Changes in Our Local Environment

Developed for Alaska Native students, this activity can be customized for other regions. Students interview elders or other long-term residents of the community to document their knowledge of local changes to the landscape and climate. Based on the information and photos they acquired from the interview, students return to photo locations to observe and record changes. Finally, they develop ideas about potential impacts of a warming climate to the ecosystem that surrounds them.

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Alaska Seas and Rivers Curriculum
Alaska Sea Grant
Activity takes 9 to 11 class periods with possibility of some of this accomplished as outside work.

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

This lesson is easily adaptable for other communities in the world.

Instructor may want to provide students with a scoring rubric that outlines science and research content.

The research project/interview and presentation can be tied together by inviting the elders and other community members to the school to see the finished posters or student work. (A similar step is done in the evaluation and extension of curricular connections)

Reviewing the differences between weather and climate at the beginning of the activity is highly recommended.

The url for the video 'Saving a Community: Shishmaref, Alaska' has changed to

Community-based and could be combined with community mapping projects.

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