This book is written after the first edition worked its way
across Alaska and parts of Canada for over fifteen years.
The first edition was primitive, written after my first year teaching.
However, I had lived a subsistence lifestyle in the Alaskan bush
for fifteen years before that. I have rewritten almost every word,
but the concepts and applications remain the same.
While this new effort reflects the best that I can currently offer,
I hope many people receive it as inspiration and go on to surpass
me in all regards.
The textual materials are straightforward. I could have embellished
more, explained more, included more verbage, but instead I chose
to be concise. In that regard, I have sometimes oversimplified.
My goal at this time is to inspire students to find science in their
local environment. It is not to be the last step on the way to Harvard.
You will find much information in the text that is nowhere else
in print. Please feel free to validate or invalidate that information
in your community as you interact with the knowledge base of that
My intention was to drive the students into the community with
the questions that will prompt meaningful discussion with the local
experts and elders, stirring memories. This is where most of the
learning will take place in each lesson.
All of the activities have a specific purpose, a fact, a concept
or principle behind the directive. I have included in this teachers
edition some tips and hints for the activities, but hopefully your
local situation will create greater insights than I have to offer.
Caution: There are few activities that do not have potential danger.
They reflect village life which is full of hazards. Rather than
avoid them, this book provides the teacher with the opportunity
to stress safety. I havent identified all the hazardous activities
or this book would be quite a bit longer. Use caution in every regard,
particularly with gasoline.
These questions are basic recall and comprehension, straight out
of the text. The teachers answers are printed in a separate
booklet. If you did not receive the booklet with this publication,
contact the Alaska Native Knowledge Network, P.O. Box 756730, Fairbanks,
Some of these questions are quite hard. They are real-life questions
that might have to be modeled on the board. Many will require higher-level
math skills than the students have. Some might require higher level
math skills than the teacher has.
Most of these are real life problems I wrestled with in thirty-three
years of living in the Alaskan bush.
How to use this book
It is possible to read a chapter and do the questions at the end
just like any other text. However, I think the essence of this book
lies in the activities.
There is no particular order in which these lessons need to be
done. However, I would recommend that you consider the seasons,
saving outboard motors for the spring, and doing winter trails at
the appropriate time. It would be good to do all the components
of engine lessons at the same time, as they make up a whole. They
arent vod ed lessons. Each one is embedded with science concepts
and locally relevent knowledge.
Physical vs. Life science
Physical sciences are not more important than the life sciences,
but are a healthy prerequisite. It is easy to understand the burser
in a caribou joint after studying friction on a larger scale. It
is easy to understand why rabbits have long intestines when the
concept of surface area is part of ones reality. Knowing physical
science concepts takes life science efforts out of the realm of
memorization and places it in the realm of understanding and application.
Science can be the core of a fun-filled day, month, or school
year. Writing, math, social studies, art, and other subjects are
easily woven in and through the life process that is known as discovery,
or more formally, science.
Thank you for using this book. My hope is that your life and the
lives of the students will be changed by it, opening up further
the realm of using the local environment to explore science.