Native Knowledge Network
Since 1996, the Alaska Science Consortium has been working with the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative (AKRSI) and the Alaska Department of Education to help develop standards-based, culturally relevant curriculum that effectively integrates indigenous and Western knowledge around science topics. This work has been generously funded by the AKRSI project through a National Science Foundation grant. It has involved teachers, Elders, Native community leaders, agency personnel, and educational consultants and has taken many forms. This handbook represents some of the thinking and products that have resulted from this slowly evolving and highly collaborative process. It is hoped that some of these ideas prove helpful to you as you begin or continue similar work. We are most grateful to the AKRSI program for support of these efforts and to AKRSI staff for their ongoing dedication, helpfulness, and vision. For a more complete look at the purpose, accomplishments and resources funded and gathered by AKRSI, check out their website at http://www.ankn.uaf.edu.
The information and insights contained in this document will be of interest to anyone involved in bringing local knowledge to bear in school curriculum. Drawing upon the efforts of many people over a period of several years, Sidney Stephens has managed to distill and synthesize the critical ingredients for making the teaching of science relevant and meaningful in culturally adaptable ways. Coupled with the "Native Ways of Knowing" section in the Alaska Math/Science Curriculum Frameworks document and the Alaska Science Performance Standards, this handbook will provide teachers invaluable assistance with the task of developing and teaching "culturally responsive science curriculum."
is mounting evidence that curricular and teaching practices that link
schooling to the surrounding cultural and physical environment produce
positive results on all indicators of student and school performance.
This handbook reflects the most current pedagogical principles that
move educational practice from teaching about (italics) culture as another
discrete subject to teaching through (italics) the local culture as
a way to bring depth, breadth and significance to all aspects of the
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