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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Curriculum Resources for the Alaskan Environment

Subject Areas: math, physics, astronomy, (optics)


Grade Levels: 7-12

Purpose: to demonstrate the problems of light magnification; to understand the properties of telescopes; to enjoy the rewards of telescopes


Achim Brauser 
6" Newtonian
Reflecting Telescope



Square bullet Activities

  • Obtain materials for building telescope and mounting stand. For the telescope:

    some kind of rigid tube about 5' long (e.g., PUC pipe, stove pipe, or cardboard); fora 6" telescope the pipe diameter should be 6" or slightly larger; if cardboard is used it might be useful to coat both surfaces with several layers of Elmer's glue for added strength; the interior of the tube should also be painted with a flat black paint

    the 6" paraboloid mirror can be ground using regular plate glass (two pieces), silicon carbide grits, and lots of water, this procedure is only for the extremely ambitious, as it requires much time and patience; it's a lot easier to just buy a mirror from an optical company (it's relatively cheap)

    small flat mirror and an eyepiece (also inexpensive)

    mirror mounts (inexpensive) could be made by gluing cardboard rings inside the tube at one end; the paraboloid mirror is placed between the rings; for the flat mirror it's probably better to buy a 6" spider, since it allows for adjustments.

  • For the mounting stand:

    wooden disk

    three broom handles

    screw and wing nut

    straps or large hose clamps.

Square bullet Resources

  • Wilkins and Moore. (1956). How to Make and Use a Telescope
  • Moore. (1973). Astronomical Telescopes and Observations for Amateurs
  • MayalI and Mayall. (1968). Skyshooting-Photography for Amateur Astronomers
  • catalogs:

    Kenneth Novak and Co., Box 69, Ladysmith, WI 54848
    Cave Optical Co., 4137 Hanheim Street, Longbeach, CA 90804
    Coulter Optical Co., 8217 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91605, (213) 767-8538 (they have good quality mirrors at low prices)

  • Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks


  • There are innumerable Variations in both the types and sizes of telescope mounts. Because of this fact, it's easy to improvise and improve on the design presented here. 
  • Construct a camera mount either for a simple box camera or a 35mm camera. The photographic possibilities are boundless and rewarding.
  • The knowledge possible from a telescope is unlimited, and so are the classroom applications.


Village Map and Directory

Land Selection

Local Weather Station

Star Mapping

6" Newtonian Reflecting Telescope Construction

Planetarium Construction

Investigation of Snow Melting

Insulation Experiments: Cardboard Boxes/Snow-Fenced Houses

Durable, Energy-Efficient Homes

Practical Application of Alternative Energy System

Solar Energy Uses

Construction of School/Community Facilities

Bush Shop or How to Learn Carpentry Without Wood

Basic Home Maintenance

Snowmachine Maintenance

Glider Construction (Aviation Shop)

Subsistence Tool Construction

Operating a Trapline, Subsistence Trapline, or Subsistence Net

Survival Skills

Heritage Campout

Netting Fish Efficiently

Natural History

Study of a Food Resource

Effects of Diet on Mice or Rats

Medicinal Plants

Farming the Sea

Summer Marine Science Program

Vegetable Gardening

Greenhouse Construction and Gardening

Chicken Farming

Water Usage Study

Garbage Disposal

Village Dogs

Fire Safety



Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.


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 17, 2006