I thought it would be fun to investigate reindeer, or caribou as they’re called in most of the world. Everything the boys know about reindeer to date has come from their Christmas books, and according to their stories, reindeer fly and occasionally have red noses. Of course this is true of Santa’s reindeer, who are magic, but not all reindeer.
To begin the activity, I asked the boys what they know about reindeer. Answers included that they fly and live at the North Pole with Santa. Then I asked what they wanted to know about reindeer. Here are some of their answers:
- Can reindeer fly upside down or just right side up?
- Can they do loop de loops in the sky?
- Are they ectotherms?
- Do they live anywhere else besides the North Pole? Do they live in the East, West and South?
- How big are their families?
- What do they eat?
- Can they go fast or slow?
- What kind of noise do they make?
Next, I asked them where they thought we could find information about reindeer. We talked about looking in books, observing reindeer at the zoo and using the computer. For today, the easiest source was the computer. Here are a few reliable Web sites that should help you and your children answer questions about reindeer.
- National Geographic Kids: Includes video and a map showing where reindeer live.
- San Diego Zoo: Another map showing where reindeer live, fun facts and more. There is also a sound of a reindeer calf.
- Project Caribou: Has audio of reindeer walking and grunting.