What’s a boat to do

*Don’t have a full 41 sec. to spare… jump to 24 sec. and hold your breath.

Alaska’s culture is inherently linked to boating culture. We are and have often been bound by our ability to move across or on the water. Overshadowed by air travel and often overlooked is the profound impact boating technology has on all of this state’s residents and billions of people worldwide. Here at home store shelves stay stocked only if the barge arrives on time, reaching the road system usually requires a ferry, and harvesting a winter’s worth of halibut or salmon is exceeding difficult without a boat assist. Travelers, adventurers, and rural residents today rely on boats of all shapes, sizes, and propulsion methods to reach their respective destinations. Whether it be a 18’ Lund shallow V, 35’ a bow- picker, or a 6lb. pack raft we love boats. Funny side note, boats need water; I love water, hence I love boats. Now you know.

My lesson plan has to do with our recognition of the simple fact that we are reliant on these crafts large and small for tasks for which they were designed and sometimes not. I have indicated, in my lesson, that several state standards are addressed whether it be scientific process of design, utilization of technological innovations, understanding properties of matter, developing an understanding of the interrelationships among individuals and their respective cultures, but I believe the lesson here is most closely tied to state standard F 3, which reads, “develop an understanding of the importance of recording and validating cultural knowledge”. I say this because the lesson contains an activity where students will make some comparisons between a contemporary modern kayak to a biadarka. The grandfather of the modern Kayak, the biadarka has been copied and has further evolved to meet the specific needs of people where ever they are in the polar region.
For more on this, see: http://www.traditionalkayaks.com/Kayakreplicas/types.html

The lesson first asks students to consider boats in general and how they (students) are connected to boats and their many uses. Then the students are asked to determine what features of a given boat make it useful for a particular application and how they know that. In small groups students will be in charge of their exploration to compare and contrast the two similar and describe them using the data collected. For more on that see the attached lesson.

Our Global Boating Culture

Keynote slides- boats

4 thoughts on “What’s a boat to do”

  1. Oh I got 41sec! That was cool! I felt like I was in one of those Imax movies when I went full screen. I wish I had my GoPro on know so you could see me typing this. Alas, old fashioned words will have to do again… AK’s got more shoreline than not just Texas but the whole of the contiguous 48; heck yeah we’re gonna need a boat! I got mine; you got yours? Angie’s got one too… I love all of your boat examples. I almost got a Lund. I think you need a nice Schooner. I was amazed at the different kayaks at the museum from all the different coastal communities and the precision they we made with. I love your lesson. So practical!

    1. Thanks Matt, definitely enlightening for me as I definitely don’t speak ‘boat’ at all. Very relevant and taps into different perspectives. And I will be putting The Last Baidarka on my list to watch… one of these days. It’s nice to see Alaska Native technologies acknowledged and appreciated for the genius they were.

  2. Thanks for sharing Matt! I love how your lesson plan is easy to follow, but at the same time digs deep into Alaska Native cultural knowledge.

  3. This was really fun to read, and I definitely watched and perused more of your source materials after you hook. Also – that really big cruise ship is good for white water rafting, right?

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