I Just Can’t Wait !!!

This month I have extended some of my previous themes.  As we get closer to the start of the Iditarod and get more excited I keep thinking about the amazing sled dog!    I have included this month another Math Vignette for January, along with a lesson on Gait Patterns for young and old alike.  I have also included an activity in nutrition, something that the sled dog is the absolute master of.  Universities all over the world study the sled dogs metabolism as a link to an amazing secret.

A sled dog is a “back to back” marathon runner.  His metabolism and diet has to be extremely efficient and obviously plentiful to allow him to do his job to the best of his ability.  A human marathoner must consume 3500 to 5000 calories a day while training or actually running the marathon and up to 25%, preferably 15% fat and 60% carbohydrates with plenty of water to maintain good hydration, which is also important for sled dogs.

A sled dog running the Iditarod needs to consume around 12,000 calories a day through multiple feedings high in protein and fat, in fact, about 60% fat.  They are the ultimate marathoners.

In Comparison – What do you consume?  For the duration of the race track your own food intake.  Track total calories and percentages of carbohydrates, protein and fat.  Feel free to use the chart below.

Another project that is just plain fun – is to imagine that a person consumed 12,000 calories in a day at a rate of 60% fat, what would they have to eat. Look at fast food menus and the like to compare.  Obviously there are several answers and those answers will demonstrate the differences in metabolism between sled dogs and the average American.  It may also provide quite a laugh if you imagine yourself eating ALL that in one day.

By the time I post for you the next time, I will be in Alaska preparing for the greatest adventure of a lifetime.  Come with me and stay connected as I follow those amazing athletes.  If you have a skype account, let me know and send me your information.  If you keep your skype on during the day you just might get a surprise call.  It will all depend on when I can connect and who is available at the time, but I would love to talk to you and share images with your students so stay connected and you never know what we can do!

Rookie and I are ready to hit the trail!


Date                Calories          Carbohydrates%                   Protein%                    Fat%

Forget the Oak Tree

 I have set the Oak tree aside this month.  Why?  Is that just a nice way of saying that I have given up?  No . . . yes . . . let me explain. . .

The Oak trees, as I have shown you are leafless this time of year and though that might seem easier, it actually presents new problems.  The amazing texture of bark and branches stands out even more and as they do I get more and more intimidated.  I quit drawing them altogether last month.  That is until last week, when I watched a pair of my students work on a rather large painting of two trees at sunset. . . . the paint strokes on the trunks of the trees were really heavy and I was thinking that it didn’t look very good, but thank goodness I was keeping my mouth shut as one of them began to crush tea leaves over the trunks and allow it to fall over the thick brown paint which grabbed it easily.  The effect, of course, was bark – dry, rough bark.

I asked her how she had thought of it and she just hummed a moment and said I thought it needed something.

Well, I thought it did too, but that’s where I stopped.  I just gave up.  She had not only not given up, but by simply reaching for a possible solution close at hand tried something that worked beautifully.  I know, because I have been watching her for months, that if that hadn’t worked, she would have painted over it and tried another effect or asked me for some advice (like I had a lot to give).  I know that because she is just that kind of industrious student, the kind that doesn’t give up.  I had.

I was a little frustrated with myself because I also know that when I run into a problem, my students usually have an answer and one that will work.  Whether that problem is how to help them understand a concept or how to create a more real experience in the classroom, they are in the trenches and see things so much more simply.   I had forgotten my first rule of teaching, when in doubt – ask the students.  And Esme reminded me.  Thanks.

Anyway – my brief respite from the Oak tree led me back to my beloved huskies and I have one to share with you tonight that I hope you will like and think you will recognize as the season moves on.

Are you getting excited?  I sure am!!!

Still on the trail with Rookie,