49th Running in the 49th State – Trail Reporting: Monday, March 15th

Monday, March 15th



The finish line awaits the teams in Deshka Landing. Photo Credit: Sara Lamont.

Over the weekend I watched several videos of the Northern Lights that were posted on the Insider and I also took a look at some of Dave Poyzer’s amazing photos on the Iditarod Photo Gallery page https://iditarod.com/photo/.  Based on what I saw, it seems like there has been an extra spectacular show this year. (See a sample of the pictures below). Looking at these images reminded me of a question that I get from my students most years.

Northern lights at the ghost town of Iditarod. Photo Credit: Dave Poyzer

The aurora borealis dances over the dog lot at Finger Lake checkpoint. Photo Credit: Dave Poyzer













What causes the Northern Lights?


To third graders, the Northern lights are a magical dance of different shades of color that they can’t explain. And honestly, I didn’t know the answer myself at first, so I did a little research. I ended up finding some great resources to help me explain this phenomenon to my class. If you have not used any of the “Mystery Doug” videos with your students, I would strongly encourage you to check them out! His videos are very well-done and he did an amazing episode talking about the Northern Lights using language that the students were able to understand.

Mystery Doug video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1apyBNhsTbI

Recently, the Iditarod Insider featured a video narrated by Greg Heister and Bruce Lee talking about the Northern Lights and another time lapse video from Rainy Pass. Check them out here:




If only the Northern Lights were on display this morning as the first teams crossed the finish line. Even the skies would be celebrating the ending to the 2021 Iditarod. 

Teachers: Create a KWL chart with your class about the Northern Lights. Show them the Insider videos to give them some background, and then end with the Mystery Doug video and discuss what you learned about this amazing phenomenon.