Reindeer Racing

by Jenny McGlone
Chapel Hill, NC, United States

Math Questions

  1. Given the population density and geographical area mentioned in the story, how many people would you estimate live in the vicinity?
  2. If the Sami have been herding reindeer for 5,000 years, in what year did they begin?
  3. If the fastest reindeer can run at 35 miles per hour, at how many kilometers per hour can they run?
  4. What is the temperature at which water freezes in Fahrenheit and Celsius?
  5. If the prize money totals $12,000, and the winning reindeer/jockey team receives 80 percent of that, how much money will the team win?
  6. Plan a reindeer race. What expenses do you think you would have? How much would you need to charge spectators and participants to make a profit?
  7. Research the size of this lake. Using the world record speed, how long would it take the reindeer to run the entire length of the lake, in both miles per hour and kilometers per second?
  8. If the world record reindeer sprint is 12 meters in 14.96 seconds, how many miles per hour did that reindeer go?*
  9. If the fastest 12-meter reindeer sprint was 14.96 seconds, how many meters on average did the champion travel each second?*
  10. If 51 reindeer cooperatives race 24 of their top animals each year to crown a winner and each race is 2 kilometers, how many kilometers do the reindeer race in total?*
  11. One reindeer race track has an area of 55 square meters. What could be the possible dimensions of the track?*
  12. One reindeer co-op wants to make a reindeer relay race for 7/8 kilometers. The first leg of the race is 1/4 kilometers, the second is 3/16 kilometers, how long is the third leg of the race?*
  13. Design a stall for the reindeer to rest in after the race. What would be the best volume of the stall? (Don’t forget to include the most appropriate unit of measure.)*
  14. Imagine that a reindeer needs to rest 26 seconds for every meter they run. How many seconds should they rest after running 3,718 kilometers? How many minutes? How many hours?*

*suggested for 5th grade

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Lesson Downloads

Extension Questions

  1. What is your reaction to reindeer being used to race? Does this seem a humane use of animals to you?
  2. Does it seem fair to you that Norway and Sweden outlaw reindeer herding by any other person other than a member of the Sami?
  3. Global warming threatens this sport’s ability to continue as arctic regions becomes warmer and the reindeer’s habitat is endangered. Research global warming and how it effects certain ecosystems.

Write an extension question and submit it here


Watch this 25-minute documentary about reindeer racing in Yakutia, Russia.

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