The Iditarod: The Last Great Race

“The Iditarod: The Last Great Race” is an introduction to the Iditarod sled dog race that occurs annually in Alaska. Students will learn what the race is, and about the elements that make up the race including the mushers, dogs, and hardships. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.4
Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.2
With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.8
With prompting and support, identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.3
With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.2
Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.3
Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
GLE 0001.6.1
Comprehend the main idea of informational texts.
GLE 0001.8.2
Employ a variety of basic reading comprehension strategies.
GLE 0001.8.3
Develop reading fluency and accuracy.
K.12
Explain that a map is a drawing of a place to show where things are located and that a globe is a round model of the Earth.
K.ESS3.1
Use a model to represent the relationship between the basic needs (shelter, food, water) of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.
TSS.ELA.K.FL.F.5
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
TSS.ELA.K.RI.IKI.8
With prompting and support, identify the reasons an author provides to support points in a text.
TSS.ELA.K.RI.KID.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
TSS.ELA.K.RI.KID.3
With prompting and support, orally identify the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
TSS.ELA.K.RL.KID.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
TSS.ELA.K.RL.KID.3
With prompting and support, orally identify characters, setting, and major events in a story.
TSS.ELA.K.SL.CC.2
Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and...
TSS.ELA.K.SL.CC.3
Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be introduced to and understand the following:

  • Iditarod mushers
  • Huskies: mushing dogs
  • Race preparation and hardships
Essential and guiding questions: 

What is the Iditarod?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 
  • To extend the lesson, provide the Iditarod books and Web sites listed in this lesson plan as take-home resources. The students can then explain their new knowledge about the Iditarod with friends and family members.
  • Every year, the Iditarod takes place in March. You can find a list of the mushers and follow their progress throughout the race. Completing this lesson before March will allow your students to follow the mushers during the race. Posting the race route and picking two to three mushers to follow will excite the students and extend their learning.

Helpful Hints

Primary Sources & Materials Used:

  • Alaska--Freighting with dog teams
    • Dog sled arriving from Iditarod (see image at right)
    • Local Legacies: Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
    • Today in History: “Mush! Mush! First Woman Wins Iditarod”
    • America’s Story from America’s Library: Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
  • Web sites:
    • The Teacher’s Corner: Iditarod Printable Worksheets
  • Books:
    • Gill, Shelley. Kiana's Iditarod. Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 1984.
    • Blake, Robert. Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod. New York: Philomel Books, 1997.