The Fish Weir: A Culturally Relevant STEM Activity

Anne Kern, Melinda Howard, Aimee Navickis-Brasch, Fritz Fiedler, Jillian Cadwell
2015 Science Scope  
The Fish Weir Engineering Challenge described in this article provides one example of how cultural and historical STEM practices can be integrated into science and engineering lessons for Native American students. Although we discuss this lesson in specific context to Native American students, it can be adapted to meet other cultures or curricular goals. Fish weirs are an ancient technology used around the globe for centuries in places including Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. These traps
more » ... ast. These traps were built from rocks, pilings, or wooden posts that are designed to direct the movement of fish in streams or tidal waters. While all fish weirs maintain the goal of directing and trapping fish, they are specifically designed to meet the unique conditions of their landscape and water bodies and the biology of the fish they catch. Furthermore, fish weirs are still being used today for scientific monitoring or, in some cases, for illegal fish harvests (Jha 2013). The Fish Weir Challenge activity allows students to explore how tribal communities (as S u m m e r 2015 Fish weir designed and built by students and community FIGURE 8 PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS
doi:10.2505/4/ss15_038_09_45 fatcat:u2o7hq6bobccrewyffe3xmbkpi