I think part of teaching Alaska History is helping students recognize that they too, are part of Alaska’s history. The following lesson helps students see the connection between place and culture by examining the students’ background knowledge & experiences here in Juneau, Alaska, then expanding the idea to research the various cultures of Alaska as a whole.
Instructor: Mara Sheakley-Eearly (Chris Won, MAT)
Class: Alaska History
EQ: What is the influence of physical features on cultural development?
Lesson: Place & Culture Table
Length of Time: 20min. instruction; Part homework
- Draw a table on the White Board with two categories. (Top Row – Place): Global Citizen/Earth -> USA -> Alaska -> Juneau -> TMHS -> Family -> Self. (Bottom Row – Cultural Features).
- Have students define what ‘Culture’ means and put up elements of cultural features up on the board (Food, Music, Tradition, etc…)
- For every category, have students share what cultural features connect with them. (For example, for Juneau, students might say ‘Fishing’ or ‘Small’)
- Have students fill out the rest for homework.
*There is no right or wrong answer. However students define their own lived experiences with the places listed above is valid. Potential for critical thinking of why students gave their responses.
This was a good side-by-side visual way of seeing how where you live might impact how you live and how you define your culture. It was fun and useful to use my personal experience being an “outsider” to really help students understand that where you live affects what you have access to. I asked, for example, if students knew what Lacrosse was, and only a few students knew what it was. I also asked why is it that they could name a good Filipino restaurant in town but not an Afghani restaurant.