March 5, 2015
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

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?

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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?


March 11, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman

Iditarod Update #2

The 2014 Iditarod Champion is…Dallas Seavey! Congratulations, Dallas!

We wrote in the last post that the end of the race would probably be very close, and it was! The first and second place finishers were less than three minutes apart.

The ending of the race was extremely dramatic and exciting. You can read about it on the Teacher on the Trail Blog: Photo Finish! If you are in Mrs. Hamman’s class, after you read the article, leave a comment on our blog with the answers to these two questions:

1. Who came in second in the race?
2. What happened to Jeff King’s team?
Here is a news video explaining how the finish of the race became so close.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

March 9, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman
1 Comment

Iditarod Update #1

Posted March 9:

Our class is on Spring Break this upcoming week. Before the break we were eagerly following the Iditarod and checking the race standings several times a day. We will find out the winner while we are on our break, and I will post the results here. As I write this our class musher, Jeff King, is in second place! Three of our other nominees (Aliy Zirkle, Martin Buser and Robert Sorlie) are in the top 10. It looks like it will be a very close and exciting finish this year!

While we are waiting to find out who wins, check out this amazing video shot by Jeff King a few days ago. We learned that Mr. King is known as an innovator in the mushing community, and his most recent idea is using a GoPro camera to film his races.  In this video you can really see what it’s like to race behind a powerful team of sled dogs!

What is your favorite part of this video?

If you had a GoPro camera, what would you film with it?

February 24, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman's Class
1 Comment

Iditarod 2014


It’s Iditarod time again! We are excited to participate in the third grade class tradition of following the Iditarod.

Like last year, our study of the Iditarod began with a Skype call with a ranger from Denali National Park. She taught us about the adaptations that make sled dogs able to travel over 1,000 miles through the Alaskan wilderness.

This year our class learned about both the Junior Iditarod and the Iditarod. Here is a comparison we made of the two races using the Venn Diagram App (click to enlarge).

Iditarod Venn

We researched all the mushers in the race and each of our groups picked a favorite to present to the class. Then we tried to persuade others to vote for our choice. We voted and our class choice for our 2014 musher is Jeff King!

Here are some facts we learned about Jeff King:

  • He has won the Iditarod 4 times.
  • In 2013 he came in third place.
  • He and his family live in Denali National Park.
  • He is an inventor who creates things to make mushing more comfortable.
  • He is known as a great storyteller.

The Iditarod starts on March 1. We can’t wait to see who wins!

Here are some pictures of the activities we’ve done while studying the Iditarod.







Here is a video about the Iditarod made by the 2012 champion, Dallas Seavey (his dad, Mitch, won the race in 2013!)

Does your class study the Iditarod?

March 14, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Iditarod Update!

The 2013 Iditarod champion is: Mitch Seavey!

After 9 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes and 56 seconds of racing, Mitch Seavey arrived into Nome just after midnight on Tuesday night. Aliy Zirkle finished in second place, just like she did last year.

Mitch Seavey, at 53 years old, is the oldest winner of the Iditarod in history. This is especially interesting because he is the father of Dallas Seavey, who last year became the youngest Iditarod winner ever! Dallas came in fourth place this year.

“Our” musher, Lance Mackey, finished in 19th place. Lance’s team started out great and he was the first musher to the halfway point of the race. His team then had some challenges and they fell back in the pack. It was interesting for us to read more about him in the race updates from the trail. One writer called him the “ultimate optimist”. Do you know what an optimist is? It’s a person who always thinks positively, no matter how bad things are going. You can read more about Lance’s positive attitude in this article and this earlier article. Lance was quoted as saying about his dogs, “They are exceeding my expectations. Next year this team could win.” We are proud of you, Lance!

When our class researched the mushers and nominated the ones we thought were most likely to win the Iditarod, Mitch Seavey came in third in our class voting. In fact, five out of our six nominees ended up finishing in the top 30, which means they win a share of the prize money. Although you can never completely predict the result of an event like this. we think we did some quality research to find the best mushers!

For members of our class who might be reading this over Spring Break, here’s a challenge for you: read the last three paragraphs of this article, then answer these two questions. 1. What was Mitch Seavey’s lead dog’s name? 2. What is the most interesting thing you learned about dogsled racing this year?

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