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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: physics, life sciences, carpentry

Timeline: open

Grade Levels: open

Purpose: to show how energy from the sun can be utilized; to encourage development of solar power for various uses


Achim Brauser
Solar Energy Uses



Square bullet Activities

Solar Energy Uses
Solar Energy Uses




  • Construct a simple solar still:

    solar still:

    A. insulated case
    B. water outlet
    C. waterproof lining (black absorbs heat best)
    D. collecting tray
    E. glass or plastic cover plate (two layers with air space between is best)
    F. water outlet

    experiment with water from different sources (e.g., lakes, rivers, ponds, wells, and ocean); an effective still will yield distilled water from any type of water

  • Construct a drying rack for green wood:

    an effective rack for drying green or wet wood can be built using just pole wood or 2x4s and clear plastic; leave top and bottom open for air circulation and place rack so that it receives most of the day's sun.

air flow
  • Drying Frame (open type):

    build an enclosed dryer, similar to the solar still; just replace the bottom with insulation and wire mesh and put ventilation holes in the bottom and sides; paint the interior black with waterproof paint; this frame can be used to dry fruits and vegetables.

Solar Energy Uses


  • state library for many good resource books
  • Merrill. Richard, & Gage, Thomas. Energy Primer: Solar. Water, Wind, and Biofuels [catalog]. Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1 Dag Hammerskjold Plaza. New York, NY 10017. Also available through the Porrola Institute, the Whole Earth Catalog folks 
  • Norton, T. W., Hunter, D. C., & Cheng, R. J. (1975). Solar Energy Experiments for Secondary School Students [ASRC, SUNY PubI. #353]. State University of New York at Albany, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center 
  • Hallacy, D. S., Jr. (1974). Solar Science Projects for a Cleaner Environment. Scholastic Book Services, 900 Sylvan Avenue, Engle. wood Cliffs, NJ 07632. $1

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