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Adventure to Alaska

What would it be like to take a trip to Alaska in the coldest, darkest months? Create a virtual tour of the "Land of the Midnight Sun."

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Alaska is the largest state in the United States, about 2.3 times the size of Texas and about one-fifth the size of all of the contiguous 48 states. As the northernmost state, Alaska boasts great views of the Northern Lights, more active glaciers than the rest of the inhabited world, 29 volcanoes, 33,000 miles of coastline, and Mount Denali, the tallest mountain in North America.
    2. Students research and gather more information about Alaska to help plan an imaginary expedition there. They should obtain travel information and maps. Have students choose their mode of transportation—by rail, river, sea, land, or even dogsled. Then decide where they want to go, what they want to do, who they will meet, and what they want to see! Design 2-D and 3-D items to represent their chosen Alaska attractions. These are just a few ideas to get them started.
    3. Students use Crayola Air-Dry Clay to sculpt a sounding whale or a glacier. Use craft sticks and other modeling tools to make realistic replicas. Air-dry the sculptures for at least 3 days.
    4. Mount the whale tail on folded, recycled cardboard with Crayola School Glue. Sketch the rest of the submerged whale on the horizontal section of cardboard with a Crayola Erasable Colored Pencil.
    5. Have students cover their art area with recycled newspaper. Paint the entire whale, including its 3-D tail, with Crayola Premier™ Tempera. Paint the sea and glacier backdrop. Add light-reflective details to the wet or dry paint by brushing and dabbing areas with Crayola Pearl It! and Glitter It! Tempera Mixing Mediums. Air-dry the paint.
    6. Students present details of their Adventure to Alaska to classmates, other students, or families at an open house.
  • Standards

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.

    LA: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    MATH: Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units.

    SCI: Decide what data are to be gathered, what tools are needed to do the gathering, and how measurements will be recorded.

    SCI: Use grade level appropriate understanding of mathematics and statistics in analyzing data.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Locate and distinguish among varying landforms and geographic features, such as mountains, plateaus, islands, and oceans.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

    VA: Identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum.

  • Adaptations

    Students can focus on Alaska's diverse wildlife by creating a virtual Arctic animal preserve. This can be done by investigating the location of the geographic region of arctic Alaska and researching the animals native to that area. Students create displays demonstrating how each animal's body features enable it to survive the cold, dark Alaskan winter.

    Students explore Alaska's indigenous and immigrant cultures. Obtain artifacts such as masks, carvings, and replicas of totems. Students use this investigation to re-create a totem for display. Students can write a summary of their findings and include information about how they built their totem.

    Students research an artist from Alaska. Write a essay which details this artist's life and inspirations for his/her artwork. Include in the writing how the artist's work reflects the Alaskan culture. Post this essay on a classroom bulletin board, accompanied by selections of the artist's work. This student presentation can also be preserved in electronic format.

    This study can be completed as a jigsaw activity. Student teams research facts about their chosen topic to study about Alaska. Teams submit one clue for an Alaska scavenger hunt. Each clue should lead to a specific display to find information that provides answers for the clue. Students compile all of the clues/answers as they explore all class presentations.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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