Thursday, I went to the Culture Camp and met with teens from all over Southeast Alaska. I was able to pull them away from their beloved rope swings long enough to snap this photo of the smokehouse. I like that Elder David Katzeek later referred back to the smokehouse in his song. I also like the jars of fish and seal oil. I like canning, mostly fruit, and I was delighted to talk with Herb Sheakley about the prep and processing for his jars. He does use a pressure canner to can the fish, but he said that the seal oil naturally keeps the food preserved. I found that interesting; were people able to preserve food longtime in seal oil prior to owning canners? I wonder if honey was used as a preservative as well?
It was nice to experience the cultural relevant lessons Friday. I do not enjoy math, and I appreciated shifting the lesson to real world problem solving. It was also nice to work in groups so that we could discuss ways of coming up with answers and try different things. However I think a teacher would have to be intentional about grouping students before sending them out of the classroom; it would be very easy for a confident math student to dominate the process. The science also used a real world scenario with environmental implications. My team of course hoped that the moss would hold more water than the diaper; it did not, but my hypothesis is that the water would have been absorbed if we had let it sit longer. Also, urine is usually warmer than tap water, especially if a baby is bundled, so- just as berries and grains and teas are “steeped” to absorb the liquid, it could be that with warmer water and more time the moss would have steeped….
Certainly, I left an afternoon of science and math with relevant concepts and experiences to consider, and I think that makes culturally relevant learning a success.
I also liked the presentation on the science field trips. I agree that it is o important to get outside, to be part of the community, and promote creativity with problem solving.