Blinded by the Light

Although I’ve been in Alaska for a short 72 hours, I already have so many memories that I will cherish forever.  Saturday night, I had the opportunity to meet the other two finalists, Kelly and Mary Lynn.  We enjoyed dinner together and had the opportunity to form a friendship that I know will last a lifetime. 

After a fun day in downtown Anchorage on Sunday, we got to spend the evening with Sara Lamont, a kindergarten teacher in the Mat-Su Borough School District here in Alaska.  Sara is a never ending box of knowledge when it comes to all things Alaska.  We were headed to the Alaska Zoo to see the zoo lights, but since we were running early, we got to do a little exploring.

Sara took us on a scenic drive up Anchorage’s hillside so that we could enjoy the view from above.  As we drove up the snow covered roads, Sara the moose whisperer, spotted a moose on the side of the road.  Of course, we stopped to take a few photos.  Off in the distance, another moose appeared, likely to protect her young.

We continued our ascent up the hillside for a stunning view of the city of Anchorage and the Cook Inlet.  It was an image that will be forever ingrained in my brain.  We were there just as the sun was setting, so the glow of the oranges, pinks, purples and blues made the view even more breathtaking.

Once we all had our fill of photos, we set off to our intended destination, The Alaska Zoo.  The Alaska Zoo makes it their mission to take care of injured and orphaned wildlife and is the only zoo in Alaska.  Every year, the zoo hosts a Zoo Lights event, where they have light displays scattered throughout the zoo to enjoy, while also visiting with the animals who call the zoo home.

There was a magical feeling as we meandered down the paths, through tunnels of lights, looking at the displays and the animal exhibits.  The light displays were colorful and bright and featured many of the animals living in the zoo, along with some displays that were pure Alaska.   

Many of the animals were very inactive, due to the fact that it was cold and dark.  But, there were a few animals that grabbed our attention and kept us occupied for quite a while.  The first animals we encountered were the harbor seals.  They were enjoying the cold water and temperatures, swimming up, down, and all around their water playground.  They moved so fast, it was hard to get a good picture!

The gray wolves captured our attention for a long time.  We stood there, in silence, watching them sneak around the pitch black in a stealth like manner, as if they were sneaking up to pounce on their prey.  They carried themselves with such dignity, and their strength and power was silently communicated to all creatures, big and small.  As I stood in awe, I remember thinking about how much peace they brought to my heart, even though they are an animal that is feared by so many.

The big cats were also very entertaining.  We first got to visit with the Amur tigers.  There were two brothers, one of which I nicknamed Tony.  When we first arrived at the exhibit, the brothers were behaving nicely, lounging around their enclosure.  Just as brothers do, they got into a small squabble, but shortly made up and went back to relaxing.  They were massive in size and were so majestic, strutting around like kings. 

Next up were the snow leopards.  The zoo has a male and a female snow leopard, who share the same enclosure but are separated by a fenced wall.  As we stood observing the snow leopards, it was easy to see that they were interacting with each other, trying to determine the most dominant of the pair.  As we were across the zoo at another exhibit, they began screaming at each other at the top of their lungs.  It sounded like a real cat fight!

Aside from the animals mentioned above, we saw and/or read about many other animals that call Alaska home.  There were musk ox, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, porcupines, bears, arctic fox, bald eagles, and black tailed deer.

As we made our way through the zoo, my mind was spinning with ideas of how I could inspire learning in the classroom.  Check out the following math problems and daily oral language practice that was based on my visit to the zoo and of course, the Iditarod race.

Learning with Mrs. Lange

Math: Kindergarten

You are visiting a reindeer farm.  You are feeding 3 reindeer when 4 more reindeer come to get food.  How many total reindeer are there now?

3 + 4 = 7 reindeer

There are 10 mushers at the Rainy Pass checkpoint. If 2 mushers head out to their next checkpoint, how many mushers are left?

10 – 2 = 8 mushers

Math: 3rd Grade

There is a pack of wolves wandering around the woods looking for dinner.  If there are 40 wolves in the pack, how many total wolf legs are there?

40 x 4 = 160 wolf legs

A dog musher is doing a practice run for the Iditarod.  There are 20 dogs on his dog team.  Each dog is wearing 4 booties to protect their paws.  How many total dog booties are the dogs wearing?

20 x 4 = 80 dog booties

Math: 7th Grade

You are responsible for the well-being of the K-9 critters at the Alaska Zoo.  You have noticed that one of your females has been losing weight over the past several months.  You have already started an isolated feeding regimen, and you are beginning to suspect that the amount of meat that you are providing may be the issue.

First, you must find out what percentage of weight loss your animal is experiencing per month.  Then, you must find out how much meat to add to her daily feedings.  We would like to increase her daily meat intake proportionately to her weight loss.  Use the information below to first calculate her weight loss per month, and then find the right amount to supplement her feedings:

April 2018 weight-        102 lbs.

February 2019 weight-   85 lbs.

Daily meat at feeding-    10 lbs.

102 – 85 = 17 lbs.

Percentage is .167/10 months= .0167

10lbs*.0167 monthly% =  .167

.167 lbs to be added to 10 lbs/day = 10.167 need feed weight

10.167 lbs/day

Math: High School Geometry

Photo from Wikipedia

Use the picture of the Amur tiger above to answer the following problems about geometry definitions.

The black belly stripes are _____________ to the snow on the ground.

The black stripes on the tail are ___________ to the white lines.

If the tail stripe identified by the arrow only traveled half way around the tail, it would be described as a _______________.

Draw a few black belly stipes perpendicular to the ones on the animal.

Draw 2 posts, one in the front and one behind the tiger parallel to each other.

Now, draw four lines connecting the two posts that you just drew.  They will be parallel to the ground

Hint:  If you drew your lines correctly, you will now be safe from your tiger.

1. perpendicular

2. parallel

3. circular arc

Daily Oral Language: 2nd Grade

Use editing marks to correct the sentences.  Write the sentences correctly.

the tiger lives at the zoo

(Correct:  The tiger lives at the zoo.)

can we get a sled dog

(Correct:  Can we get a sled dog?)

Daily Oral Language: 4th Grade

Use editing marks to correct the paragraph.

male moose are called bulls and females are cows there young are called calves a brown large moose can live four 14 years in captivity and 16 years in the wilde

(Correct:  Male moose are called bulls, and females are cows.  Their young are called calves.  A large, brown moose can live for 14 years in captivity and 16 years in the wild.)

cindy abbott is racing a dog team in the 2019 iditarod she had finished the iditarod too times.  she won the red lantern award in both races

(Correct:  Cindy Abbott is racing a dog team in the 2019 Iditarod.  She has finished the Iditarod two times.  She won the Red Lantern Award in both races.)

Daily Oral Language: 6th Grade

Use editing marks to correct the paragraph.

are you gonna feed the sea otters the students asked the zookeeper hour teacher taught us that see otters eat fishes, crustaceans, and endsects we read a book by ourself that stated see otters also eat mamals and birds

(Correct:  “Are you going to feed the sea otters?” the students asked the zookeeper.  “Our teacher taught us that sea otters eat fish, crustaceans, and insects.  We read a book by ourselves that stated sea otters also eat mammals and birds.)

did you know that  sled dogs that race in the iditarod wear booties to protect their paws.  these dog booties protekt there pause from ice and snow musher’s go thru thousands of dog booties in each race cause they want to take care of there athleets

(Correct:  Did you know that sled dogs who race in the Iditarod wear dog booties to protect their paws?  These dog booties protect their paws from ice and snow.  Mushers go through thousands of dog booties in each race because they want to take care of their athletes.)

Daily Oral Language: 8th Grade

anna asked witch of the bears has a bigger paw the brown bear or the poler bear  trey replied a polar bears paw is slightly larger then a brown bare paw regardless of which bear has the larger paw I hope I never see one up close

(Correct:  Anna asked, “Which of the bears has a bigger paw, the brown bear or the polar bear?”  Trey replied, “A polar bear’s paw is slightly larger than a brown bear paw.  Regardless of which bear has the larger paw, I hope I never see one up close!”)

last year we went to the iditarod cause we wanted to see our favorite musher brett bruggeman  brett a musher from montana was a rookie in the 2018 race  we are gonna go back to the race this year to cheer for brett along with his amazing dog team

(Correct:  Last year, we went to the Iditarod because we wanted to see our favorite musher, Brett Bruggeman.  Brett, a musher from Montana, was a rookie in the 2018 race.  We are going back to the race this year to cheer for Brett, along with his amazing dog team.)