Teacher's Journal

Moments with Mushers: Equipment

  As the mushers start to get ready for the upcoming race, the task of organizing all of their supplies and equipment is beginning to take place. Much like last month’s post about their most important piece of clothing, I asked some of the mushers about their most valued piece of equipment on the trail. …

Update from the Teacher on the Trail™

  2020 was certainly a year of change, and one that nobody will forget. One of the credos of my school district is “Adapt and Adjust”, and that has never been more important than it was this year. With this in mind, I have deferred my Teacher on the Trail™ trail experience until the 2022 …

Learning in Nikolai

Paws Along the Trail with Hospitality Early this morning while mushers were traveling with their dogs through Finger Lake and Rainy Pass, I waited with a group of veterinarians, trail volunteers, communications people, media reporters, and others to jump on a plane and leave Anchorage.  We flew to the community of McGrath.  If you look …

Gold and the Iditarod

 Paws Along the Trail with the Gold Rush Gold. Just hearing someone say the word creates interest and a desire to eavesdrop. The Iditarod Trail is remembered for the path it created for winter travel from the gold mines to the ports, usually by dog team.   Between the gold mines and mail carrying, dog teams …

Dog Team Hitches and Math

Paws Along the Trail with Hitches and Math Most of us picture a dog sled team harnessed in tandem along a gangline, pulling a sled.  For the Iditarod teams, this formation keeps the dogs closer together which is good for narrow, wooded trails.  Pulling power is  concentrated.  Dog teams can also be hitched into a fan formation where the …

Misconceptions and More: Passing

  Thinking about some common misconceptions with the race, I was drawn to a parallel with this time of year. With the passing of 2020 (thankfully) and the aspirations of a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the rule of passing in the Iditarod and the misunderstandings surrounding it. NOW, with …

Classroom Connections: Husky Art Drawing (Virtual Lesson Possibility)

  Throughout the years of my teaching about the Iditarod, I have always had a lot of  support from the special areas teachers at my school. These teachers have always been so collaborative, that I wanted to make sure that I included some lessons that can be used with their class content as well. So …

Moments with Mushers: Clothing

  Every musher has their own preferences – on just about everything. So when it comes to the clothing they take on the trail, it is no different. I asked some mushers what their most important piece of clothing is, and how it has changed over the years. As technology constantly improves and new materials …

Misconceptions and More: Red Lantern vs. Widow’s Lamp

  (Imagine this being spoken in the sultry, incomparable voice of the Iditarod Insider’s Greg Heister – at least that’s how I imagine it). “The finish line… what every musher pictures in their mind after they leave Willow and the restart of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. A mere 1,000 miles through weather and terrain …

Classroom Connections: The Red Lantern Award

The Red Lantern has always been, for me, an award that is a matter of perspective. However, more recently it has become a great teaching tool. Through my years of teaching about the Iditarod, students have always asked why there is an award for the last place finisher. This prompts many discussions and stories of …