A Magical Evening!

My Alaskan journey has begun! It feels like I have been waiting a lifetime for this adventure and there was no better way for it to start than a fantastic field trip to explore the Alaska Zoo’s Zoo Lights.

The evening began with a stop at the Hillside section of Anchorage.  The views were breathtaking! Clear skies and a sunset view over Anchorage, the Cook Inlet, and Mt. Susitna “The Sleeping Lady.” While taking in these views, we learned of the legend of “The Sleeping Lady.”  The legend says that long ago there lived a tribe of Gentle Giant people on this land, a peaceful group that lived in harmony. Two Gentle Giant people who loved each other dearly were Nekatla and Susitna. One day they were given news that a fierce and warlike tribe would attack. Nekatla and all the men in the tribe went to convince this warlike tribe to live in peace and harmony.  Susitna waited in the same spot where Nekatla left, hoping for his return. She soon fell asleep in that very spot, the place she still lies today. As she slept, news came back to the village that Nekatla was dead. The others in the village prayed for Susitna to stay asleep, as to not feel the pain of losing Nekatla, and she remains sleeping to this day. She is forever a symbol of peace and harmony.  A beautiful story with a beautiful view!

The magic of the night continued as we made our way to the Alaska Zoo for an evening of Zoo Lights.  Thousands of mini lights decorated the zoo, creating tunnels, paths, animals, and even a musher. It gave us a magical ambiance as we visited the many animals.

We began our visit with the harbor seals, which swam and spun effortlessly through their habitat.  Harbor seals are quite amazing. I learned that they could dive to 600 feet and stay underwater for 25 minutes! The Pacific Harbor Seals can be found in Alaska all year long!

We next made our way to the polar bears, who were, unfortunately, sleeping in their dens.  Alaska is the only state in the US that has three species of bears, black bear, brown bear, and the polar bear.  It was interesting to see the difference between these bears, especially the paw prints! In Connecticut, we have only black bear, tiny in size compared to the polar and grizzly bear.

A favorite stop for me was the gray wolf habitat.  Five wolves are living in the Alaska Zoo, a relocated pack of siblings from a den in the McGrath area.  They were active last night, wandering stealthily through their enclosure. Interestingly, males weigh up to 145 pounds and eat between 10 and 16 pounds of meat a day.  The gray wolf can live 12-13 years in the wild and almost 19 years in captivity. These siblings were beautiful!

We saw many more animals during our visit; each one taught me something new and exciting! As we made our way out of the Zoo, we could hear the far-off cries of the snow leopards screeching through the night.  It was a perfect way to end a perfect night!

As part of our challenge for the evening, we were to develop math problems and DOL’s for various grade levels based on our experience at the zoo and applying them to the Iditarod.

Math Problems

GradesApplied to the Alaska ZooApplied to the Iditarod
Kindergarten CCSS K.OA.A.2The zookeeper fed Sam and Milo, the harbor seals, fish for dinner.  Sam ate 5 fish and Milo ate 4. How many fish did they eat in all?

 5 fish + 4 fish = 9 fish
The Iditarod musher was putting 10 dogs into their harnesses. The musher has already harnessed 3 dogs, how many more dogs need to be harnessed?

10 dogs – 3 dogs = 7 dogs  
Third Grade CCSS 3.NBT.A.3If there are 20 quadrupeds (animals with four feet) at the Alaska Zoo who all need their feet cleaned. How many feet need cleaning?

20 quadrupeds x 4 feet =80 feet
The Iditarod mushers are ALL replacing the footboards on their sleds before the race starts.  Each sled has 2 footboards and there are 60 mushers. How many foot boards need replacing?

2 footboards x 60 mushers =120 footboards
Seventh Grade CCSS 7.EE.B.3There are about 25,000 polar bears worldwide.  Of the total population, 15,000 polar bears can be found in Canada. What percentage of the total population is found in Canada? If the population in Canada decreased by 15% how many polar bears would be left?

Part 1(Canadian population/total population) x 100= (15,000/25,000)x 100= 60% of polar bears live in Canada
Part 2 15,000 x.15= 2,250
15,000-2,250= 12,750 polar bears left in Canada
The Iditarod is 998 miles long this year.  If a musher has finished 2/3 of the trail, how many miles has the musher traveled? How many more miles does the musher need to travel to finish the Iditarod? Use both whole numbers and fraction in your answers.

998 x 2/3 =665 1/3 miles traveled 998-665 1/3= 332 2/3 miles left
High School CCSS HSG.MG.A.1Using the three-dimensional geometric shapes, build a polar bear. Using the area of each shape, determine the total surface area of the polar bear. Challenge yourself to also find the volume.Using three-dimensional geometric shapes, design and build a sled for the Iditarod.  Using the area of each shape what would the total surface area of the sled?Answers vary based on the final sled built and the materials used.

GradeApplied to the Alaska ZooApplied to the Iditarod
Second Grade CCSS Literacy.W.2.5Rewrite the following sentence correctly.

i am sew excited too sea the snow leopards shouted kelly

“I am so excited to see the snow leopards!” shouted Kelly.
Rewrite the following sentence correctly.

the mushers dog ran quick along the trale

The musher’s dog ran quickly along the trail.
Fourth Grade CCSS Literacy.W.4.5Rewrite the following paragraph correct.

Yesterday I go two the zoo and saw too snow leopard  them was long brown and spotted. Won of them were pacing in him habitat.  As i goed i herd there scream echo threw the zoo

Yesterday, I went to the zoo and saw two snow leopards. They were long, brown, and spotted.  One of them was pacing in his habitat. As I left, I heard their screams echo through the zoo.  
Rewrite the following paragraph correct.

The mushers is currently at shaktoolik. When them left this checkpoint they hed north for a short time then owt over Norton bay. There is no hills, just flat ice  It are uncommon four winds to blow less than 30 mph on Norton bay. This part of the trale is truly won of the colder.

The mushers are currently at Shaktoolik. When they leave this checkpoint, they head north for a short time then out over Norton Bay. There are no hills, just flat ice!   It is uncommon for the winds to blow less than 30 mph on Norton Bay. This part of the trail is truly one of the coldest.
Sixth Grade CCSS Literacy.W.6.5Rewrite the following paragraph correct.

Lets hurry and goed to the alaska zoo kelly shout as she runned for the car. I wanted too see the polar bears! We doesn’t have to rush kelly,” Sara laughed. Them polar bears arent not going anywhere we will sea thems”the group made there way to the car and excite begun there trip to the zoo when they arrive kelly quick headed to the polar bear habitat only to be disappointed. Them polar bears where not out

 “Let’s hurry and get to the Alaska Zoo!” Kelly shouted as she ran for the car.  “I want to see the polar bears!”   “We don’t have to rush Kelly,” Sara laughed. “The polar bears are not going anywhere; we will see them.”The group made their way to the car and excitedly began their trip to the zoo.  When they arrived, Kelly quickly headed to the polar bear habitat, only to be disappointed.  The polar bears were not out.
Rewrite the following paragraph correct.

As i flew into shaktoolik earlier my attention were immediate draw to the brighly color homes along the only road that run threw town. the purples blues and greens bring a smile to me face. It is truly beaeutifull. I have the great opportunity of visitng paul f asicksik sr school home of the Wolverines. That K-12 school howes about 90 student and 10 teacher. Everyone is excit and cant wait for the mushers to arrive

As I flew in to Shaktoolik earlier, my attention was immediately drawn to the brightly colored homes along the only road that runs through town. The purples, blues, and greens brought a smile to my face.  It was truly beautiful! I had the great opportunity of visiting Paul F. Asicksik Sr. School, home of the Wolverines. This K-12 school houses about 90 students and 10 teachers. Everyone is excited and can’t wait for the mushers to arrive!