Idita-Warm-up Activity

Lesson Summary:  Cover the distance to Nome by counting laps jogged for warm-up as miles.  Students decide how many days it will take the class to finish the race.  They create a strategy to reach their goal much that same as the mushers do for the race.   The class keeps track of their progress on a large wall map.  Students give a report each day on the trail conditions, terrain and weather for the portion of the trail that will be covered.

Procedural Activities:  Prior to Iditarod, students will be assigned preliminary research including 1) winning time of previous Iditarod races using the northern route; 2) time of the last place finisher; 3) the Widows Lamp and 4) the Red Lantern Award.  With this information, the class as a whole will set a goal and create a strategy for finishing the race.  One lap of the gym equals one mile in the 1049-mile journey to Nome.  Divide the actual number of miles by the number of students in the class.  That is the number of laps each student will have to do each day for the class to arrive in Nome.  Divide the number of laps per student by the number of days it takes to do the Iditarod.  The winner will reach Nome in about 9 days.  The final musher will reach Nome in about 14 days.  Figuring the number of laps each student will have to do each day, consider the following questions.  Can we win the Iditarod?  Can we finish in the top half?  Can we finish before the Red Lantern?  Set a goal based on what the students think is realistic.  Create a strategy (laps/day/student) to accomplish your goal.  This strategy parallels the strategy or plan the mushers create for the race.  Of course, there are unforeseen circumstances – students might be absent or unable to participate – which might call for modifying the plan and creating a new strategy.  Track the progress of the class on a trail map.  Ideally, math classes could create a scaled version of the Iditarod trail on a wall in the gym or a nearby hallway.  Students can compare their progress to that of the mushers.  Comparing progress to the mushers is easiest if Physical Education meets 5 days/week.  With 2 or 3 days of PE per week, your race will be run over a longer period of time but still can be compared to the time of the winning musher.  If a large scale Iditarod trail isn’t feasible, then a smaller wall map will do.  EXAMPLE: 22 students in class  (1059 miles / 22 students  = 48.13 laps) If the class decides to finish in 10 days, divide the number of laps for each student by 10 to come up with the number of laps each student must do each day.  (48/10=4.8)  Round this up to 5 laps of the gym for a warm-up.  Setting a goal of 8 days would require 6 laps.  With 22 kids doing 5 laps each day, the class moves 110 miles.


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