Iditarod Projects

In my second grade classroom, our CLASSROOM IDITAROD officially begins after our banquet. From that time on, the children may begin the tasks outlined in a packet that is given to students to take home. The same packet, with directions, is also posted on my class Web site. The CLASSROOM IDITAROD is presented as an independent, optional project. It is composed of about 17 activities from which the children choose. Depending on the number of activities that are completed, the children will be able to complete the CLASSROOM IDITAROD in either first, second, or third place. The activities range from solving math problems to assembling a multimedia presentation with an Iditarod theme. I have collected ideas from a variety of sources and some I have created myself, but most have come from teachers who share via the official Iditarod Web site. I am providing my documents here for you to use or modify.
Here is where you will need to do some planning though. Think of your students, your standards, your curriculum. What do you want your students to learn from their activities? What are your expectations? How much time do they need to complete the tasks? Do your students have computers and Internet access from home? If not, you might want to consider building this project into the school days. However, some of these task DO NOT require the use of the Internet. That way, all students can participate no matter what technology their families have.

Some of the Classroom Iditarod activies change change slightly every other year because there are two Iditarod routes. There is a trail followed during the odd years, and a different trail followed during the even years. The reason this happens is because Iditarod organizers wanted to included different towns on the trail (I am referring to the real Iditarod), and it also gives the small towns a break from hosting the event. So, because there there are two separate trails, this will affect some of the activities which are based on following the trail. There are links to the EVEN YEAR ACTIVITIES and the ODD YEAR ACTIVITIES for this reason.
Iditarod Southern Route: From Iditarod Site

Iditarod Northern Route: From Iditarod Site

Here are the documents for the Classroom Iditarod projects (updated 2.2.11).

The Classroom Iditarod
I do not give a deadline until I see how the students are working. There are some projects that require a few weeks to complete. For example, there is one task, called the Idita-read, that requires the children to read one book for each checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail and to then complete five book summaries. If students are completing that task, they need at least a two week. Generally speaking, I give the students about 2-3 weeks to complete tasks. I announce a deadline after about one week.
We have a fifth grade "buddy" class who acts as our Iditarod sponsors during our Classroom Iditarod. So, we do arrange to have a few sessions in our computer lab with our buddies. That way, we are sure that every child will have participated in the CLASSROOM IDITAROD, even if they have not reached third, second, or first place. We celebrate all participants!

I keep a race update posted in our classroom. I use photos of student and a race dog to show the progress of each student. The are posted on a chart when they have turned in their first task. They move into third, second and then into the first place section as they turn in additional assignments. This serves as motivation to other students!