Teacher's Guide

Russia’s Colony: Examining the Effects of Russian Colonization

Enduring Understandings

Beginning in the 15th century, western European countries developed new attitudes and technologies to sail to lands unknown to them, which they explored and mapped, and from which they took resources. Europeans viewed Natives as inferior, and did not honor their rights or sovereignty.

Russians and other Europeans gathered scientific and geographic information about Alaska.

Exploiting Alaska’s resources led to creation of a Russian monopoly company. Russians were dependent on Native Alaskans for labor, supplies and other necessities.

The Russian Orthodox mission in Alaska helped to defend Alaska Native rights and established schools and orphanages.

Russia sold its American colony because it was becoming unprofitable and was impossible to defend.

Estimated Time:

Five class periods

Materials needed:

Access to Russia’s Colony unit

Lesson Plan:

  1. Have students read the narrative on Russia’s Colony.
  2. Have students chart their notes on Russian colonization in terms of
    • Incentives
    • Process
    • Impacts
    • Legacy
  3. Students will respond to the question: How did Russian colonization effect Alaska’s history? They will look at environmental, cultural, economic, social and political impacts.
  4. Some of the products students may wish to explore might be: radio theater, journals, Power Point, drama, or some other creative activity.

Alaska Standards:

Culture: B, E
History: A, B, C, D
Geography: B, D
AK History: AH. PPE 3, AH. CPD 1, AH. ICGP 2, AH CC


  Exceeds Meets In Progress Not Started
Content Body of work shows a rich understanding of Russian influence in terms of Alaska’s history. Incentives to colonize, the process, impacts and legacy from colonizing are clearly addressed. Work shows an understanding of effects of Russian colonization on Alaskan history. Work shows minimal understanding of Russian impact on Alaska. No notes have been written on the Russian period.
Resources A deep understanding reflects the high level of research done. Resources are cited. Understanding of the topic is reflected in the work. Resources are cited. Work reflects minimal research. Citations are either non-existent or cited poorly. There is no indication of research having been done.
Presentation A creative, deep commitment is obvious in the presentation. The audience is entranced. The presentation is well organized and easy to follow. It engages the audience. The presentation is vague and poorly organized. Student does not take part in a presentation.