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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.

DRAFT

Plants of the Tundra


Authors:

Sophie Kasayulie, YSD, Tad and Johanna DeGray, Alakanuk, LYSD, and Luise Woelflein, Green Fire, Inc.

Grade Level:

3-5

Context:

2 to 3 weeks in early fall; designed for a camp setting

AKRSI Region:

Yup'ik


Science Standards:

A15 - Use science to understand and describe the local environment

B1 - Use the processes of science, including observing, classifying, measuring, interpreting data, inferring, communicating, controlling variables, developing models and theories, hypothesizing, predicting and experimenting

 

Skills and Knowledge:

- Be able to identify local tundra plants in Yup'ik and English.

- Observe, measure and collect data in order to classify, predict and communicate an understanding of their everyday world.

 

Math Standards

A3 - Perform basic arithmetic functions and make reasoned estimates. Select and use appropriate methods or tools for computation or estimation such as mental arithmetic, paper and pencil, calculator, computer

A5 - construct, draw, measure, transform, compare, visualize, classify and analyze geometric relationships among geometric figures

 

Skills and Knowledge:

  • Predict the amount of berries that can be picked within a l meter diameter circle; pick and measure the amount of berries in several sample plots; find the average amount of berries;
  • Estimate the area of the field; estimate the amount of berries in the field.
  • Create circle plots using .5 meter pieces of string and identify the radius, diameter and circumference and calculate the area of the circle.

 

Cultural Standards:

C1 - perform subsistence activities in ways that are appropriate to local traditions;

D1 - Acquire in-depth cultural knowledge through active participation and meaningful interaction with Elders

D2 - Participate in and make constructive contributions to the learning activities associated with a traditional camp environment;

 

Skills and Knowledge:

  • be able to identify local tundra plants in Yup'ik and English and identify their edible, medicinal and other uses.
  • Prepare a traditional food dish using gathered plants to be used at a potluck.
  • Gather appropriate grass in order to make simple baskets.

Lesson Outline:

What do you know? - pre assessment

Getting to know plants - introduction to classification

Elder walks - learning Yup'ik names, uses, preparations, stories

Plant booklets - compilation of previous information

Basket making

Circle Plots - Berry Gathering

Gathering festival

Medicinal/edible plant preparation

Assessment:

Pre-assessment

Assessments accompany each lesson

Activity 1

 

What Do You Know ?

 

Learning and Cultural Goals/Outcomes:

Students will share what they know about tundra plants, including their names, traditional uses, and experiences gathering or using them.

 

Materials:

samples of plants (optional)

 

Time:

approximately 30 minutes

 

Directions:

Gather the students into a circle and discuss what they know. about plants in general and tundra plants in particular. Ask them to name all the plants they can. Which tundra plants do they know? Can they name some tundra plants that are good to eat? What tundra plants have medicinal uses? Do they know the Yup'ik and English names for the different plants they name? Show them plant samples and ask them to identify them in English and Yup'ik. Have they helped their families gather edible or medicinal plants? Where did they go to collect them? What time of year was it? What stories can they tell about when they went collecting? Encourage each of the children to share what they know and the experiences they've had.

If you want, you can also ask the students what kinds of things they would like to know about tundra plants. You can record these ideas to guide the direction of the unit and to touch back on later to see if you've addressed student interests sufficiently.

 

Assessment:

This activity is a pre-assessment of student knowledge.


Activity 2

 

Getting to Know Plants

 

AK Standards:

Use science to understand and describe the local environment (local knowledge). A15

Use the processes of science; these processes include observing, classifying, measuring, interpreting data, inferring, communicating, controlling variables, developing models and theories, hypothesizing, predicting, and experimenting. B1

 

Learning Goals/Outcomes:

Students will describe plants using their own terms and phrases.

Students will collect plants that match samples they're given.

Students will describe plants using scientific terminology.

Students will be able to describe several characteristics of plants that can be used to distinguish different species.

 

Cultural Concepts:

none

 

Materials:

samples of tundra plants (enough so that each pair of students will have a sample)

paper and pencil

plant journals

colored pencils or markers (optional)

 

Time:

approximately 2-3 hours

 

Directions:

Gather the students into a circle, then pass out a tundra plant sample to each pair of students. Explain that they should work with their partner to describe their plant as completely as possible. They should record as many details as they can so that they'd be able to tell it from other kinds of plants. Have them record their observations/descriptions on paper.

Give them plenty of time to observe and record their descriptions. Afterward have them go out, find, and collect a sample of their plant. Be sure to establish boundaries to their collecting area!

Bring the students back together again and have them share whether it was easy or difficult for them to find another sample of their plant in the collecting area. Why? Then have them share the characteristics of their plants. As they share their plant observations point out and highlight the common characteristics different pairs of students noticed. (For example, did more than one pair have plants with long pointy leaves? Did anyone else's plant have rough bark?) Also generalize about the characteristics they keyed in on, such as leaf shape, leaf margin, and arrangement of leaves on the stem. As you generalize, introduce scientific classification terms such as broadleaf vs. needles, entire vs. toothed, opposite vs. alternate, and so on. Have the students examine their own samples as you introduce each term and describe their plant using the term.

Have students work with their partner to re-describe their plant using the new terms they have just learned. They should each sketch their plant and record the verbal description in their plant journals.

 

Assessment:

Have students trade plant samples with another pair. Quickly go around the circle and ask different students to say something about their new plant in terms of the characteristics they've just learned about. You can also ask particular students if their plant has a particular characteristic or not. This will be quick check of whether students have learned the new terminology.


Activity 3

Elder Walks

 

AK Standards:

Use science to understand and describe the local environment. A15

 

Learning Goal/Outcome:

The students will be able to identify local tundra plants in Yup'ik and English. They will be able to identify the edible, medicinal and other uses.

 

Cultural Concepts:

Acquire in depth cultural knowledge through active participation and meaningful interactions with elders. D1

Interact with elders in a loving and respectful way that demonstrates an appreciation of their role as culture-bearers and educators in the community.

 

Materials

Yup'ik vocabulary list with space for kids to write notes as they find the plants with the elders.

plant keys

plant presses

pens

paper

masking tape for labels

Time: 2-3 hours

 

Directions:

Put the students in small groups with an elder per group. With clipboards loaded with the Yup'ik vocabulary list, the students will walk with the elder listening and taking notes on anything the elder wants to share about the plants he/she comes across (ie. Yup'ik name, uses, where to find it, time of year it is best to harvest, and any other info they are willing to share). Students should pick a small sample of each plant throughout this process and label it with its Yup'ik name.

Students then return to base camp and use the plant keys to identify the English and scientific names for each plant they collected. They should then place their samples in the plant presses or preservation.

 

Assessment:

Make informal and formal observations of their notes on the Yup'ik vocabulary list, and the results of their plant key research.


Activity 4

 

Plant Booklets

 

AK Standards:

A - 15. Use science to understand and describe the local environment (Local Knowledge)

B - 1 Use the process of science to observe, classify infer, and communicate.

 

Learning Goal/Outcome

The students will be able to identify local tundra plants in Yup'ik and English. They will identify their edible, medicinal and other uses.

 

Cultural Concepts:

D - 2. Acquire in depth cultural knowledge through active participation and meaningful interactions with Elders

 

Materials:

Construction Paper

Lined Paper

Pencils

Computer

Plastic Bags

Elders

Tape recorder

Video Camera

laminator

 

Time:

3-6 hours

 

Activity Directions:

Students will make booklets using plants glued on to paper or laminated. Using the information gathered from Elders, the students will label its Yup'ik name, English name, scientific name and record the information as to how the plant will be used for medicine, for food, if it is poisonous, preparation methods, habitat (where it is found), time of year to harvest, & stories of interest about each plant (if available).

 

Assessment:

Students will present their booklets to a panel of Elders, teachers, other students and community members. The panel will evaluate the booklets.

 


Activity 5

 

Basket Making

 

AK Standards

none

 

Learning Goal/Outcome:

The students will gather appropriate grass in order to make a simple basket.

 

Cultural Concept:

Perform subsistence activities in ways that are appropriate to local traditions C1

Acquire in depth cultural knowledge through active participation and meaningful interactions with the elders. D1

 

Materials:

pre-made baskets

appropriate grass

knowledgeable elder or two

Time: 2-4 hours to get started, individuals will vary on time to complete entire basket.

 

Directions:

Have an elder show the students not only the type of grass needed to make a simple basket, but some gathering techniques as well.

Send the students out on the tundra to gather grass. Set boundaries before they go.

After they return with the grass, have the elders instruct them on how to make a simple basket. Assist the students as needed.

Ask elders to demonstrate how to dry grass for future basket making. Have students set aside some grass for basket making back in the classroom.

 

Assessment:

Monitor and evaluate student progress in making their simple basket.

 


Activity 6

 

Circle Plots and Berry Picking

 

AK Standards:

Perform basic Arithmetic functions, make reasoned estimates, and select and use appropriate methods or tools for computation or estimation including mental arithmetic, paper and pencil, a calculator, and a computer. A3

 

Learning Goals/Outcomes:

Students will predict the amount of berries that can be picked within a 1 meter diameter circle; pick and measure the amount of berries in several sample plots; find the average amount of berries; estimate the area of the field; estimate the amount of berries in the field.

Students will create circle plots using .5 meter pieces of string and identify the radius, diameter, and circumference, and calculate the area of the circle.

 

Cultural Concepts:

Participate in and make constructive contributions to the learning activities associated with a traditional camp environment.

 

Materials:

Berry field

.5 meter pieces of string

berry buckets

measuring cups

portable computer/calculator

paper/pencil

Time: 2-3 hours

 

Directions:

Students brainstorm how to make a circle plot using the .5 meter string. Have students demonstrate possibilities. Use the student demonstrators to point out the radius, the diameter, and circumference. Introduce the formula for finding the area of a circle (pi)(r2). Have students calculate the area of the .5 m circle.

Have students estimate the amount of berries they think they will get if they pick a circle plot clean. Give partner groups a .5 meter piece of string and ask them to make a plot and pick it clean. When they return ask them to estimate the amount of berries in their bucket and then use measuring cups to get an exact amount. When all groups have finished, have the students calculate the average amount of berries picked in a 1 meter diameter circle plot.

Show students a large circle plot. Ask them to calculate the area and then estimate the amount of berries the large plot could provide.

 

Assessment:

informal observation

brief review of student calculations

 


Activity 7

 

Gathering Festival

 

AK. Standards: none

Learning Goal/outcomes:

The students will demonstrate their knowledge of local plants

 

Cultural Concepts: none

Materials:

5 gallon buckets

ziploc bags, spiral notebook

pencil

watch

 

Time:

Will vary depending on the time decided upon by the students, probably 1 - 3 hours.

 

Directions:

Gear up: - Have the students decide as a group what should be included, as well as amounts, in this festival. (Example 5 gallons of black berries, 2 gallons of cranberries, 3 Eskimo tea leaves, etc.

Have the students make a list of the items and amounts that have been agreed upon.

Hand out appropriate gathering tools (buckets, plastic bags, etc) and show the students the boundaries. Tell them they must gather until they have met the goals set up earlier or until the allotted time is up, which ever comes first.

Say "Go" and have fun.

 

Assessment:

See which groups were able to satisfy the demands set up by the group during the gear up session, and note the time it took for each group.


Activity 8

 

Medicinal and Edible Plants Preparation

Alaska Standards: none

Cultural Standards:

C-1 Perform subsistence activities in ways that are appropriate to local traditions.

D-3 Interact with Elders in a loving and respectful way that demonstrates an appreciation of their role as culture-bearers and educators in the community

 

Learning Goals/Outcomes:

Students will prepare a traditional food dish using gathered plants

Students will prepare plants for medicinal purposes

 

Materials

Plants that have been collected

Appropriate tools for cooking and making medicine

Other medicinal and cooking ingredients according to recipe

 

Activity Directions:

Students and teachers will interact with Elders as the Elders conduct various demonstrations on how to prepare plants for medicinal purposes and how to prepare plants in traditional ways. Students will take notes in preparation for a later written report.

- Under the watchful care of Elders, students will prepare plants for medicinal purposes.

- Under the watchful care of Elders, students will prepare plants as food to be eaten.

 

Assessment:

Students will write: a description of the plants; English and Yup'ik names of the plants; detailed uses of plants; and preparations strategies.

Students (singly or in small groups) will prepare plants for medicinal or food use that is approved by the Elders as correct.

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Plants of the Tundra Animal Classification for Yup'ik Region Rabbit Snaring
The Right Tool for the Job
Fishing Tools and Technology
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Moose in Interior Alaska Birds Around the Village Dog Salmon

 

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."

 

 

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
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Last modified August 14, 2006