Last month, third-grade students from Morgan Taylor and Carolyn Clifton’s Cross Creek Elementary School classes got to experience the Iditarod, a dog sled race in Alaska that is held each year.
The race commemorates The Great Serum Run of 1925 that brought medicine to the village of Nome during a diphtheria outbreak. Students learned about the characteristics of good sled dogs, the history of the race including some of the famous mushers and their lead dogs, and also about Alaskan history and geography.
Taylor used this exciting race as a platform for energetic and engaging learning that students would hopefully remember even after their time with her.
“The Iditarod is such an amazing race and has an inspiring spirit of team work and determination,” said Taylor. “I think it is so special and something students could really get excited about so I wanted to share this awesome event with them in a way that allowed them to really get carried away with it.”
During this enrichment unit, students were able to give water colors a try while creating an Alaskan night sky scene after learning about the Aurora Borealis. They penned triangle poems about the Iditarod or Alaska, produced commercials and ads for goods and services to sell at the Iditarod, and tracked their assigned mushers through the actual Iditarod race. The classes were even able to see the winner of the 2014 Iditarod cross the finish line in real time via live streaming on the internet all the way from Nome, Alaska one morning as school was starting.
Taylor added, “As mushers either scratched or finished the race, students posted video messages to the athletes. Students have even gotten some replies back from mushers with details about their race experience and updates about their dogs!”
Culminating the exciting unit, teams of students competed in their own I-Kid-Arod race complete with checkpoint activities, cheering fans, and even a “vet check” just like the real Iditarod. Checkpoint activities included math word problems about dog sledding and comprehension questions and facts students have learned during this unit. Overall, the first Cross Creek I-Kid-Arod was a complete success and the Iditarod is something the students will remember for years to come.