Science Projects: The Iditarod – What it Takes By Shelby

View a PDF Copy of Shelby’s Science Fair Project: The Iditarod: What it Takes

View a PDF Copy of Shelby’s Science Fair Project: The Iditarod: What it Takes

The Iditarod:  What it Takes 

By Shelby 

San Juan Bautista, California


What does it take to have a successful Iditarod Dog Sled Team?


I think well-trained, well-exercised and well-fed dogs with an

experienced Musher are key to a successful Iditarod dog sled team


I originally thought that I could predict the winner of the Iditarod based on the type of sled raced, diet & exercise of the musher and their dogs, the weather and even lucky charms.  What I found out is that each musher is as unique as their dog sled team.  While there are certain top mushers, it is everybody’s game and you never know who will be the first to Nome.  I want to thank the Iditarod Education Department and the 18 Mushers who took time out of their busy schedule to answer my questions

* Shelby won 1st place at the San Benito County Science Fair after getting a first place medal at school and receiving an A+ on the science project.


Shelby’s Planning:


 By Shelby

5th Grade

Title of Experiment:  The Iditarod – What it Takes!

Question:  What do I want to find out about?  What Does it Take to Have a Champion Dog Sled Team?

Hypothesis: What do I think will happen?  I think that a well-trained, well-exercised and well-fed dog with an experienced musher and a light sled are the key to a champion Iditarod dog sled team

Procedure: How will I find out?

  • Survey Mushers from the Iditarod 
  • Research past winning dog sled teams
  • Research weather patterns in previous races
  • Research sleds of mushers
  • Experiment  with my response from my surveys with my own 2 dogs – Tex & Fisher

Results:What (will) actually happen?  I think my dogs will have a much different result than an actual dog trained to be a sled dog by a real musher.

 Conclusions:  What (will) did I learn?  I will learn what it takes for both dog and musher to compete in the world’s toughest endurance race in a harsh environment.