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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: nutrition, environmental studies, biology

Timeline: ten weeks

Grade Levels: 6-12

Purpose: to show the effect of diet on nutrition and health; to encourage improvement in personal diet


J. Bacon
Effects of Diet on
Mice or Rats


Square bullet Activities

  • Obtain two young or infant white mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, or guinea pigs.
  • Isolate the animals in separate cages. Tag them.
  • Have students conduct an experiment by:

    feeding one animal all it can eat of cereal (sugarless), cheese, bread, crackers, meat, grains, rice, water, fruit, nuts

    feeding the other animal only candy, soda pop, sweetened orange drink (not juice), potato chips, coffee, tea, cake, other sweets.

  • Obtain a gram or lab scale. Record the weight of each animal initially and weekly.
  • After five weeks, have students record each animal considering:

    appearance (i.e., size, condition of fur, eyes)

    behavior (i.e., degree of nervousness, excitability).

  • After five weeks, switch the diets. Have students record observations:

    be prepared for dramatic results

    the scrawny, junk-food-fed infant rarely recovers fully. It will always be smaller and weaker than the other.

Square bullet Resources

  • university biology and psychology departments
  • pet stores


  • Conduct a second experiment.
  • Provide more time. Use more than one animal on each diet.
  • Conduct the project in conjunction with a unit on human nutrition.


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