Primary Source of the Month: March

One of the iconic images of the Iditarod is the Burled Arch that stands at the end of the epic journey the teams take across the state of Alaska. But, did you know the current Burled Arch is actually the second arch in Iditarod History?

Using the Source With Students:

  • Display the historic photo above for your students and have them share what they See, Think, and Wonder about the artifact.
  • Obviously, this arch marks the finish line in Nome. Since the race isn’t traveling to Nome this year, an alternative finish line will be needed.
  • Share with the students that legend has it that during the first Iditarod, the winner was coming down Front Street in Nome when the gathered fans realized there was no finish line! Someone ducked into a shop, grabbed some Kool-Aid and drew a line in the snow!
  • Have them think about what could be done to mark the finish line this year. They could brainstorm a list of ways to show the finish line or draw a picture to show their plan.
  • Students could compare and contrast the original arch with the current arch (shown below) using a Venn Diagram. You can click on both pictures to get larger images.
  • If you have more time, here is a building challenge that has the students build their own version of the finish line: Reaching the Finish Line Lesson
  • This lesson plan above also includes an excerpt from Iditarod: The First Ten Years compiled by The Old Iditarod Gang that would make a great reading for the students to learn about the arch.

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