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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.

The Right Tool for the Job
Fishing Tools and Technology



1) The students will document the evolution of a selected piece of fishing technology from their cultural region.

2) The students will interact with their community, family, and elders to gather information on the history of fishing tools and technology.

3) The students will use modern technology to research the history, design, and function of a specific tool or piece of technology.



The students will choose a specific piece of fishing technology or tool that is unique to their particular region. The students will use a variety of resources to document the development, construction, and use of the their selected tool. The evolution of the technology will be described in terms of its changes and aspects that have remained the same with time. In addition the students will identify factors that influenced the creation of such a tool and factors that influenced its evolution.



Task 1: Selecting a tool

Have the students brainstorm tools or technology used for fishing; either commercially, subsistence or sport, in their region. From the list, have the students research which tools have been used for more than 50 years. From the reduced list, now have the students select one tool that interests them to do further research.

Task 2: Researching selected tool

This is the information gathering portion of the project. The student will be required to use a variety of resources to learn the history of their tool. Identify possible resources to be used in the community that would reveal information of the history of their tool. Examples may include: elders, family, community, library, local archives, and internet. >From the identified resources the students should find the information below:

1) What is the purpose of the tool?

2) What is the proper way to use the tool?

3) What materials are necessary to create a viable tool?

4) How does the form of the tool contribute to the function?

5) How much time is needed to create the tool?

6) Are there any other places besides your region that use the tool?

7) What would it be like if the tool was never invented?

8) Identify changes in materials used to construct the tool. Why were the materials changed? How did the change of materials benefit the function.

9) Identify factors (geographical, biological, cultural) that influenced the development of your tool.

10) Identify changes in the design of the tool. Why was the design changed? How did the change of design influence the function?

11) How has your tool been incorporated into the culture of the region in which you live?

12) How has your community benefitted from the use of your tool?

Task 3: Timeline and Story

This task will be the assessment portion of the unit. The students will create a story that reflects the evolution of the selected tool. In addition, a historical timeline will be produced that depicts development and use of the tool from it’s invention to present day use.


Story requirements:

1) The story can be written, told or videoed.

2) The story should include the information gathered from task 2.

3) Setting is the region in which the student lives.

4) Point of view is consistent.

5) Creative!


Timeline requirements:

1) Stages of tool evolution are correlated specific time periods.

2) Brief description accompanies each stage depicted on timeline.

3) Pictures of tool and its use are incorporated into the timeline.

4) Sources of information are listed and correctly cited.

5) Timeline has a title

6) Spelling and grammar are correct.

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."



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Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
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Last modified August 14, 2006