Today I wanted to share a WONDERFUL unit study we did last winter. The Iditarod is a yearly sled dog race across Alaska. We learned about dog sled racing, math, geography and more– all in a 2 month unit.
Here is a list of what our unit study consisted of:
** We joined the Iditarod Project. The eIditarod Project is sponsored by Walter McKenzie, and is open to students in grades K-8. Using the Official Iditarod Website, classes (And homeschool families!) will study the trail and the mushers and select one team to follow online for the 2009 race. You will be asked to create a wall-sized map of the trail and track the progress of your team using race updates on the official site.The EIditarod Project has its open registration period through January 9, 2009!
** For the unit we read 2 books. There are more out there, but based on the ages of the students we picked “The Mystery on Alaska’s Iditarod Trail”, by Carole Marsh and “Akiak,” by Robert J. Blake.
** I created several notebooking pages to go along with the unit study. You can snag them HERE. We also collected pictures off the internet of packed sleds, race dogs, booties etc. and made notebook pages for them also.
** Hands of a Child has a Iditarod lapbook we used for information and some elements to place in our notebooks. They also sell a Sled Dogs lapbook that we used. (If you download the freebies from Currclick and Hands of a Child you might have it! I got it free at some point.)
** The Official Iditarod website has a teacher’s section with a lot of great activities. I did this lesson plan with a group of students. It was time consuming to make all the “mushers” but the graphing lesson was worth it. I didn’t have the blocks the lesson suggests, so, I made my own. You can snag them HERE. (Note: I had mostly younger students and we did bar graphs – here is the worksheet I made to use with them)
** Another thing we did was to subscribe to the “Insider.” We were able to stream short movies daily about the mushers, the dogs, the checkpoints etc. More information can be found at the Official Iditarod Website. It’s a well spent $20 is you are doing the unit and can afford it. I also purchased a dog bootie, a large map, and the official program last year for the store on the Iditarod site. (They have a CD of lesson plans for a reasonable price, but I never could determine if they were the same ones on the site for free)
** Plus, you can add science in and talk about SNOW! I have a lot of resources for this and will upload my links etc. at some point!
** One thing I got recently for free (and you might have it as well! 2 sites have offered it for free in the past few months- I just can’t remember who! Sorry…) is “Aunt Sarah’s Alaskan Cookbook.” If not, it’s only a few dollars at Currclick. It would make a great addition! One chapter is a children’s dog sled party complete with a menu and recipes!
** Currently, Currclick has a free download for “Free Alaskan Extension From January Book Bag, 2009” It looks great for a variety of ages. There are some great resources on the Iditarod included. There are also some Montessori type 3 part cards and book suggestions for all ages. It also includes some activities for the preschool set.
Have fun! We did 🙂