What are some things that are different in Alaska? We take off our shoes when we go in other people's houses so we don't get mud or snow on their carpets.
Kids in school can go ice skating at lunch recess. Most of the schools have ice rinks. Kids put on their skates before they go to lunch. The rule is they have to wear skate guards inside the building.
School kids have to have inside recess when the wind chill is colder than 0° F.
Some schools have cross-country skis and boots that kids can borrow. Cross-country skiing is part of the P.E. program.
There is almost never lightning and thunder in Anchorage. Some kids are in junior high school before they see lightning and hear thunder.
We have volcanoes just across Cook Inlet.
Some people who live just outside Anchorage do not have running water or central heat. They have to store up wood to keep warm and use an outhouse. A lot of people who live outside the cities live very comfortably without electricity.
When the snow starts to melt, lots of people have trouble with their roofs leaking.
When there is a lot of snow, people have to shovel their roofs so they won't collapse. Jana used to live in Valdez, where there can be 12 feet or more of snow. Some people there have to make tunnels to the streets from their doors.
We can have earthquakes at any time in Alaska. Most of them are small. One of the biggest earthquakes in the world was in Alaska in 1964. Kids have earthquake drills. When you feel an earthquake, get under a table if possible, or a doorway. Don't go near a window. Kneel down and put your head between your knees. Cover your neck with your hands to protect your brain stem. Do not move until the shaking completely stops. If you are outside, don't try to go inside. Get away from buildings, tall trees, and power lines. If you are near the ocean, try to get to higher ground because tsunamis (sometimes called tidal waves) can come after an earthquake.
On dark nights we can see Northern Lights right from our back yards on a dark night. We also see lots of solar and lunar eclipses.
In May after the snow melts, Anchorage has a big clean-up week. The dump is free during that week. Many schools and businesses spend a day picking up litter, and there are good prizes like bicycles. There is also a day for cleaning up the creeks and streams and a "Scoop-the-Poop" day for cleaning up doggie-doo (with rubber gloves of course).