Teacher's Guide

A Constitution for Alaska

Enduring Understandings

The campaign to win statehood for Alaska was the dominant political issue in the 1940s and 1950s.
Alaskans wrote the constitution for the state of Alaska before statehood was approved, hoping that it would show they were ready to join the Union.


Estimated Time:

Two class periods

Materials needed:


  • Governing Alaska unit, The Campaign for Statehood and The Constitutional Convention.
  • Biography of Ernest Gruening

Lesson Plan:

  • Have students read sections cited above from the Governing Alaska unit and the biography of Ernest Gruening.
  • Have students read Gruening's speech "Let Us Now End American Colonialism."
  • Discuss what factors made Alaskans push for statehood.
  • Have students view A Constitution for Alaska(26 minutes-presented in shortened segments) using the Viewing Guide as they watch the video.
  • Discuss the film.

Alaska Standards:

History: A, B, C, D
Government: A, C
Alaska History: AH. ICGP 4, AH. ICGP 12, AH. CC 6


  Exceeds Meets In Progress Not Started
Content/Viewing Guide Reflections show a rich understanding of the development of the constitution and attention to the details of the constitutional convention issues, people and process.. Viewing guide contains some reflections gleaned from the video and a general understanding of the topic. Work shows minimal understanding of Russian impact on Alaska. Viewing guide has not been used.
Discussion Student actively participates in an analysis of Gruening's speech and the Constitutional video. Resources are cited in the discussion.. Student participates in class discussion. Student is involved in class discussion to a limited extent. Student does not participate in class discussion.