Science of Sled Dogs


Our class participates in the eIditarod every year. It gives us a chance to learn about a world that most of us don’t have much experience with, the world of sled dog racing in Alaska. Although the Iditarod doesn’t happen until the spring, we have been reading a little bit about dogs and their environment to prepare for the project.

We read that the rangers at Denali National Park in Alaska actually use sled dogs for transportation in the winter. A large part of the park is protected and closed to motorized vehicles. Dog sleds are the only form of transportation that are allowed. We wanted to find out more about the dogs that live at Denali.

Sometimes the best way to find out information is to ask an expert! On Thursday we Skyped with Ranger Rachel, a park ranger at Denali. She taught us all about the sled dogs that live there and the adaptations they have that make it possible for them to live in the subarctic environment.

After the Skype session we all wrote about something we learned and posted it on our Exit Ticket board. Here’s what some of us wrote:

  • The dogs have tough paws to protect from cuts and scrapes.
  • There is extra fat in a sled dog’s paw.
  • They have two kinds of fur: an inner fur to keep them warm and an outer fur to keep them dry.
  • A dog curls up and puts his tail over his nose to keep warm at night.
  • Panting helps them cool off after a long run.
  • There is bristly fur between the pads on their paws to keep snow out.
  • The dogs have a special blood flow that helps them stay warm.
  • The dogs try to avoid other wildlife.
  • The dogs eat extra fat at as a snack for energy.
  • The dogs in Denali live in dog houses that look like mini log cabins.
  • You can visit the dogs in the summer.
  • When they train a puppy they put him with an older dog so the older dog can teach him.
  • Yesterday at Denali the temperature was 37 degrees below zero!
We learned so much during our Skype session! Thank you, Ranger Rachel!

Here are some pictures of our Skype session.

Try our video maker at Animoto.

Have you ever been to Alaska?

What adaptations do you think Arizona animals might need?


  1. Hello boys and girls in Mrs. Hamman’s class. I am a grade 2 teacher in a small school near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My class has just begun to blog and I am doing some research to see what kinds of things other classes are blogging about. I love your post about asking an expert. What a great way to find out more information about a topic. Thanks for sharing your learning with me.
    From Mrs. Leavell

  2. I remember that she said that it was really cold there when it was hot over here. I wonder when it is cold over here it is really really cold over there!

  3. The sled dog Skype was cool! Before we skyped, we made a sled dog team. I was a swing dog. Zoey was my partner. I can’t wait to do it again!

  4. I think that it is cool that Denali rangers skyped with us.

  5. It’s fun when I did the snow globe project and doing the snowflake.

  6. Mrs.Hamman mad science day was cool. Thanks for letting us do it that day.

  7. I really wish that I lived somewhere snowy.I want a husky when I grow up.

  8. Science of sled dogs was very fun.

  9. It must have been really fun to learn about sled dogs. I studied red kangaroos recently. One thing I learned is that they are one of the most popular kangaroos.

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