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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Get Ready, Get Set! The Iditarod Race Starts in 8 Days!

There's only eight short days until mushers and their dog sled teams leave the starting line in the famous Iditarod dog sled race.  Since 2016 is an even numbered year, that means the teams will take the northern route, leaving the starting line in Anchorage, headed towards Nome.  Along the way, they pass through 23 checkpoints with names like Rainy Pass, Takotna, Shaktoolik, Koyuk and Safety.  The race begins on Saturday, March 5th and each musher and his or her team of 16 dogs will have the sled bag packed for the grueling race of approximately 1,000 miles.  Only the best will make it all the way to the end.  The last musher that passes the finish line receives the Red Lantern Award, given for hanging in there and finishing the race.  The Iditarod is steeped in tradition and there's a lot you can do to use this great race to motivate your students.
Students love to follow a musher on the trail and it's a great way to use a real life event to weave in some much need math problem solving and language review.  If you're in a time pinch and want a complete set of materials you to print and use in less than a week, check out my super popular Iditarod bundle of materials.  In a nutshell, students draw the name of a musher to follow on the trail, make a desk name tag of their musher and sled dogs.  Students quickly check trail progress each day then tackle the day's Musher Math and Language activity. If you have a SMART Board, use the interactive set included in the bundle (answer keys included).   There's also a musher biography project you can use if you wish and a grammar puzzle with grammar reference helper.  The race usually only lasts two weeks before mushers finish the race and there's enough daily materials to use for the entire two weeks of class.

I love teaching during the first two weeks of March each year because students literally race into the classroom and the enthusiasm is contagious!

Here's a link to some Iditarod Trivia.  

Mush on!

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