Yukon Archives Alaska Highway Curriculum Project Introduction

Alaska Highway Curriculum Project Introduction (~ 23Kb pdf file)

There are numerous stories and events in the Yukon’s history that can be explored by students from the Yukon and across Canada. The construction of the Alaska Highway is one of these fascinating tales, rich in adventure, drama and curiosity, set within the backdrop of the rugged and wild Yukon wilderness. The lessons contained within this exhibit are but a sample of what is possible in bringing this story to life within the classroom. Teachers are encouraged to first browse through all five lessons before choosing which lessons would best suit their curriculum needs.

The story of the Alaska Highway begins with a glimpse of what early travel in the Yukon was like, before and after the Klondike Gold Rush. The construction of the highway, as part of a WWII military strategy, changed the lives of Yukoners and the landscape forever. Both the records of the eight grueling months of highway construction and the tales of the challenges faced by those involved will fascinate students and pique their interest in this slice of Yukon’s history. The stories behind the Northwest Staging Route and the Canol (Canadian American Norman Oil Line) project are also a significant part of this era, and are included as part of this exhibit and as part of these lessons.

Recommended Grade and Subject

Teachers in the Yukon and British Columbia will find the five lessons are best suited for Social Studies 11 and/or First Nations Studies 12. Other provinces or territories may wish to include these lessons as part of a unit on the Yukon’s history and/or WWII. Any senior secondary English teacher may also wish to include these lessons as part of an English unit involving journal writing, journalism, story telling, etc.

Prescribed Learning Outcomes (PLO’s)

(based on the British Columbia/Yukon curriculum as outlined in the Integrated Resource Packages)

The following PLO’s correlate with the 5 lessons presented in this exhibit.

Social Studies 11

Skill and Processes of Social Studies

  • Apply critical thinking including questioning, comparing, summarizing, drawing conclusions, and defending a position to make reasoned judgments about a range of issues, situations, and topics
  • Demonstrate effective written, oral and graphic communication skills

Autonomy and International Involvement

  • Assess Canada’s role in World War II and the war’s impact on Canada

BC/Yukon First Nations 12

Skills and Processes

  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically, including the ability to: gather relevant information from appropriate sources, recognize cause and effect relationships and the implications of events
  • Demonstrate appropriate research and oral and written presentation skills, including the ability to: access and interpret material from a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, including print sources, electronic sources, and First Nations oral traditions, present in oral and written form

The full-text version of the PLO’s can be found at:

Lesson Design

Each lesson is designed to engage and challenge students through hands-on activities. It is hoped that teachers will pick and choose which lessons best suit their students, and make adaptations where necessary.

Each lesson includes:

  1. A Warm-Up activity, designed to stimulate interest in the topic.
  2. The Main Activity, which includes an examination of the text and photos, followed by a hands-on activity. These activities will encourage students to consider such things as what life was like during the period of construction of the Alaska Highway and what impacts the new highway had on the local people.
  3. The Wrap-Up activity will help to summarize what students have learned and encourage final reflections on each topic.
  4. Extension Ideas offer suggestions for further research and exploration into the topic.
  5. Assessment Ideas are designed only as samples of how to assess students’ performance on each activity.
  6. B.L.M.’s (Black Line Masters) are included in all of the lessons to assist teachers in preparing the activities. They are designed as samples only, and teachers are encouraged to edit these in any way to suit their individual classroom needs.

Primary Resources

Teachers might wish to first review with students what primary resources are. A brainstorming session on what primary resources have already been used in their class might be useful. It is recommended that teachers stress the significance of primary resources and how fortunate we are to have to have such vital links to the Yukon’s past.