I is for Iditarod 2016


Iditarod map

Our Iditarod map

The Iditarod Sled Dog Race started on March 5. Just like in past years, several classes at our school are researching and following the race. The difference this year is that normally the race starts during our Spring Break, but this year the first six days of the race will take place before we go on our break, so we’ll really get a chance to see how our mushers progress!

This year we have two ELA and Social Studies classes, so each class researched the musher profiles and wrote opinion pieces about which one we should follow. In the Purple Class, Aliy Zirkle was the top nominee, and in the Blue Class, it was Jeff King. Good luck to both of those mushers! We have a student-made map outside our classroom where we’ll be tracking their progress.


This is where we track each musher’s progress.

This year we have even more of a connection to the race than we’ve had in the past. We’ve Skyped with Miss Holmquist’s fifth grade class in Alaska a few times already this year. Now that it’s Iditarod time, we are doing a collaborative project with them. We are each making an Iditarod Alphabet book which we’ll be exchanging by mail. Each of us chose a word or idea related to the Iditarod and wrote a research page about it, and this week we’ll be compiling them into a book. This Thursday we’ll be Skyping again with Miss Holmquist’s class, and we’re looking forward to learning about the race from primary sources. Miss Holmquist actually went to the ceremonial start of the race in Anchorage last Saturday! She sent us some great pictures.

Iditarod start 3/05/16 by K Holmquist. Used with permission.

Iditarod start 3/05/16 by K Holmquist. Used with permission.

We also had the chance to learn more about the geography and climate of Alaska from a park ranger at Denali National Park, who Skyped with us and taught us a lot, especially about Mount Denali. Do you know the difference between measuring a mountain’s height by elevation or by relief?

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Who do you think will win the Iditarod this year?


  1. Dear Mrs. Hamman’s Class,

    We are very excited about the Iditarod this year too! In 3rd grade, we are having a friendly competition to see who had the best musher picking abilities. Our class chose Dee Dee Jonrowe and Martin Buser. They are currently in 30th and 59th place. We’re not worried, we still have a lot of time to come back. Good luck to you and your mushers!

    Your friends,
    Mrs. Moore’s Class

    • Thanks for your comment, Mrs. Moore’s class! Dee Dee Jonrowe and Martin Buser were both popular choices in our class, too. You’re right, the standings can change really quickly! Good luck!

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