The Call of the Wild: Chapters Four and Five

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12424

How do you react to pressure, especially that of competition, when things get tough? What would you do to survive? Is mere survival enough? Learn the lessons of raw ambition in both man and beast!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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If you were a sled dog, who would you want driving the team? We can drive a 300-horsepower car; is it just as easy to drive a dozen-dogpower sled?

If you missed or want a refresher on the previous Related Lessons on Chapters One to Three, you can find them in the right-hand sidebar.

  • What did you notice about the size of the sled and the supplies the sled driver carried in the picture above?

The ratio of supplies, people, and dogs, is critical for successful sled dog driving. Today, this tradition is kept alive most famously in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska — a distance of nearly 1100 miles. To learn more about the Iditarod and the event that inspired the modern race, read the following article and answer the questions in the journal or notebook that you have been keeping for this series:

  • What event prompted the "Great Race for Mercy" in 1925?
  • Why were sled dog teams considered the best transportation option for the "Great Race for Mercy"?
  • What were some of the dangerous conditions the sled teams faced during the relay? Describe at least three specific conditions.
  • What happened to Balto after the relay?
  • Why was Leonhard Seppala upset about the attention Balto received after the relay?
  • When did the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begin?
  • What was the closest margin of victory in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race?
  • Where is the ceremonial start of the race versus the official start of the trail?

Read The Sled Dog Relay That Inspired the Iditarod, by Christopher Klein (A&E Television Networks, LLC.), and watch D.T. Slouffman's The Last Great Race:

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  • Would you be interested in racing in the Iditarod?
  • Why do you think so many people are still fascinated with this race?

Once you've answered the questions in your notebook or journal, you are ready to read Chapters Four and Five of The Call of the Wild. You can use the digital copy of The Call of the Wild, from Project Gutenberg, or you can use a print copy if you have been reading one during this series. As you read, take notes on the manner in which the inexperienced drivers handle the sled dog team. You will need these notes for the Go! activity later in the lesson.

When you have finished reading Chapters Four and Five, move on to the Got It? section to explore the text in more detail.

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