the whole hand.

Add eyes and nostrils.

moose pattern

moose pattern

Making a Moose Marionette

Instructions from Judy Kuhn, McGrath School

Cut body, head and horns out of heavy cardboard. Paint or color them. (See pattern on next page. It has been reduced to 78% of original so you many want to enlarge it.)

Attach horns by inserting into the slot on the head. Attach the head to the body with a strip of cloth.

Make legs out of long strips of fuzzy cloth, with pieces of willow for hooves.

Attach puppet to a willow stick with strings from the center of his back and his head.

Then make Mr. Moose walk and dance or just jump up and down!

moose pattern

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 Dog Salmon


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."



Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, educational institution, and provider is a part of the University of Alaska system. Learn more about UA's notice of nondiscrimination.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Last modified August 18, 2006