Funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant for 12 years, ANSWER Camp (Alaska Native Student Enrichment Retreat) blended Native learning styles and traditional activities with middle school math and science curricula to improve student achievement.
ANSWER Camp made math and science instruction more meaningful for the students by linking traditional Alaska Native values to western scientific principles. The program helped prepare middle school students from rural Alaska to enter high school, and it helped make science and math come alive for the students as they learned how even traditional cultural activities such as preserving subsistence foods are affected by science and math. ANSWER Camp has helped steer many students toward science and health careers later in life.
From 1998 to 2010, ANSWER Camp served more than 2,400 Alaska Native students from more than 160 communities.
ANSWER Camp students stayed in residential facilities in communities around Alaska for the intensive science, math and cultural exploration. ANSWER Camp was free to the students lucky enough to be selected for the program each year.
In addition to the math, science and cultural experiences, SERRC added targeted language arts instruction to ANSWER Camp’s curriculum from 2008-2010, and opportunities for educators to pursue professional development opportunities while working at camp.
ANSWER Camp Results
Check out this profile of an impressive former ANSWER Camp student!
With its rigorous standards-based curriculum and project-oriented activities, studies show that ANSWER Camp participants increase their academic scores by an average of 30% on targeted skills.
Plus, 85% of surveyed students reported that they would like to pursue careers in the math and science fields.
In 2009, the last year of the grant, 89% of participants improved their math skills, 55% improved reading, 100% improved vocabulary.
Interestingly, the number of students who were very happy hearing about their culture and ancestors increased by nearly 20%.