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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, geometry, English, typing, shop

Timeline: one semester to one year

Grade Levels: 11-12

Purpose: to familiarize students with maps; to develop appreciation for maps as diagnostic and planning tools


S. Lamont and E. Gillell
 Village Map and




Square bullet Activities

  • Discuss maps as tools:

    identify the many agencies that use maps daily

    provide a history of map making.

  • Make simple surveying instruments like those the Egyptians used:

    combination plumb line sighting tool and surface level, used for the last 4,000 years, can be made with three sticks, five nails, a stone, a piece of wire, and a piece of string

    angles can be computed with a compass or protractor.

  • Practice using your instruments. Calibrate. Calculate angles, tangents, traverses, etc.
  • Decide on a type of map, outline it, and fill it in:

    divide into work groups or survey teams

    use local landmarks; develop a scale; Use compass headings and accurate angles.

  • Develop an alphabetical locator key and directory, coded by number or letter
  • Use the map in other classes.

Square bullet Resources

  • United States Geological Survey, for sectional, topographical maps, and for three categories of booklets: Popular Publications; Sources of Information and Services; and Activities and Services of the United States Geological Survey Western Region
  • beginning cartography texts (check libraries and the UAF Geography Department)
  • Spier, Robert F. G. Surveying and mapping: A manual of simplified techniques. In Studies in Anthropology series. Holt, Rinehart & Winston
  • Kjellstrom, Bjorn. Be an Expert with Map and Compass. From Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), Silva Compass Co. $5.95
  • City Hall
  • Weather Bureau
  • Bureau of Land Management


  • Create a city directory, or map of the village:

    discuss village boundaries. Sketch the village (on my-lar, if possible)
    check the city office for sectional boundaries (business, residential, etc.)
    color code sectional areas. Fill in street names
    write a description of local climate and geography
    redo a final version of the map and use it in history class. 

  • Make a topographic, vegetation, or hydrographic map.
  • Make the map available to the community (city council, school, corporation).
  • Make a basic village map with tape measure and compass. Study the growth of the village since its inception, or enlarge the map for a detailed study, such as for kinship ties.

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