Investigating a North Slope Ivrulik


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Investigating a North Slope IvrulikInvestigating a North Slope Ivrulik incorporates authentic archaeological and historical research paired with oral histories to teach students about the use and importance of the Ivrulik in the past and present lives of Iñupiaq people.

Discover the past through evidence from an archaeological site in Alaska! In this investigation students will use Alaska geography, history, and archaeology to learn about a North Slope Ivrulik (a sod house) and the Iñupiaq people who lived in them.

Examine an archaeological site near Barrow, Alaska. Your students will read an oral history from an Iñupiaq elder, analyze historic photographs, "uncover" a real archaeological site, and make a toggle harpoon!

Explore the use of traditional Iñupiaq architecture, and the benefits of using indigenous technology to solve problems today.

Includes texts by and about Alaska Natives
Supports Common Core State Standards
Incorporates authentic data for students to analyze
Culturally Responsive Curriculum

"I feel Project Archaeology curriculum is very rich and provides opportunities for real teaching. One of the things I like about Project Archaeology is the material is interesting and engaging. I am excited when I am teaching the lessons and the students are too." - 5th Grade Teacher, Craig, AK

Investigating a North Slope Ivrulik guide:

Instructions for the Teacher

The teacher’s document is 29 pages, consisting of background information, and four sections corresponding to the student notebook. It includes archaeologists’ interpretations of the Ivrulik site and details about the artifacts found. Quadrant maps and artifact cards from the archaeological site are provided for the students to study and use.

Student Archaeology Notebook

The student notebook is 39 pages of data collection sheets about a North Slope Ivrulik. It contains all of the data sources and analytical tools the students will need to investigate an ivrulik from historical, archaeological, and cultural perspectives. Mr. George Leavitt, an Iñupiat elder, guides students through the investigation. Through archaeology students analyze historic photographs, discover artifacts left behind, make a toggle harpoon, and infer how the geography of the North Slope of Alaska shaped the ivrulik.

BONUS! When you buy Investigating a North Slope Ivulik you will also receive the essential companion products: Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter and the professional development DVD.

  • sm-PRODUCT-IMAGESProject Archaeology: Investigating Shelter provides teachers and students with seven fundamental lessons on shelter and archaeology. With this pre-requisite, students are ready for Lesson Eight, an investigation of a shelter from the past, such as a North Slope Ivrulik. Finally, in Lesson Nine of Investigating Shelter students learn the enduring understanding that stewardship of archaeological sites and artifacts is everyone’s responsibility. Taught together, Investigating Shelter and “Investigating a North Slope Ivrulik” is a complete, comprehensive unit that truly allows for a deep understanding of shelter, archaeology, and the Iñupiaq culture. More information


  • Investigating Shelter DVD is a professional development experience for educators in lieu of attending a Project Archaeology workshop. Watch Project Archaeology lessons in action! See a professional development workshop and a teacher guiding a 4th grade class through Investigating Shelter. Instructors model Understanding by Design and archaeological inquiry. Plus, see interviews with teachers and students! The videos are also available on our Teacher Page.
    1. Introduction – Why archaeology matters
    2. Investigating Shelter and Understanding by Design
    3. Lesson Two: By Our Houses You Will Know Us
    4. Lesson Four: Observation, Inference, and Evidence
    5. Lesson Six: Context Game
    6. Lesson Eight: Being an Archaeologist