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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: vocational education, community development

Timeline: plan in spring, one hour/day; build In fail, two-three hours/day

Grade Levels: 11-12 (possibly 10)

Purpose: to address school/community needs in the educational program; to provide practical experience and a product of lasting value; to ensure the village has enough competent workers to handle any construction project


K. Harbeson, Josh and Vicki Lewis, D. Madara, and Gary Shriver
Construction of
School/Community Facilities



Square bullet Activities

  • Select a useful construction project.

    vocational education facility

    motel; cafe

    recreation hall

  • Plan type of building, foundation, location; draw up plans; order materials.
  • If you use foundation funds, they cannot be used for construction materials.

    solicit donations of logs or complete structures that may be dismantled for

    use from individuals or the community

    acquire materials through other grants/funding sources (councils, corporations, vocational education program funds)

    the school district might find instructors/supervisors.

  • Build the foundation and close building before freeze-up; then work on interior.

Square bullet Resources

  • funds
  • materials (construction, plumbing, heating, electrical)
  • texts
  • local experts 
  • Building in the North
  • How to Build a Super Insulated House
  • Cooperative Extension Service


  • Build items that can be marketed (e.g., storage or sno-go sheds):

    have students set up an accounting system and manage bookkeeping. 

  • Teach baskic skills in four nine-week segments:

    divide class into four groups, each to work one quarter, half every day on-the-job

    before splitting into groups, you might want to do enough inital planning to order necessary materials

    first quarter, plan basic frame or log cabin structure; construct exterior

    second quarter, plan a house wiring diagram: learn to read an electrical blueprint; put in wiring and fixtures

    third quarter, plan plumbing; plumb house

    fourth quarter, finish house: select a design for the interior; install sheetrock, varnish logs, install molding, install fixtures.


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