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!
Here are some pictures of our Skype session.
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Have you ever been to Alaska?
What adaptations do you think Arizona animals might need?