Browse these winter-themed, ready-to-use lesson plans and teaching ideas that cover a range of subjects, skills, and grade levels.
The “Iditarod: Race Across Alaska” activity (grades K–8) brings to life the annual 1,100-mile dogsled race across Alaska. Through various online learning activities, students get first-person perspectives of the “mushers” and follow the progress of the race, while exploring Alaskan geography, studying extreme winter climates, and applying research and critical reasoning to a discussion about the treatment of sled dogs.
- Students can Explore the Trail from start to finish with this interactive map, clicking on checkpoints for more details.
- All About Alaska offers reading material on the state, including its history, population, weather, and more.
- Historic Iditarod shares the origin behind the famous race, and why it continues to be held annually.
- Students can read all about Young Mushers, including a young blind woman who finished the race, a 17-year-old who plans to complete the Jr. Iditarod race and the Iditarod when he turns 18 later that year, and three generations of one family who’ve hit the trail. Plus, students can read an interview with a junior musher and an interview with two teenage girls who’ve competed in the Jr. Idiatrod.
- Students can meet the Jr. Iditarod winners of 2008, 2006, and 2005, and the Iditarod winners of 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.
- The articles and interviews with expert mushers in A Dog’s Life offer reading material on the topics of sled dog training, the controversy about dog racing, a dog’s family life, how they make it across the trail, and their diet. Plus, read about Texas, a champion racer dog who was just two years old when he made his first run.
- Students can take a multiple-choice quiz on the subject, be a musher on a virtual run, or read an interview with three mushers.
- Finally, students are asked to share their opinions and Write About It, by penning an essay on how sled dogs are treated.
By participating in the Iditarod: Race Across Alaska learning activity, students will:
- Explore the geography of Alaska and the Iditarod by navigating an interactive map of the route and competing in a virtual sled race
- Generate questions for champion mushers to learn about their lives and the lives of sled dogs
- Research the checkpoints along the Iditarod and recreate the race in the classroom
- Write persuasive essays on the treatment of sled dogs