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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: carpentry, math

Timeline: semester

Grade Levels: 9-12

Purpose: to develop energy consciousness and the skills necessary to help others make their houses more energy efficient; to draw on traditional and contemporary shelter designs to plan an economical, energy-efficient dwelling


Hart Allex and E. Gillett
Durable, Energy-
Efficient Homes



Square bullet Activities

  • Investigate types of homes in the village. Question residents regarding comfort and maintenance.
  • Interview elders about traditional dwellings; how were they constructed to hold heat?
  • Compile a manual of problems to avoid and principles to employ.
  • Research contemporary building designs. Consider size, availability of materials, and cost.
  • Integrate traditional and contemporary design (e.g., partially underground, foam insulated, south-facing).
  • Determine costs. Develop a proposal.

Square bullet Resources

  • houses, elders
  • state library for materials on energy-efficient construction
  • How to Build a Super-Insulated House, cold weather edition
  • Building in the North
  • Geophysical Institute magazines for articles on arctic construction, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • United States Department of Energy
  • Alaska Division of Energy and Power Development
  • Cooperative Extension Service


  • Survey homes for energy efficiency:

    study energy situation worldwide, nationwide, and locally; consider the costs of non-renewable energy consumption; concentrate on local areas

    conduct a survey to determine fuel usage in village homes: record fuel, square footage of house, and costs/month. Determine BTU for wood, oil, propane, and electrical heat

    apply heating leak detection skills, such as holding a burning candle near cracks and outlets

    survey homes for energy efficiency. Identify major problems, and make recommendations for changes to owners/city council! housing authority.


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