Sled Dog Ed

Sled Dog Ed

Dear Educators,

Wow, the race is getting more and more exciting by the day! It is amazing how things can change in such a moment’s notice. Life is full of changes and during this time of the year, having been born in the Midwest, a big change always occurred. It centered around three letters: DST. We commonly knew of it as “Daylight Savings Time”. Yes that is right, we would “spring” our clocks ahead at the kennel one hour to obtain more daylight hours in the day. That always meant we could get more done with training and keeping the kennel maintenance up because we had more sunlight hours in a day. It also meant more warm sunshine to lie in for rests….important for us retired dogs!!

As a musher, those three letters, DST, do not mean “Daylight Savings Time”. As many of you know, Alaska can have long days of light. However, DST is extremely important to the musher who is watching the run/rest schedule during the Iditarod and making predictions of arrival time in Nome and other checkpoints. You see, D is Distance, S is Speed and T is Time. Using the basic formulas for distance, speed and time, mushers and spectators can begin to predict what day and time the first musher might cross the finish line in Nome. Breaking it up into smaller practice sessions, students can predict what time a musher will arrive at the next checkpoint.

Gathering this information will require you and your class to have access to the GPS Tracker from the Iditarod.com Home Page. You must have an Insider Subscription to use this feature. Once you have launched the GPS Tracker, along the left side will be a listing of the mushers and their mile marker. The map will show the next checkpoint that musher will be checking into in the race. Simply click on the icon for the checkpoint on the map, and it will give a summary of the checkpoint as well as identify its mile marker. Students can then subtract the two to determine how far it is to the next checkpoint.

Next, click on the “X-Zoom to Musher” at the far right of the musher’s name. A pop up window will show you a picture of your musher, the mile he/she is at and also the speed at which your musher is presently travelling. Using the distance to the next checkpoint (or Nome if you are wanting to extend things out that far) and the speed at which the musher is travelling, your students can determine how long it will take him/her to arrive at the checkpoint. Now remember, some mushers will rest during their runs so keep in mind to calculate that in your time as well. Using the “Analytics” icon on the GPS Tracker next to a musher’s name will show your students how long the musher is resting. Also, if your musher needs to take an 8 hour layover, that time must be added to your calculations as well.

Use the following formulas to help your students complete the calculations.(Click on this link,DST, to open an attachment that will give a visual display of these formulas as well.)

Distance = Speed x Time                 Speed = Distance ÷ Time                 Time = Distance ÷ Speed

Here is an example:

Brent Sass is at mile marker #590. The next checkpoint will be Kaltag which is at mile marker #629. Therefore, Brent has 39 miles to travel before arriving in Kaltag. He is travelling about 7.3 mph. How long will it take him to get to Kaltag?

Answer: 39 miles ÷ 7.3 mph = 5.3 hours

Have your students continue to follow the race and make predictions of various kinds using the letters of DST. Who do you think will come in first to Nome? Who has the fastest run time between checkpoints? If a musher is travelling for 3 hours at 6.9 mph, how far has the musher gone? I am sure that you will be able to come up with other DST problems for your students.

As for me, time to set my “dog clock” ahead one hour. Let’s see… it will take me about 20 minutes to get to my dog house in the yard and the distance is approximately 2 miles (after I wander through the puppy lot to admire the future teams), therefore my speed is 0.1 mph. Ahhh….retirement!

~Sled Dog Ed