High School Students In Alaska Butchered A Moose Carcass To Learn Life Skills

High School Students In Alaska Butchered A Moose Carcass To Learn Life Skills

Around 30 students in Chugiak High School deboned, separated, ground, and packaged the animal during a World Discovery Seminar class.

Image Source: Getty Images/sturti (Representative)

High school students in Alaska received a hands-on lesson in anatomy, life skills, and Alaska cultural tradition through an unusual study source - the carcass of a moose. According to reports, around 30 students in Chugiak High School processed a cow moose during a World Discovery Seminar class. The process, which involved deboning, separating, grinding, and packaging the animal, was supposed to be an interactive lesson on moose anatomy and a way to learn the survival methods used by local indigenous people while hunting moose. The lessons imparted by their teacher Brian Mason who had killed the animal himself.



"What I try to emphasize — and the World Discovery Seminar program as a whole — is to emphasize experiential learning," he said of the practical method of learning. "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." His students used 4-inch knives to process about 91 kilograms of the carcass' meat, some of which was cooked and consumed for dinner, while the rest was donated to charity, reports CBC News.



Now the World Discovery Seminar is an alternative course for students at the Chugiak High School which has about 125 students and four teachers. "The program employs the Paideia methodology, a Socratic based learning/teaching technique focused on in-depth understanding of classic historical and literary documents. Discussion and written expression of ideas coming out of the seminar process are emphasized along with challenging projects, hands-on activities, and community involvement. Students work toward becoming multifaceted thinkers by examining and questioning real-world events: past, present, and future," reads the website. This means that the seminar program lays emphasis on experimental learning which was the same approach used by Mason when he delivered the butchered cow moose carcass in his pickup truck.



Mason has a special Cultural Educational Harvest Permit from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game that allows him to kill game animals, like the moose, for educational purposes. Apparently, these permits are not given out easily.  Tim Spivey of Alaska Fish and Game revealed that about 40 permits are issued every year mostly to schools and villages. While most of them are for moose, there are some for caribou, deer, black bears, and mountain goats. "We don’t just issue these Cultural Education Permits to anyone," said of Spivey of the strict conditions of this permit. It only allows Mason to shoot a specific type of moose. The ones which do not have antlers and are not a calf or a cow with a calf can be hunted. 



Mason had to undergo a lengthy process to hunt this animal which included submitting a report describing the animal and his hunt and within 30 days to the area management biologist for the Mat-Su area Tim Peltier. The age, sex, specific harvest location, and the identity of the person who shot the moose also had to be mentioned in the report. Another report detailing the cultural and educational activities involving the dead animals was also to be submitted after 30 days. Spivey further explained how this program was a way of allowing educators and elders to pass on the cultural traditions and practices related to the state's hunting and gathering. One student Ryley Edwards said that the program provides better insight into the subjects they study. "We do a lot of things that are more interactive than other classes," she said, adding, "It's more fun for learning stuff instead of just on paper."


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