Survival Skills
Subject: Language Arts
Grade Level: 6-8

Survival in the Artic demands great skills from the Inuit nation that populates this area. In this lesson, students will learn about the challenges Inuit people face as they attempt to teach their children about the old ways of surviving in an ever-changing world. Students will research the Inuit history and culture and create an in-depth news report based on what they learned about the Inuit Nation.


Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Synthesize information from a variety of sources
  • Interpret facts and express meaning through writing activities
  • Create a news report that captures important elements of the Inuit culture


  • A copy of NATURE'S ARCTIC OASIS program
  • Internet access
  • Paper
  • Video camera (optional)

Bookmark the following sites:


Thinking and Reasoning, Standard I, Level III
Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting an argument.

Reading, Standard 5, Level III
Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process.

Reading, Standard 6, Level III
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

Writing, Standard 1, Level III
Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process.


Background Activities

Building Background

Activity One

Before students watch the ARCTIC OASIS program, they will activate their background knowledge by listening to Inuit words and completing a KWLH chart.

1. Have students visit the Greenland by Dan Grossman and WBUR Web site ( and listen to several simple words and phrases spoken by a young Inuit boy.

Scroll to the "Multimedia" section of the page and click on the "Sounds Gallery" section under the "Inuit Language" section.

2. Ask students to create a class KWLH chart on the topic of Inuits. You might have to explain that in the past, Inuits were often referred to as Eskimos. In the "K" section of the chart, students will list things that they know about Inuits. In the "W" section of the chart, students will list things they want to know about Inuits, and in the "L" section of the chart, students will list what they have learned about Inuits. In the "H" section of the chart, students will verify "How" or where they learned the information.

3. Display the chart in the room and have students add new information to the chart after they watch the program and research the Inuit.


Activity One

In this activity, students will conduct research and create an in-depth news report on the history and culture of the Inuits.

1. Provide time for students to collect information on the Inuits. Tell students to record at least ten pieces of information, making sure to record the source of the information. The following Web sites contain information for this purpose:

  • NPR
    Howie Movshovitz of Colorado Public Radio reports that a new movie titled FAST RUNNER deals with the traditions of the Inuit people of northern Canada.

  • North Country Public Radio
    Search this site for a selection of programs on the Inuit. Open the site and type "Inuit" in the search box.

  • University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
    This site contains examples of Inuit mythology.

    2. After students have completed the assignment, add new information to the KWLH chart. This is a good time to verify the accuracy of the information that they added to the chart before they watched the program and began their research.

    3. Tell students that they are going to write and perform an in-depth news report on the history and culture of the Inuits. Divide the students into groups according to the topics listed below.

  • History of the Inuit
  • Inuit culture (including language, hunting, foods, and family and community life)
  • Inuit legends
  • Description of life in the Arctic
  • Current day challenges

    4. Explain to students that they may use information from the program, their research, and the Virtual Museum of Canada Web site (
    )in the creation of their news report.

    5. After the groups have written their news stories, have each group select a group member to present its story. String the individual stories together to create the comprehensive news report. If possible, videotape the report and share the tape with other classes or donate a copy to the school library.

    Activity Two

    In this activity, students will respond in writing to an actual complaint that that has been leveled at the Inuits.

    1. Have students complete an individual writing assignment using the information that they learned from their research and the program.

    2. Ask students to respond in writing to the actual complaint that some people level at the Inuits. "Inuits really should not have special rights to harvest because they can go get food at the store just like people down south." (Taken from the Virtual Museum of Canada Web site.)

    3. After students have finished writing, divide the class into pairs and have them discuss what they wrote.

    4. Involve the class in a discussion on the topic.

    Teacher Note: See organizer for this activity.

    Activity Three

    In this activity, students will compare and contrast Logan's father's thoughts and concerns with their own family's visions.

    1. Tell students to describe the ARCTIC OASIS program to a parent or family member and have the family member respond to the following questions:

  • Logan's father worries about his son's future. What concerns do you have regarding my future?
  • Logan's father worries that their old ways of surviving are being forgotten, and he wants to teach Logan about his land before what he knows is lost. What would you like me to know about how life was when you were my age?
  • Logan's father wants to impart wisdom that he feels his son will need to survive. What skills do you think I will need to survive in this world?
  • Logan's father talks about the importance of finding your identity. What kinds of things do you think would help me find my identity?

    2. Ask students to answer the following questions based on the answers to the questions.

  • What was the most surprising answer you received?
  • Do you disagree with any of the responses? Explain your answer.
  • Did you find this assignment helpful? Explain your answer.

    Teacher note: See organizer for this activity.

    Extension Activity

    In the early 1900s, Knud Rasmussen recorded this poem composed by Uvavnuk, an Igloolik Inuit. Through the years, this poem has haunted and inspired many people with its beauty. Have students create a piece of art in response to the poem. This might include a drawing, photograph, sculpture, collage, dance movement, a musical score, etc.

    The Great Sea has set me
    in motion
    Set me adrift
    And I move as a weed in
    the river.
    The arch of sky
    And mightiness of storms
    Encompasses me,
    And I am left
    Trembling with joy.


    The following link will open a new window. Each new window will contain a Student Organizer or Activity sheet for you to print out. Close the new window to return to this page.

    Family Member Questions  
    Quotation Organizer  

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