Teaching Suggestions to Use with 2015 Iditarod Insider Video Clips

Teachers:  Discover ideas on using the Insider Video on Demand and GPS Tracker.

Ideas include lists of specific video clips that you can use with your students.

GPS Tracker Geography:  (Available only during the race.  You must have a GPS Tracker subscription or an Ultimate Classroom or School Subscription.)

When you click on each checkpoint listed under “Race Center”/”Checkpoints” on Iditarod.com, you will find its latitude and longitude coordinates.

Classroom Applications:

  1. Have students plot each checkpoint on a blank map.  Check it by poking holes on their maps where they placed the checkpoints and lay it over a completed map to see if the checkpoints match.
  2. If your students choose mushers to follow (or your class does), calculate the difference in latitude and longitude of each musher as s/he gets to the next checkpoint.
  3. Calculate the difference in latitude and longitude of your town to one of the checkpoints, the start in Fairbanks or finish in Nome.

Insider Video Clips

You must have an educational Insider video subscription to use these clips. Click here to purchase or to renew your subscription.  All subscriptions are renewable starting July 1 and expire the end of June. 


Insider Video Clips – classroom applications related to specific video clips. 

View the clips by clicking on the title of the video.

You must be an Insider Subscriber to view these video clips.


CLASSROOM APPLICATIONS: TRAIL VETERINARIAN INTERVIEWS/INFORMATION This clip is an excellent example and description of trail veterinary care.

CULTURAL CONNECTION /SERUM RUN CONNECTION The people of the village tell of the families that had mushers in the Serum Run.

CLASSROOM APPLICATIONS: OUTSTANDING EVIDENCE OF THE CULTURE OF THE NATIVES OF HUSLIA These video clips are excellent at showing your class things that most people never get to see and to showcase some of the cultural norms of the people of Huslia. There are displays of native arts, tribal structure, and language that most people never get to hear.


REQUIRED GEAR/SLED BAG CHECK These videos are excellent examples of some sled bag checks in Tanana.



  • March 10 8:12 pm Brent Sass Has Ben Disqualified For a Rules Infraction ==> He doesn’t point fingers, pass the blame, speak condescendingly; he accepts the ruling with dignity. Discuss taking responsibility for one’s own actions and its effect on the community as a whole.


  • March 10 11:01 pm Zirkle the first to Leave Tanana-Expecting 40 below ahead ==> Use this video clip as a starting point to working with temperatures. Compare differences between temperature above and below zero. Compare the temperatures to what it is where you are now. Convert temperatures between Fahrenheit and Celsius.


  • March 11 1:30 am Run Dogs Run – Nenana to Tanana ==> Use this clip to observe methods of propulsion such as pedaling and skipoling. If each thrust of the ski pole increased the team speed by .25 mph, how much more distance could a team cover in the same amount of time as a team without skipole aid? ==> Observe use of dog jackets. Take the temperature of the inside of a piece of warm weather gear (boot, hat, mitten) and the room temperature. Put your hand (or foot, etc.) inside the gear and take the temperature again. How did the air temperature around your body change?

GOOD SAMARITAN RULE In this interesting clip, among other things, Zoya Denure explains how she helped a musher.


  • March 11 10:15 am Heidi Sutter Having the Time of Her Life ==> Listen to Heidi describe the trail using words like “slough” and “portage”. What are these words and how are they different that “river”? This could connect to a study of river systems. ==> Identify a major geographical feature in your area. Teach the fine details of the feature using specific vocabulary terms that apply to the subsections or various types of that feature. (mountain, desert, beach, valley, ec.)


  • March 11 10:16 am Lisbet Norris Reaches Tanana ==> How does cold effect living things? Mechanical things? ==> What changes when it is very, very cold? the environment? the sky? the air composition? ==> What materials freeze more quickly or more slowly than others? ==> Do an experiment testing different antifreeze brands. ==> Use the scientific method to conduct an experiment comparing at what temperature different materials freeze or thaw. ==> Research what is helped by or benefits from extreme cold.

CLASSROOM APPLICATIONS: SCIENCE OF ARCTIC WEATHER These video clips show completely frosted over mushers. Use them as a jumping point for science lessons on frost, condensation, melting and freezing points. Use the scientific method to conduct experiments on insulation materials.

MEET THE DOGS In these video clips, the mushers spend a good deal of time discussing one of their dogs and their roles on the team. Excellent footage for dog information.


These mushers share their feelings about running the Iditarod.  Rookies and veterans alike have trepidations and concerns.

*** Identify a challenge you face or would like to face.  Set a goal for completing that challenge.


These mushers share their knowledge of the trail and some of the things they do to plan for this great adventure.

Think of a time when you were facing a challenge.  How did you feel?  What did you do to prepare for it?  What was your “strategy” for accomplishing it?  What were the results?


Many of the Iditarod XLIII mushers have been training on much different trail conditions this year.  Most of them have had less than desirable training conditions.  Study how these mushers are glad about and thankful for the start location change.


These are clips of dog footage along with suggested activities for each

              *Pretty footage from GoPro camera attached to dog team as they run.  Example of quiet and type of motion.

             *At 50 seconds, pause the video.  It’s as if the dog is posing for the video.  This is a good jumping off point for some writing exercises on point of view. Have students write a paragraph from the point of view of this dog. Watch the entire clip and have students write from the point of view of a rookie musher, a veteran musher, a fan, the snow, the trail!  Focus on the traits of voice and word choice.

              *At 1m9s, Matt Failor is shown.  Study the look on his face.  He has run 3 previous races placing 47th in 2012, 28th in 2013, and 15th in 2014.  He is leaving this year’s starting chute in 15th What do you think is going through his mind here at this point?


Check out this video clip for a thorough and accurate example of a checker checking in a musher.


              *They talk about hydrating.  Often we think of dehydration as a high heat related condition.  Research hydration and situations in which it can happen easily. As a person, how can you stay hydrated besides simply drinking water?



*Compiled by Jane Blaile.  Jane was the 2008 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™.  Learn more about Jane at this link.