Friday, February 03, 2006

Iditarod -- Resources for a Great Study

We finally started our map of the trail today. In the eIditarod unit study, folks make all different kind of maps to track the race. Some use salt-dough and make a relief map of the trail, others get a huge piece of paper and draw the map on the paper. But the best idea (especially when you have three littles who are all trying to be helpful!) was to take a tri-fold board (the kind that sell BIG at Science Fair time) and mount a AAA map to it.

Well this we've done -- and a beautiful board we have! Uisng the official trail map, we were able to plot the course with all the check-in stations noted. and we still have lots of space to add notes and information about the Iditarod.

We've lived in Austria, so they sort of remember snow, but now that we're in the South -- snow is definitely a memory. To see videos and read books about the conditions these folks race in -- it's got them all wide-eyed!

Here are the picture books we've read today:

  • Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod (by Robert J. Blake) -- this is about a dog that wants to be part of his owner's sled team. At one point, he gets separated from the team and has to run the Iditarod all by himself. A great story with wonderful pictures of the dogs.
  • Mush! Across Alaska in the World's Longest Sled-Dog Race (by Patricia Seibert) -- this is a GREAT kids' book about the running of the race. It gives a bit of history and then talks about the actual running of the dog-sleds, what some of the rules are, and how grueling the overall 10-30 days of the race can be.
  • Togo (by Robert J. Blake) -- this is a true story about the Great Serum Race of 1925 from Anchorage to Nome (the forebear of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race). This is the before-Balto portion. Togo and his owner raced out of Nome down the trail to get the serum as quickly as possible as kids in Nome were dying of diptheria -- they almost overshot the serum-bearing sled coming into Shaktoolik. Then they raced the portion back to Nome, meeting Balto and his sled about 50 miles out of Nome.
  • The Great Serum Race - Blazing the Iditarod trail (by Debbie S. Miller) -- this tell sthe true story of the Great Serum Race of 1925. The race for life built of a dog-sled relay from 300 miles north of Anchorage (the end of the rail line) through the over 700 miles wilderness of Alaska to bring the life-saving diptheria serum to the boom-town on Nome.

These were wonderful read-alouds which have really gotten the kids interested in this area of our coutnry -- almost antipodal from our spot here in South Carolina.

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