Iditarod Math


One of our school traditions is to read and learn about the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska every year. We always research the mushers and have a class vote about which one’s progress to track once the race begins (here are our past Iditarod posts from 2014, 2013, and 2012). This year, the winner of our class vote was Aliy Zirkle. She has finished in second place in the race for the past three years! Good luck, Aliy!


We made this map for our Iditarod board, and we’ll follow Aliy’s progress here.


The race always has a ceremonial start in Anchorage, but the actual race doesn’t start until the next day. This year, for only the second time in race history, the restart of the race has been moved from the town of Willow to Fairbanks. Why do you think they made that change?

This year we’ve been incorporating our learning about the Iditarod into our math class. The 2015 Teacher on the Trail website has some great lessons and math problems. Here’s one example (the entire set of problems is here):

On Sunday, March 3rd, 65 teams departed Willow to embark on the 41st Iditarod! The sixty-sixth musher, Ed Stielstra, scratched due to an injury that happened in training prior to the race. Mikhail Telpin started with 12 dogs. Cindy Abbott, Bob Chulpach, and Rudy Demonski each started 14 dogs and Charley Bejina started with 15 dogs. All of the other mushers fielded full teams of sixteen dogs! How many feet crossed the starting line and started down the trail to Nome on restart day?

Image-1 (1)

Pictures of us trying to solve this problem!

Can you figure out the solution to this problem?

Who do you think will win the Iditarod?



  1. Dear Mrs. Hamman,
    I think they changed the start of the race from Willow to Fairbanks because maybe there is less snow in Willow and Fairbanks has more snow and to make it easier on the mushers they switched the restart of the race to Fairbanks.
    Your student,

  2. Dear Mrs. Hamman,

    I hope that Aliy Zirkle wins the race. Even thougth I voted for Martin Buser I still hope that Aliy Zirkle wins. What is your other favorite musher?


  3. Who I think will win is Martin Buser because he has been in a lot of races and got into a very good place when he won except for one time he got in sixth but I still think he will win. And the problem I am working on it.

  4. Dear Mrs.Hamman,

    I think it was fun doing an Iditarod question. Does it matter how many dogs you have and what is the limit for the number of dogs? My own opinion is that I think Aliy Zirkle is going to win because she has came in second a lot of times. I think she will make her come back and try her very hardest to win.

    Your friend,Zac

  5. Dear Mrs.Hamman Who do you pick for your musher to win? I trust that who you vote for is a good choice.

  6. I think they restarted because some one might have got hurt.

  7. Dear Mrs Hamman,
    I love the iditarod it is so much fun. The musher that I think that should win is Aliy Zirkle. I really hope she wins this year. Which musher do think should win Mrs Hamman.

  8. I think that they made that change to make it harder on the racers but to take their time more often. If they don’t then a lot of dogs are going to get injured more often or die.

  9. 4,246 feet crossed the strating line. I think that Martin Buser will win.

  10. Dear Mrs. Hamman,
    I think the answer is 774. I also think the winer is Aliy Zirkle. I love this class it is so fun, awesome, fantastic.

  11. Dear Mrs.Hamman,

    I think they changed it all the way over there maybe because to make it more challenging.

  12. Who I think will win the Iditarod will be Martin Buser because he has done a lot of races and got in very good places and also he has been doing it for many years and he only got in sixth place once so that’s who I think will win.

  13. Dear Mrs. Hamman,
    There would be 4,246 feet. Since 1 team has 12, you would times 12 by 1 and get 12. Then, since 3 teams have 14, you multiply 14 by 3 and get 42. Since there is 1 team that only has 15, you multiply 15 by 1 and get 15. You still have the other dog teams so since each dog team has 16 dogs, you would do 65 minus 5 since you already have 5. Then you would do 60 times 16 because each team has 16 dogs. That would equal 360 and you will have to add 600 to 360 and get 960. You still have the 5 other teams so you would do 960 plus 12 and get 972. Then you have to add 972 with 42 and get 1,014. You still have 1 more team so you would have to add 1,014 with 15 and get 1,029. Next, you would have to multiply it by 4 and get 4,116. Now you still have the mushers feet. Since there are 65 teams you would have to do 65 times 2 because each musher has 2 feet. You would get 130. Last you would have to add 4,116 with 130 and get your answer which would be 4,246 feet.


  14. Dear Mrs. Hamman,
    I think that they made that change because they might want the dogs to get warmed up before the big race. I think that Aliy Zirkle will win because she has gotten so close three years in a row and, this year she has a good chance in winning and because she is the class Musher.

  15. Dear Mrs. Hamman,
    I think Aliy Zirkle will win not because she is our musher that we chose in class. I think that she will win because she has became second place for the last three years in a row. I think that they made the change because they might want the dogs to get warmed up before their big race.

  16. I think it is kinda weird how sometimes they move the race to different places i wonder why they change it

  17. Dear Mrs. Hamman,
    I did the problem and found that the number of feet that crossed the starting line was 4,246 feet. I remembered some of it from yesterday. Once you get how the problem works out you find the answer easier. What was fun for you during it when we were using the white boards?
    Your blogger,

  18. Dear,Mrs.Hamman
    How are you? I think that they changed the place is because they didn’t want it to be there because it might snow there or some kind of natural wonder.That is what i think.

  19. Dear Mrs Hamman
    I think that Aliy Zirkle is going to win this year.I had fun learning about the Iditarod. Who do you think is going to win this year?

  20. Dear Mrs. Hamman,
    I hope Aliy Zirkle wins because she has been in 2nd place. Aliy Zirkle can probably win this year. Hope you win Aliy. The day we did the math problem, I hardly understood the problem.
    Your student,

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Skip to toolbar