Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hike! Gee! Haw!

My friend Wendy piqued my interest in the Iditarod a couple of years ago. I am not one to put something together at the last minute, so we didn't do it last year. We didn't do it this year because I was due with a baby at about the time the race was starting. So, finally, Iditarod 2010 here we come! I know it is a bit early to be posting this, but you know I plan all my stuff over the summer so I don't have to go back and plan stuff over the school year.

We are going to do a notebook/lapbook type thing (I maybe need to come up with a word for this- lapping notebook?) and since we have recently made some wonderful friends in Alaska, we going to study the whole state. We'll do this study for 15 weeks for the second half of our school year. (The first half we are going to do a study of Africa. Africa to Alaska? I know, what a contrast!) We will do Geography one afternoon a week. I am planning on taking the week that the Iditarod is actually going on, off from regular schoolwork and we'll just focus on some read alouds and daily musher tracking and updates, and that sort of thing.

I've tried to include websites with most of the material we'll be using, but a few of the things that I have I didn't get from the internet.

The Official Iditarod site.

Homeschool in the Woods has a great Alaska/Iditarod unit study.

Scholastic has some Iditarod information, and some ideas in their Teacher guide that you may want to include.

Here is is a wealth of Iditarod information, things to print and links to other The Iditarod Airforce site has some information and pictures.

How about an Iditarod Tic Tac Toe? We will also use the coloring page from this site.

We will use the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky pages from Enchanted Learning.

Here are some different activities to print, but we will only use the "Alaska map quiz" from this page.

We are going to include this thermometer idea.

Here are some good dog and sled color pages.

Here is a pattern to make dog booties. I know there are other patterns out there, but I can't seem to find them and this one is pretty simple. There are also neat directions for an Eskimo wooden sled. (That we will not make.)

Here are instructions for making a popsicle stick dog sled.

Homeschool Share has several studies to go with Alaska/Iditarod related books, we won't be doing all of these, but I thought I would include them. Generally with any prepared study, I always just pick and choose the things that stand out to me.

Baby in a Basket by Gloria Rand

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill

Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett Also, I am planning on making a felt story for this book from the color pages on Jan Brett's website.

And, a study on Polar animals.

A Moose cam

Alsaka Cam

The start of the race should be able to be seen on this cam.

Here are some neat pictures of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Some of them are taken of the South Pole, but they are neat.

Take a self guided lesson on Aurora's. This will be a great tie in with the astronomy unit we are doing.

Here is another Aurora site with pictures, but I specifically bookmarded this site for the photo showing the sun's movement across the horizon in Fairbanks. The picture is on the right hand column of the page.

Here are some good pictures of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I have not read the information on this site, we are just going to discuss what happened, and the impact it had on the ecosystem. Here are some experiments if you would like, but we aren't going to do any of these because quite frankly, oil and seven children equals MESS. And, we are doing other experiments for our science lessons anyway, and we will do the insulation experiment from the unit from Homeschool in the Woods.

Here are some some of Alaska's volcanocams.

Some info on polar bears.

How about these printouts of the flag, map, bird and flower.

We'll hightlight the Iditarod rules.

Here is a book and video list. I haven't looked at all of these, but most of these titles kept turning up again and again in my research. I'm planning on choosing the ones that are available at our library. You can just use what books you have collected or what you have available at your own library. We will use some of the chapter books as read alouds when we take the week of the Iditarod to just focus on the race itself. I won't really have time to preview all of these books now, but I WILL look them over/read through them before I actually sit down to use them with the kids. Please just be forewarned to do the same and use your own discretion.


Woodsong by Gary Paulson

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

The Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the Alaskan Gold Rush" by Barthe Declements

The Alaska Purchase by Daniel Cohen

Aurora: The Mysterious Northern Lights by Candace Savage

Baby in a Basket by Gloria Rand

The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett

Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod" by Robert Blake

Storm Run: The Story of the First Woman to Win the Iditarod Sled Dog Race" by Libby Riddles

The Great Serum Race: Blazing the Iditarod Trail by Debbie Miller

Balto and the Great Race by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Togo by Robert Blake

The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill

"Iditarod Classics" and "More Iditarod Classics" by Lew Freedman

Adventures of the Iditarod Air Force by Ted Mattson

The Mystery on Alaska's Iditarod Trail by Carole Marsh

The Iditarod Dream: Dusty and His Sled Dogs Compete in the Junior Iditarod" by Ted Wood


Iron Will, Call of the Wild, Balto, Eight Below, Snow Dogs, and we have various documentaries on Alaska at our library.

I went through and collected all the printouts and ideas that I had and made a basic frame for my 15 week study. Your outline doesn't have to look like this, or be 15 weeks. It could be longer or shorter and you can cover whatever topics you want. Here is the basic framework and what we will cover, but I'm not including the exact lesson plans because yours will look different depending on how many weeks you choose, topics you choose and resources that you own or have at your library.

We also are going to use some tracing paper to make map overlays.
Week 1: Introduction to Alaska (facts, population, temperatures, etc)

Week 2: Maps (Overlays to include cities, bodies of water, mountains/volcanoes, Iditarod trail, artic circle)

Week 3: Maps/Volcanoes and Mountains (compare elevations with other US mountain ranges)

Week 4: Wildlife

Week 5: History (Alaska Purchase/Gold Rush and timeline)

Week 6: Poems and Stories (Alaska poetry/legends/felt story with "Three Snow Bears"

Weeks 7-11: Iditarod (We will actually spend the entire tenth week off from regular school to do just Iditarod stuff.) map overlay of the trail, anatomy of a dog team/sled, supplies, food, command terms, race rules, read alouds, recipes, videos, crafts, etc.

Week 12: Native People (Inuit)

Week 13: Native People (Naives other than Inuit; totem poles)

Week 14: Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights

Week 15: Natural Resources-Oil

All of the children will be doing Geography together. The oldest two (9th & 7th grades) will be doing the map overlays, minibooklets on the different subjects, timeline, and smaller informational booklets and things to include for the notebooks (three ringed binders) like facts, rainfall, population, etc. The middle two (4th and 2nd grades)- and possibley the 1st grader- will do more simple maps and booklets and color sheets to include in their notebooks. Although I think I will have the 4th grader do a three ringed binder and the 2nd and 1st grader (and probably the 4yo) do just pronged folders. The 2yo will have a limited attention span so he will mostly do the color sheets, maybe play with the felt stories and look at the books or play with legos while we read. Or whatever else will keep him busy and not fussy. :)


Anonymous said...

Another resource which is actuallying in SC is:
Run by a friend who went to CIU, you can arrange to take your kids to see his dogs and the teams. He gives rides on his sled (Yes, SC has snow but he races with different kinds of sleds). He has also been to Alaska and helped a friend run the I.
Alisa Fulton

Courtney said...

Wow! I didn't think we'd get "hands on" all the way down here in SC. I'll definately look into that-thanks Alisa!

Wendy said...

More great links! I hope I can get the boys more involved this year. I'll be glad to share my books with you! Thanks for putting all these great posts together. You are amazing. :)

Courtney said...

Thanks, Wendy. I would love to borrow the Iditarod Mystery. I personally read through the other ones- I would also like to read a few excerpts to the kids from the ones that had the short writeups about the different mushers.

Anonymous said...

We follow the Iditarod every year. WE love it!! We follow the same six mushers year after year and usually at least one or two rookies. I purchased the Iditard map from their website and I print out the tracking forms. Each musher is assigned a sticky tab color that is placed on the map and the tracking form. I usually glue the tracking form down to cardstock and put their bio on the back. My son's favorite musher is DeeDee Jonrowoe. He wrote to her one year and she wrote back to him. She's very sweet. Enjoy!! And by the way, I don't think your first post was offensive at all. As a first time reader to your blog, I will say that I will pray for you and your family. I will continue to follow and hope things improve for you!! Blessings, prayers, and cyberhugs to you.

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