Students get some serious “hands on” learning about living off the land
Hunting and trapping is still a common way of life in America’s “last frontier,” but it’s not usually included in public school curriculum.
Alaska high school teacher Brian Mason isn’t your average teacher. He recently came rolling into class with a dead moose in the back of his truck that he shot and killed himself.
He had his 30 students help him unload his kill, gave them each a four-inch boning knife, and taught them to de-bone, trim and process the meat properly.
“You can learn certainly about anatomy from diagrams and textbooks and videos but getting your hands on an animal is a big part of the science aspect of it,” Mason told the Anchorage Daily News.
Not only did the students get to see the animal’s anatomy, but they also got to appreciate the local tradition of hunting and trapping, a way of life that supported Alaska’s indigenous people for centuries.
Mason got a special harvesting permit from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which gave him permission to process the animal for educational purposes.
Chugiak High School, where Mason teaches, offers a program called World Discovery Seminar, which sponsors activities like these and other real-world, hand-on learning experiences.