Arts and Humanities
Environment and Culture - The Inupiat Culture

Essential Questions

· How does environment affect the development and evolution of a culture?
· How do the people in a culture relate to the environment in which they live?

Enduring Understandings

· Place and history affect the development of all aspects of a culture and the identity of its people.
· Elements of a culture are preserved or changed when cultures interact or the environment changes.


The curriculum ideas we have included in these units are a result of a trip taken by five middle school teachers to Barrow, Alaska, in July of 2009, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. From the people we met, the places we stayed, and the resources we brought home, we have put together a series of lessons that we have used or plan to use in our classrooms at Francis W. Parker Charter School, in Devens, Massachusetts. We are humble in our understanding of the Inupiat culture, the Arctic environment and the effects of global changes on life in the Arctic. What we bring to the subject is our interest in making these topics accessible to our students, through hands-on learning.

The lessons and resources presented here fall into three units, but they can also stand alone or as additions to other curricula. Unit 1 offers students background in five Alaskan cultures. Unit 2 adds detail to several elements of the Inupiat culture, and Unit 3 examines historical and contemporary issues for the north slope of Alaska.

Please see the full lesson plans below:

Inupiat Culture Lesson Plans

Alaska Slide Show

Inupiat Case Study

Photos of the North Slopes Region