Teacher on the Trail™

Engaging lessons based on Insider video clips.


Our four-legged correspondents write for all ages..


Collection of all things Iditarod.

    

    
    
    
    

Latest Teacher on the Trail™ Posts

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 …

Introducing the 2025 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™️

Join the Iditarod Education Department in welcoming our 2025 Iditarod Teacher on the TrailTM, Maggie Hamilton, to the elite group of educators to earn this honor.  After completing an involved and thorough application, and the selection process as a finalist in Alaska prior to this year’s race, Maggie accepted this year-long job. All finalists have …

“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 …

Red Lantern: Committed Through The Last Mile

Why is the Red Lantern so important? The Lynden “Committed Through the Last Mile” Red Lantern Award recognizes the musher to make the last run from Safety to Nome.  It symbolizes perseverance and commitment to finishing, even though there are challenges. This morning at 2:22 am, I greeted Jeff Reid as he and his dogs …

History in the Making

Imagine a thick quilt, covered in many squares, patches and fabrics, with layers of warm fiber nestled through, sewn together with thread. On this trip I’ve met so many people who are the threads holding the history of a place together. Their stories weave in and out of the fabric of time.  Change happens, and …