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29 April, 2003

Teaching the Young

Today in Kotzebue


A clear, crisp day awaited me. We are happy about this. Due to the warm weather, we were afraid of fog. Since we are leaving today, we are hoping that the planes arenít delayed.

What science is happening?
Kotzebue Middle School is celebrating Inupiaq days. Today the 7th graders are out on the ice in the Kotzebue sound, learning how to ice fish with traditional gear. Elmer Godwin, tribal elder and consultant in charge of Inupiaq studies at the school, was on hand to give instruction and he brought some traditional fare. I had tried caribou before in caribou burritos and caribou sausage, but the muktuk was new to me. Muktuk is the skin and blubber from a bowhead whale. One of the reasons that early explorers got scurvy eating hard tack and gruel is because there is no vitamin C. Muktuk provides the native people with an excellent source of vitamin C. I am told it is quite a delicacy, and was very honored when they offered me some. It is very chewy and in the end I had to swallow it whole. Mr. Goodwin gave me some to take back with me to show my students, unfortunately it fell out of my pocket when I got my gloves (or Iím going to get home to find I have a very smelly suitcase!)


Classroom Connections:
To graduate from Kotzebue High school you have to have earned one credit in Inupiaq studies. What cultures are studied in your school? Why do you think it is important to study others cultures? Why do you think it is important to take pride in your heritage?

Reflections

Today I leave this icy wonderland. I have seen the challenges in studying the environment in an inhospitable climate; I look forward to taking the same samples in the summer and observing the differences in the procedures and results.


Links

Learn more about our project here
View curriculum for this project, ďAsk a ScientistĒ and learn about other Arctic Real Time research at Arctic Alive
City of Kotzebue Webpage
Listen to the local radio station KOTZ live


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