I is for Iditarod: Teachers Hop on the Trail

The Iditarod Alphabet 2017
I is for Iditarod Historic Trail

Iditarod is the name of an old gold mining town that existed during the last gold rush in the early 1900s.  Joe Redington, Sr.,founder of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, lived along the Historic Iditarod Trail, and was friends with the last mail carrier between Rainy Pass and Knik, Lee Ellexson.  Ellexson showed Joe the trail back in the 1950s, and Joe’s dream of preserving the trail began.  Joe loved history and was determined to get the Historic Iditarod Trail on the map.  In 1978 the Iditarod Historic Trail became a recognized trail by Congress, and is one of only 16 that hold the prestigious distinction. 

I is for Iditarod

*For more information on the Iditarod Historic Trail click here, or pick up a copy of Katie Mengelsdorf’s book, Champion of Alaskan Huskies: Joe Redington Sr. Father of the Iditarod.

Today began the 2017 Iditarod Teacher Winter Conference sponsored by ExxonMobil.  The morning began by checking out the new Iditarod Edu website, and learning about all the features the website has to offer.  My favorite part of the website is the video section—it is now categorized and full of kid friendly content.  This is a great way to start the day during the race… a quick video and group discussion about the topic at hand. 

We also had presentations from Jen Reiter, 2014 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™, and Sara Lamont, Iditarod Education team member.  Jen gave teachers a bunch of lesson ideas they could incorporate into their classroom and Sara did a hands on science activity.  For Sara’s lesson the teachers were given ice cubes with letters in them.  Each group had to figure out a way to melt the ice—some put it in warm water, while others rubbed the ice cube between their hands.  This lesson showed us how mushers might melt frozen gear along the trail.  And the letters in the ice spelled out something related to the Iditarod… a great way to also incorporate spelling words or sight words for younger kids.

This afternoon we heard from the three finalists for the 2018 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™: Heidi Sloan, Tammy Drudy, and Kim Busch.  They did a great job sharing their lessons and inviting us into their Iditarod themed classrooms.  In one of their lessons we put “dog booties” onto our “dogs” (aka socks onto chairs– see pictures above).  Check out the finalists website here.  

Overall it was a great first day at the conference, and the teachers are looking forward to vet checks and a trip to Matthew Failor’s kennel tomorrow!