Anchorage Museum
Dena'inaq' Huch'ulyeshi - The Dena'inaq Way of Living

Lesson Plans

Dena’ina Tools for Teachers offers classroom activity ideas on eight themes that formed the basis for the Anchorage Museum's exhibition about the Dena’ina people of Southcentral Alaska, Dena’inaq’ Huch’ulyeshi: The Dena’ina Way of Living.

The activities described here are closely correlated with Alaska’s state content standards in English/Language Arts and History, and with the Alaska Cultural Standards. The lessons invite students to examine both primary and secondary source materials in a variety of media to engage with concepts about human cultural patterns and change.

In addition to this website/DVD, teachers are encouraged to obtain a copy of the exhibition catalog, Dena’inaq’ Huch’ulyeshi: The Dena’ina Way of Living published by the University of Alaska Press, for the complete texts of the essays that are excerpted here, and for photographs of many objects that are not reproduced here. The catalog can be purchased at the Anchorage Museum Shop or online.

Standards Correlation

The learning activities are differentiated to be appropriate for grades 3 through 12. They are interdisciplinary but are concerned most heavily with the following Alaska English/Language Arts, History, and Cultural Standards:

Anchor Standards for Reading

  • Key Ideas and Details
    • Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
    • Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.


  • Content Standard A: A student should understand that history is a record of human experiences that links the past to the present and the future. A student who meets the content standard should:
    • Understand that history relies on the interpretation of evidence;
    • Know that history is a bridge to understanding groups of people and an individual’s relationship to society.
  • Content Standard C: A student should develop the skills and processes of historical inquiry. A student who meets the content standard should:
    • Use historical data from a variety of primary resources;
    • Apply thinking skills, including classifying, interpreting, analyzing, summarizing, synthesizing, and evaluating, to understand the historical record.

Alaska Cultural Standards

  • Cultural Standard B: Culturally knowledgeable students are able to build on the knowledge and skills of the local cultural community as a foundation from which to achieve personal and academic success throughout life. Students who meet this cultural standard are able to:
    • Acquire insights from other cultures without diminishing the integrity of their own.

Boys at Knik, Alaska, circa 1914. From left: John Stump, unidentified, McGinty Stephan, unidentified. Photo courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsc-02370.