Petersburg High School incorporates place-based learning education in the classroom through classes like Aquaculture, Marine Biology, Geology & Survey, Wood Shop, and numerous activities that are done in collaboration with the Forest Service and other members of the community. Petersburg is tight-knit community in Southeast Alaska. Tlingit from Kake used Petersburg as a summer fish camp originally before it was founded as a town by Norwegian fishermen. Fishing is very important for the community, and many of the residents rely on fishing as a source of income. The Aquaculture and Marine Biology classes are connected to salmon and their life cycle. Students often go on field trips to the local hatchery to collect data for scientific projects and participate in projects like egg gathers.
In the Geology & Survey class students learn about the minerals that can be found in the area and also about surveying. Students start by surveying with a level and a Philadelphia rod the base of a house and surfaces close to the school. They will go on a field trip to Le Conte glacier, one of the most active glaciers in Southeast Alaska. Le Conte Survey Program is a two year training course where students produce reliable survey data from the Le Conte Glacier. In the first year, students focus on the basics of surveying and mathematics, while the second year, they, and two supervisors, visit the glacier as a group to survey it.
One thought on “Place- based learning in Petersburg”
The Le Conte Survey project is a great example of place-based curriculum that also incorporates an authentic, real-world audience for the student projects. All of the examples you note in your post are strong place-based units; I wonder how often you will see culture-based examples – that draw on the roots of the Tlingít fish camp that existed in the place where Petersburg now stands?