In this short film, Yup'ik fisherman Ray Waska explains how life has changed for his family as he teaches his grandchildren how to fish for salmon in the Alaskan Yukon Delta.
An accompanying lesson plan provides background information, instructions for a classroom debate activity, and a number of writing prompts related to the film.
The lesson plan is available in English and Spanish.
Students will learn how the Yup'ik way of life persists even though the people have had to make adjustments in recent decades.
Beautiful cinematography will draw students in.
The lesson plan contains valuable background information that the teacher should share with the students prior to viewing the film.
The film was produced in 2013, so some of the information may not be up to date.
Social studies, geography and history classes could research the history of the Yup'ik people and learn how European colonialism and the United States' purchase of Alaska have impacted their traditional ways of life.
Social studies and economics classes could discuss how the dependence on fossil fuels for transportation has had a negative impact on the Yup'ik people's traditional subsistence economy.
English or art classes could study this watercolor painting by artist Jill Pelto that depicts the decline of the salmon population in the Pacific Northwest and compare the artist's statement to Ray Waska's assessment of the changes in the salmon population.
Other resources on this topic include this video and activity about how the Athabaskan people of Alaska are impacted by climate change, this video on climate change in Barrow, Alaska, and this podcast about the negative effects of the industrial fishing industry on ecosystems.
While there is no science in this resource to verify, it contains an important message about the cost of climate change. This short film looks at what the dwindling Alaskan King Salmon population means to a local family. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Science and Engineering
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
Geography 2: Students understand geographic aspects of unity and diversity in various regions of the United States and the world by describing features on the daily life of various cultures in the United States and the world.
Geography 2 (F1): Students understand geographic aspects of unity and diversity in Maine, the United States, and various world cultures, including Maine Native Americans, by explaining how geographic features have impacted unity and diversity in Maine, the United States, and other nations.
Geography 1 (D2): Students understand the geography of the United States and various regions of the world and the effect of geographic influences on decisions about the present and future by using inquiry to predict and evaluate consequences of geographic influences.