When Alaska joined the Union in 1959, it was the first new state in forty-seven years. And although it is the largest state, it has a relatively small population; only Wyoming has fewer people. Alaska's vast unspoiled wilderness is home to a huge assortment of wildlife including fur seals, musk oxen, brown bears, polar bears, caribou, elk and moose. Take virtual tour with the following sites.
The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage has a nice collection of animal fact pages, many created by elementary students from Willow Crest School. Visit the Birds and Native Species sections for pictures and vital statistics(such as habitat and behavior) on twenty-seven native Alaskan animals including otters, eagles, and moose. Best click is the Bear Cam, where you can watch Ahpun the polar bear and Oreo the brown bear play together.
The Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior may not sound very exciting, but don't judge them on their boring name. Their website is a wonderful collection of articles, printable games, and science experiments on the topics of crude oil (what it is and how it is drilled), whales, and volcanoes. Don't miss the photo gallery, and the five printable activities for lower elementary grades (found under "Just for Kids") including an Alaska crossword puzzle and an animal match game.
For state reports, you'll find all the stats you need (Alaska's state nickname is "The Last Frontier") on the Student Guide page. For further research, SLED for Kids (Statewide Library Electronic Doorway) has an extensive list of Alaskan site links. The Magnificent Moose Project, created by Mr. Ernst's sixth grade class at the Anne Wien School in Fairbanks, Alaska, is a fun romp and an excellent example of what kids can do online.
"Imagine watching a bald eagle close up. Or joining a puffin inside its burrow. Or plunging over rocky cliffs into the water to gaze at giant barnacles and other sea life. Now you can do all this and more virtually." Wild-Eyed Alaska is a collection of six videos created by remote-control cameras on Gull Island in Kachemak Bay. Kachemak Bay (about 200 miles south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula) is the largest of twenty-three sites in the U.S. National Estuarine Research Reserve System and the only one in Alaska.