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Arctic Blast 2001

Education Curriculum & Lesson Plans

Online Classroom Dogsled Expedition

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"Weekly Topic & News" is posted here every Monday by 7 a.m. CST

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"The Weekly Topic and News" merges the expedition, educational goals, and the needs of teachers. It is the most important component of your online classroom expedition.

Start each week with an in-depth look at this page.

The topic of the week is emphasized with clearly presented, facts and information supplementing each unit of the curriculum package.

Information is also provided to help make real world connections, investigate personal values and discuss current issues.

Completing the circle, the weekly topic will also be highlighted from the Arctic Blast explorers.

Using the sights, sounds, and wilderness perspectives of the arctic facilitate meaningful and energized classes.

The Weekly Topic and News integrates the nationally accredited, K through 12, Nunavut curriculum package and the weekly reports from the expedition. This is where the adventure of collaborative learning really begins.


OK, here’s a challenge for you... Close your eyes and imagine something that you consider to be art. In your mind, walk up to the piece of artwork. Does it look different from farther away? Is it colorful? Is it plain? Is it somewhere in between? Does your art resemble something in the real world? Would it be possible for your art to be music? When you look at it, listen to it, or touch it, how do you feel? Try to describe your feelings.

Challenge number two. Now imagine an object that you use in your everyday life. Think about how you normally use that object. Make the object float in front of you. Using the power of your mind, turn the object around so you can see all of its sides. Is what you’re seeing art? How do you feel now?

Hopefully, your brain isn’t too tired because I have one last challenge for you. Oh yea, and your eyes need to be closed for this one, too! No cheating, please. Pretend that you are outside in a place where there are no cars, buildings, or other people. Take a few steps forward. Are your steps noisy? Is the ground soft or squishy? Do you see any animals? What do the plants look like around you? Imagine a breeze blowing and the warm sun on your face? How does this place make you feel? Could what you’re experiencing now be considered art?

Ask an artist to define “art” and you will most likely get a pause, a big sigh, and eventually a fairly lengthy response detailing the fact that it is next to impossible to create a definition. Now, I’m generalizing, of course, but it seems to me that most artists don’t like to be categorized. I suppose there is good reason, too. After all, what exactly is art? Is it just a painting or a sculpture? Or is it more?

I’ve heard some people say that art is actually a type of communication. It makes sense, if you think about it. For example, artists often make something to create a feeling or mood. They are not just painting to make a picture, but rather, to express a particular emotion. Part of the artist’s intent is that the viewer will hopefully experience part of that same feeling. Therefore, the relative “quality” of a particular piece of art varies from person to person. This is probably why art is so hard to define: we all feel, see, and think differently.

Historically, finding food, clothing, and shelter were tasks that consumed every minute of every day. Simple acts of survival were constant struggles. Despite innumerable hardships, people throughout time have tried to add art into their lives. Even the Inuit, who lived in one of the harshest livable environments in the world, found ways to add beauty into their everyday existence. Art is fascinating to me because of its universal and timeless qualities.

Inuit art has existed on a subtle level for hundreds of years. Their sculptures and carvings were a representation of everyday life. Often times, their art was only an addition to an everyday object. The handle of a knife or beadwork on clothing became a means of expression. The works represented the people, land, and animals in the artists’ lives. These objects often possessed a subtle beauty.

When the Inuit first came in contact with Europeans, they often traded carvings and figures for unique goods brought by these new and strange people. Today, Inuit art is a world wide phenomenon. Part of the reason is because of a young art school graduate who visited the Canadian arctic in 1948. James A. Hudson showed the Canadian government some small sculptures that he brought back from his arctic trip. He showed the benefits of creating a new market for this art form. With the help of the Hudson Bay Company and the government, an exhibit of Inuit work was presented by the Canadian Guild of Crafts in Montreal. Inuit art currently includes sculptures, prints, fabric arts, jewelry, and some ceramics.

The subtle path of a line across a paper, delicate curve of a blade of grass, an intricately designed parka... Art is different for different people.

To better understand the idea of “Art as an identity” check out the Collaboration Zone, Who Am I?

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