Iditarod: The First Ten Years – Unstoppable Dogs


IDITAROD: THE FIRST TEN YEARS – reading informational text to compare, contrast, analyze, and synthesize

This month’s lesson prompt about the stars of the race is based on the book The First Ten Years pages 274 – 285 from the chapter “Unstoppable Dogs”. On these pages, early mushers describe their iconic dogs.

Teachers should read and preview all pages before deciding how to use them in the classroom.  With teacher accommodations, these ideas can apply to a wide range of grade levels.  Students can read the pages themselves or a teacher can read aloud these pages as students take notes in graphic organizers or in a class set of notes.

Lesson ideas:

Compare/contrast the dogs in these ways:  name, physical attributes, personalities, and accomplishments. Identify common characteristics as well as unique characteristics.  Then summarize the qualities that make a musher’s “dream dog”.

Create and give a presentation showcasing these special dogs. 

Design a brochure or museum display highlighting one or more of these notable canines.

Survey current mushers and their “star” team members to analyze if current desirable traits in dogs match the original mushers’ needs and wants.

These accounts are excellent for examples of personification as well.

Educators may purchase a copy of The First Ten Years at cost, $30.00. Email for the discount code.

grade level: 2 – 9

subject:  language arts – Informational Text

College and Career Readiness Standards practiced in this lesson:

Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).

Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.