The Iditarod Dog Sled Race

My grade level partner and I love dogs! Our grade level theme is the “Puppy Pound.” This has always been our theme as long as we have worked together. Instead of student of the week, we have Top Dog, instead of regular table name signs, we have dog breeds, and the list goes on!

Every March, our class follows the Iditarod race that takes place in Alaska. A little history on this race in case you don’t know about it. In 1925 there was an outbreak of diphtheria in Nome, Alaska. Due to the weather, the medicine was going to take way too long to reach the town, and children would die. They decided to set up an Alaskan dog relay where each team would carry the medicine a set number of miles. The musher and the dogsled team waited at a checkpoint for their turn in the relay. Thanks to the teamwork of all of the mushers and their dogs, the medicine was delivered to the town, and lives were saved.

Each year, this race is reenacted in Alaska going through the same checkpoints that the mushers and dog teams did in 1925. Each student chooses a musher to follow and each day, the students check on their musher to see the checkpoint that they have traveled to over night. Sometimes the mushers have scratched which means that for some reason they are out of the race.

It is always fun to see the students excitement as their musher moves through the checkpoints. Sometimes the student’s musher is in the lead, and the next day they are really trailing. At the end of this experience we are lucky enough to have a contact person who will be bringing in some dogs that raced in the Iditarod. She will be giving us a presentation and sharing so many amazing stories from her experiences!

It’s not too late to follow the race, so check it out!

4 responses to “The Iditarod Dog Sled Race”

  1. I bet they remember their dog-loving teachers. Sounds like lots of fun in first grade!


  2. Very fun! I also had my students read about this story and we would follow the race but I love the connection to pick a musher to follow. It makes the race more personal. Nice idea!


  3. What a fun experience for the kids! I knew about the Iditarod, and also about the race to bring medicine, but I didn’t quite understand the whole connection, or quite how the race works. Thanks for teaching me!


  4. My daughter would LOVE being in your class. Everything dog-related is a huge winner!


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