About the Curriculum

The Tracking Change – Lesson Plans for NWT and Alberta Secondary Science Classrooms is based on extensive research with Indigenous peoples and local communities in the Mackenzie River Basin through Tracking Change. This research is intended to strengthen the voices of subsistence fisheries and Indigenous communities in governance, as well as to demonstrate how the rivers are socially, economically, culturally, and ecologically important to the place and people. 

It was important to local communities that the knowledge they shared as part of Tracking Change was passed on to young people. These lessons therefore bring research findings to life in inquiry-based lesson plans for youth in junior high and high school. The lesson plans were created to both meet curriculum outcomes and to share interesting aspects of the research done by local communities within the students’ own region. 

Why Indigenous knowledge?


Indigenous knowledge is key to understanding changes to the land. It has been developed over extensive periods of time through direct contact with the land, connecting knowledge of the land with people’s everyday lives. In Indigenous knowledge, ecological understanding intersects with culture, language, cosmology, history, and social life. Offering a holistic view of the land, Indigenous knowledge both overlaps with and goes beyond western science. It is a legitimate form of knowledge to be recognized within science classrooms as part of the curriculum’s Aboriginal focus.


For teachers who are unfamiliar with Indigenous knowledge, our teacher resources provide a helpful introduction that will get you started.

Curriculum Development Team

The work of pulling the community research findings into twelve lesson plans was done by three amazing women who have been involved in the Tracking Change project for several years.  Special thanks to Carrie, Makenzie and Alexandria for all of their hard work.  Carrie, Makenzie and Alex would like to give a special thanks to their student reviewer, Ryan Schaefer, and teacher reviewer, Nashra Kamal, for the time they took to read through all of the lesson plans, provide helpful feedback, and ensure that the plans are relevant for students and teachers in the Mackenzie River Basin.

Alexandria Catholique

BA Student

Alexandria Catholique is a member of the Lutsel k’e Dene First Nation. Born and raised in the north, she is currently in the process of completing her Bachelor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Brought into this project by Brenda Parlee a professor from the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences/University of Alberta and associated with the progress done by Tracking Change, Alexandria brings her views as a northerner into the work done for this project. 

Amabel (Abby) D’Souza

Research Assistant

Abby is a former graduate student of Dr. Brenda Parlee, completing her MSc in Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology in January 2019. She has worked in the international context, having conducted research in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand and the surrounding areas. She is providing social media management, newsletters, InDesign/website editing, research, editing and other various supports to the project.

Carrie Karsgaard

Doctoral Student in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta

Carrie Karsgaard is a Doctoral Candidate in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta, specializing in Theoretical, Cultural, and International Studies in Education. Using the Trans Mountain pipeline controversy as a case study, her doctoral research uses the large-scale data available on Instagram to trace and analyze how publics reinforce, reject, and/or destabilize settler colonialism as they leverage platform affordances to engage with the pipeline issue. In her work with Tracking Change, she has coordinated the Youth Knowledge Fair and supported young people from the Mackenzie River Basin to speak at events associated with the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP24). 

Makenzie Mackay

M.Sc. Graduate in Risk and Community Resilience at the University of Alberta

Makenzie MacKay completed her Master of Science in Risk and Community Resilience through the University of Alberta’s Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology. Her thesis explored the importance of Indigenous peoples in climate change and energy governance. Makenzie had the great opportunity to work with Inuvialuit peoples in Inuvik, NT and Tuktoyaktuk, NT to investigate energy systems that are meaningful for the people that live there. She also researched the benefits of Indigenous youth participation in climate action related to the Tracking Change trip to COP24.


Supervisor:  Dr. Brenda Parlee