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

Alaska Science Camps, Fairs & Experiments

ANKN is a resource for compiling and exchanging information related to Alaska Native knowledge systems and ways of knowing. We are pleased to create and distribute a variety of publications that assist Native people, government agencies, educators and the general public in gaining access to the knowledge base that Alaska Natives have acquired through cumulative experience over millennia.


Contact the ANKN offices at 907-474-1902 or email



If you have done many of the activities in this book, and read it with a mind to learn, your life has been changed. Science helps us to approach unknown situations with confidence. It helps develop good conclusions that will be usable today and helpful in the future. The oldtimers in Alaska were always experimenting with new ways to hunt, trap, travel, and preserve food.

If you have done a collection, you have learned basic science skills. If you did a demonstration, you developed an ability that will be with you for the rest of your life. If you took on a project where you had to observe and think, you have developed a habit, a thinking pattern, that will serve you again and again. If you have done an experiment, you are on your way to being a mature scientist.

Whether you become a scientist as a career or just as a practical person who wants accurate conclusion, you're a winner.

There is a natural high that comes from a good project. There is no end to questions that can be asked and explored. There are not enough hours in the day to pursue them all.

Village people constantly apply new materials and technologies to traditional activities. Recently, I experimented by putting a sheet of white sled runner plastic under my boat. The plastic protects the part of the boat that rubs the bank. Better yet, I found that I could run over shallow places, beaver dams, rocks, and other obstacles where I would have been stuck before. My hypothesis was correct. The benefit was well worth the money and effort.

If you have caught the spirit of this book, you are in for some great adventures, most of them right in your own yard or village.

Your partner in curiosity,
Alan Dick


Finding and Developing a Science Fair Project

Examples of "Observe and Think" Projects

200+ Ideas for Science Fairs!

Traditional Lighting


Traditional Firemaking


Fishing with Lures

Rabbit Snares

Spearing Fish and the Refraction of Light

Chill of the Campfire

Solution vs Suspension

Seals & Beaver, Floating & Sinking


Selecting a Birch Tree

Spruce & Other Roots

Spruce Gum

Spear Throwing

Berry Pickers

Drum Frames


Book Cover

© 2004 Alaska Native Knowledge Network. All rights reserved.

A partner with the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0086194. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Camps as an Environment for Science & Culture

Culturally Relevant Science Fairs



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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 April 12, 2011