Monday, March 21, 2011

Sled Dog Notebooking Page{s}

We ended up becoming very wrapped up in sled dogs, and in particular the story of the original "Iditarod" or rather the Great Serum Run. We had a lot of fun learning and following along on a map as the many dogs and mushers made their way across the icy tundra of Alaska. The boys then enjoyed learning a few musher terms and what each dog's job on a sled was.

We even found ourselves researching more info on many of the dogs who were in that very first run. History has it that the people of Alaska have always felt slightly disappointed at the attention that Balto and the rest of the dogs on his team received in comparison to others; most especially Togo and his team. This caused us to look up some more info on Togo and his run, which led us to a whole lot of information on Seppela, the owner of both Balto & Togo.

Oddly enough, in some crazy kinda way, while Seppela was the owner of both dogs he isn't the musher who used Balto during the Serum run. A quote we read supposedly from Seppela was that Balto was just an extra of sorts. It gave the tone that while he cared for the dog because it was his own he saw nothing special in him. Thus, the musher who did choose him saw more in Balto, or was simply desperate for a team of dogs in order to help.

Either way we were impressed with both dogs. Togo covered a lot more ground then Balto did and it led us to wonder if there were any books written from Togo's point of view, there are. There's been a request by a certain child in this house that we purchase at least one. If the story we read about Balto is true in it's entirety, Balto covered less ground but saved the life of not only his musher, but the rest of the dogs on his team as well.

According to the story we read both the lead dog and the point dog couldn't find the way and refused to budge when Kaasen had them as lead dog{s}. He noticed, however, that Balto wasn't standing still like the rest of the dogs on the team. Apparently when a sled dog has lost it's way it won't move, and neither will the team because they understand the problem.  Noticing Balto's behavior Kaasen put Balto in as lead dog and off they went.

Regardless of which dog crossed the finish line we're amazed by the ability of both. The boys have now added to their overseas travel list in an effort to go to Ohio to visit Balto and a trip to Alaska to visit Togo & Fritz. All though, from what we understand Togo doesn't look as stately because he was in a "shedding" stage when he died and was preserved. Poor thing!

Needless to say we had a lot of fun with this small study and the boys put a lot of work into playing sled dogs each afternoon. We rounded out our studies with a printable map from Random House where we highlighted a few of the team's paths. On the flip side we added a few little booklets we used for jotting down information that the kids enjoyed looking into about sled dogs.

Can I just say there is nothing funnier then hearing your 7 year old wail pitifully, "Daddy no! You can't put Sparkles there!! He has to go in the back that's where wheel dogs go!" There were even a few spilled tears over a few positioning of stuffed dogs on that particular sled as poor Mr S tried to sort out what a wheel dog, point dog, lead dog, & swing dog did.  I won't even tell you how many tears I shed trying to untangle the whole mess in the end!

The last page is a book log paper that the boys filled out based on the book Balto And The Great Race. Morgan had trouble with that paper because this was the first book he encountered where he wasn't truly happy with it. He was disappointed not to hear more about Togo. Not because he'd expected to, but because he fell in love with Togo solely based on his name. {Don't panic, this happens a lot when we read books..} I think he was also saddened to learn what happened to Balto after all was said and done.