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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Lessons & Units

A database of lessons and units searchable by content and cultural standards, cultural region and grade level. More units will be available soon. You can use Acrobat Reader to look at the PDF version of the Cover Sheet for the Units and Self-Assessment for Cultural Standards in Practice.


by Jonas Ramoth and Sidney Stephens

Appendix D - Interdisciplinary Integration/Extension


This weather unit focuses tightly on traditional/local and contemporary/universal ways of observing, measuring and predicting weather. These weather studies could be greatly enhanced by both considering weather within an interdisciplinary framework and by linking weather studies with other, relevant science concepts. A partial brainstorming of potential areas for further study follows.

Language Arts

  • Weather journals*
  • Tape record or videotape Elders telling weather stories
  • Find as many words as possible that describe the weather. Make a book.
  • Write and put on a short play about the weather.
  • Pretend you are a warm front moving in after 2 weeks of 40 below. Write a story from that perspective.
  • Write original stories/poems about the weather.
  • Compile and illustrate an anthology of poems about the weather.
  • Brainstorm weather phrases from home and illustrate how they relate to life in general. Examples: "rain check," "the calm before the storm," etc.
  • Listen/read about weather in the news
  • Do a survey of people's attitudes about the weather
  • Math
  • Measure temperature, wind speed, precipitation. Record measurements and show in graphic form.*
  • Compute maximum, minimum and average temperature over time*
  • Use graphs to explore annual temperature cycles*
  • Create scale comparing quantitative and qualitative measures of temperature*
  • Estimate cloud cover on a daily basis*
  • Music
  • Research and tape or video record local songs/dances related to weather.
  • Compile and sing songs with weather as a theme.
  • Share what you have learned about weather in the form of a song, dance or rap.
  • Make a sound map of you community on different weather days and try to explain the differences.
  • Listen to symphonies depicting weather/seasons and reflect on their relevance to you. ( If you were writing a winter symphony, would it be the same or different? How? Why?)
  • Social Studies
  • Work with one or more Elders or Traditional Forecasters to gain local knowledge and perspective on weather. Keep a record of this work. *
  • Observe and record how the weather affects community activities.*
  • Investigate safety and survival as it relates to weather.*
  • Investigate changes in weather activities then and now (e.g. what did people do at 40 below before oil heat, snow machines and TV?; what do they do at 40 below now?)
  • Compare weather and weather forecasting in your community to weather in another community.
  • Compile a winter games book for your community.
  • Examine the economic impact of weather in your community e.g. cost, abundance, scarcity of food, fuel, clothing, housing etc.
  • Investigate how other cultures through time have regarded and explained the weather.
  • Art
  • Illustrate personal weather stories or stories told by elder.
  • Create a mural or diorama depicting community activities related to weather.
  • Research and illustrate the influence of weather on local art.
  • Illustrate weather sayings.
  • Create a series of mood paintings or drawings based on how the weather affects you.
  • Create posters or video on safety and survival.
  • Research an artist who seemed to capture the elements in his or her paintings. Learn about his or her life and try to paint a painting in that style.
  • Related Science Topics
  • Water cycle
  • Snow (crystal formation, physics, as insulation, adaptation to etc.)
  • Overflow
  • Insulation
  • Plant and animal adaptations to weather
  • Global Climate Change

* indicates inclusion in existing unit plans



Section I - Observing Locally

Section II - Understanding Wind

Section III - Connecting Globally

Appendix A - Selawik Weather Information from Jonas Ramoth

Appendix B - Assessment

Appendix C - Weather Resource List

Appendix D - Interdisciplinary Integration



Whouy Sze Kuinalth
"Teaching Our Many Grandchildren"
Tauhna Cauyalitahtug
(To Make a Drum)
Math Story Problems
St. Lawrence Island Rain Parka Winds and Weather Willow
Driftwood Snowshoes Moose
Plants of the Tundra Animal Classification for Yup'ik Region Rabbit Snaring
The Right Tool for the Job
Fishing Tools and Technology
Blackfish Family Tree
Medicinal Plants of the Kodiak Alutiiq Archipelago Beaver in Interior Alaska Digging and Preparing Spruce Roots
Moose in Interior Alaska Birds Around the Village  


Handbook for Culturally Responsive Science Curriculum by Sidney Stephens
Excerpt: "The information and insights contained in this document will be of interest to anyone involved in bringing local knowledge to bear in school curriculum. Drawing upon the efforts of many people over a period of several years, Sidney Stephens has managed to distill and synthesize the critical ingredients for making the teaching of science relevant and meaningful in culturally adaptable ways."



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Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
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Last modified August 18, 2006