Get your students ready for the Iditarod sled dog race! This 30-page document is meant to simulate the Iditarod dog sled race. Students, with their teams of 12 to 16 dogs, will travel over some of the roughest, yet most beautiful terrain in Alaska- around jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, and vast tundra. The approximate 1,150 mile trip will begin in Anchorage and end in Nome on the western Bering Sea coast.
To gain some background knowledge, the activity begins with a general discussion about the Iditarod race (history, mushers, vocabulary, etc.). Students are asked to fill out their “What do you really know about the Iditarod” sheets that are provided.
After the discussion, students are put into teams of 3-4 and are encouraged to come up with a name for their "musher team". Each musher team will begin in Anchorage, Alaska (the official start of the race) and “race” the other teams to Nome, Alaska. Teams will keep record of their times on the 4-page “Iditarod Time Tracker Log” (provided).
Since the goal of this activity is to simulate the Iditarod experience of the mushers and sled dogs, each team will begin their time log at 9 days and 3 hours and 16 minutes (which is based on the first place times over the past few years). However, throughout the “race” teams will need to add and subtract minutes based on events that they may encounter on the trail. Teams will use a die to move along the Iditarod Trail. As stated above, teams will need to keep track of their time on the “Iditarod Time Tracker Log”. The distance between each checkpoint determines how many rolls the teams will have.
The number on the die will determine what card they will pick. If a team rolls a 2 or 5, it must choose a “Sled Dog” card. These cards include situations that their sled dogs may encounter on the Iditarod Trail. Depending on the situation, teams may have to add or subtract time in their logs. If a team rolls a 3 or 6, it must choose a “Trail Encounter” card. These cards have certain situations that could occur to the team on the Iditarod Trail. Depending on the situation, teams may have to add or subtract time in their logs. If a team rolls a 1 or 4, it must choose a “Weather” card. These cards contain elements of weather that the team would face on the trail. Depending on the situation, teams may have to add or subtract time in their logs.
When a team reaches a checkpoint, it will need to pick a “Checkpoint Task” card which will contain a math, reading, research, or writing problem. The team will solve the problem and bring it to the teacher (answer key is provided). If the team gets the problem correct it will either require no mandatory rest time or just a small amount of rest. But if the team gets the problem wrong it will have to add time in their logs for mandatory rest.
Included in the packet is a matching vocabulary page and an optional page of activities for students to do, including having students design an IPod Touch that would be helpful on the trail.
In addition to the above, included at the end of the packet are "Super Challenge" cards that can be used for the upper levels to make adding and subtracting time more challenging.
Common Core Math Standard: Number and Operation in Base Ten, Measurement and Data, Mathematical Processes; Common Core Reading Standards: 4
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