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. If the world record reindeer sprint is 12 meters in 14.96 seconds, how many mph did that reindeer go?
  7. 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?
  8. 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 mph and kps?

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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.

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

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