Kate Newmyer 2024 Teacher on the Trail

Classroom Culture Has Gone to the Dogs

If you’re like me, you’re happy as a dog with two tails to be on summer break! It’s a great opportunity to refresh and dream of how you will use the Iditarod in your classroom next year. While we teachers have hung up our dog tags for a few weeks, future sled dog champions are being born this month! Go ahead and follow all the mushers on …

“Puppies!” Mushers Inspire Travel with Dogs

Now that the 2024 Iditarod is in the books, mushers everywhere are enjoying the summer with their dogs.  Mamas are giving birth to adorable sled dog puppies. Mushers are traveling with their dogs to provide glacier adventures to tourists or getting additional training in the far north of Alaska.  If you visit the Iditarod Headquarters …

Classroom Culture: Reaching the Finish Line

With the end of the year so close, everyone is feeling all the big feelings—excitement, anxiousness, relief, impatience, and even a tinge of sadness. Our students are definitely feeling this energy too! In this classroom culture post, I want to share some ways that I’m bringing my team to the finish line with activities and …

“Close Encounters:” Studying Animal Behavior with Ethology

This year’s Iditarod is notable for a scary moose encounter. Champion Dallas Seavey was coming down a hill around a blind corner between the Skwentna and Finger Lake checkpoints and a moose was in his path.  This is not the first time moose have attacked sled dogs on the Iditarod Trail. During my time on …

“Houston, We Have a Connection:” Celestial Observations

The second question people ask me about my time on the Iditarod Trail, after “did you survive the cold?” is usually, “Did you see northern lights?” My answer is, yes, sort of. On the second night in Galena, a checkpoint along the Yukon river, a faint swirl of northern lights appeared in the sky. It …

Classroom Culture: Mandatory Gear

This year’s Iditarod has come and gone, with lots of great stories, memories, and lessons.  One of the things that stood out to me after watching mushers come into checkpoints was how they carried and located their mandatory gear.    What is mandatory gear?  Rule 16 of the 2024 Iditarod Race Rules states:   Rule …

“What’s in the Sled?” STEM: Building the Best Insulated Water Bottle

Have you seen Dallas Seavey’s video about the boots he created for the Iditarod Trail this year?  The six-time champion shared his new footwear system shortly after the race concluded. In the video, he talked about the types of problems he hoped to solve by rethinking the entire concept of footwear on the trail. Seavey …

Classroom Culture: Learning through Storytelling

Miriam Körner, the author of the young adult novel Yellow Dog, says, “There is a power that comes from personal story, and that power is strongest when it is shared through storytelling.” Körner lives in Canada with her husband, who grew up in northern Saskatchewan. The novel demonstrates the power of learning through storytelling as …

“Race Day!”: Engineering-Design and the Iditarod Air Force

My experience with the Iditarod as Teacher on the Trail has put me up close and personal with a facet of the race that people might not think about much: the Iditarod Air Force (IAF).  This is why I wanted to highlight the IAF in my March lesson. The race would not be possible without …

Writing Down the Miles

Iditarod 2024 is a wrap. I’m seated on the late evening “banquet flight” with volunteers, mushers, their families, and the Nome-Beltz High School boys basketball team on their way to the state tournament. It’s a 737 packed to the wingtips with stories, memories, tears, laughter, triumph, new friendships and quite a few Iditarod trophies and …