What does this guide offer you and your students?

Alaska and her people enjoy one of the world’s premium and increasingly rare resources—healthy stocks of wild Pacific salmon. In spring 2002 the Alaska Department of Fish and Game published and distributed to every school in the state multiple copies of Alaska’s Wild Salmon, a 64-page book celebrating this remarkable resource. This teacher’s guide suggests ways to use that book to help middle school students appreciate their priceless heritage.

Many Alaska schools teach at least part of the story of wild salmon. But a 2003 Alaska Department of Education needs assessment found that many students are not studying salmon. The story of Alaska’s wild salmon includes how salmon evolved their remarkable freshwater/saltwater life cycle, and the habitats they depend on during various stages of their lives. It is about the story of human interactions with salmon through centuries of harvest for economic and spiritual gain. The story includes management efforts to protect the integrity of wild stocks, and an understanding of the laws, traditions, and public decision making that determine if healthy wild stocks will survive to benefit future generations of Alaskans. These are all areas of study that, according to the 2003 survey, are not normally covered in schools.

Does studying about salmon relate to Alaska standards?

The activities, readings, and resources described here support student progress in achieving Alaska content and performance standards. A table following this introduction suggests just a few of the ways that specific activities support Alaska content standards in science, geography, history, English/language arts, cultural literacy, and other areas. Many activities also support Alaska performance standards.

How this guide is organized

The salmon saga spins out in seven separate chapters of Alaska’s Wild Salmon. The teacher’s guide follows that structure and adds an introduction to help students relate the study of salmon to their daily lives.

Each section of the guide is keyed to a specific chapter in the book. Each section provides:

·   key concepts,

·   objectives,

·   terms students should know

·   additional background for teachers,

·   questions for class discussions,

·   ideas for classroom activities,

·   resources for teachers and students, and

·   a question to help prepare students for the next chapter.

We hope every Alaska middle school student will be exposed to the story of wild salmon, whether through studying Alaska’s Wild Salmon or through other school or district curriculum components. It is most important that students relate the ideas and information they gather from Alaska’s Wild Salmon to their own lives and communities. The activities suggested here work toward that goal.

What resources can help me plan lessons?

In preparing to teach about Alaska’s Wild Salmon, we suggest you review some of the excellent resources for teaching about salmon that are available in print and on the Internet. Following this introduction, you will find an annotated list of some general references. At the end of the guide you will find appendices that give overviews specific to Alaska on Salmon Biology and Fish Habitat in Alaska.

Each chapter of the guide also suggests resources teachers can use for planning lessons and resources teachers and students can use together.

Please help improve these materials for Alaska teachers.

This electronic teacher’s guide is a pilot edition, and we are eager to revise it to improve its use in the classroom. Please help benefit other teachers by filling out the survey at the end of the teacher’s guide, and send your suggestions to Jon Lyman, Aquatic Education Coordinator, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, jon_lyman@fishgame.state.ak.us,
(907) 465-6186.


Please note: Classroom sets of Alaska’s Wild Salmon are available only to Alaska classroom teachers. Individual copies are available to teachers outside Alaska.