Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Iditarod is Coming!

We have been learning about the Iditarod Race, which will be happening in Alaska beginning on March 2. This race of over 1,000 miles began as a way to commemorate an effort by mushers back in 1925 to save the children of Nome, Alaska. There was an outbreak of a disease called diphtheria. Children were dying because Nome had no serum, or medicine, available to treat it, There was serum available in Anchorage, over 1,000 miles away. The train could only bring it part way, so dog sleds were the only way to go the remaining 674 miles.

The book, The Great Serum Race tells the story of the heroic mushers and their dogs, some of whom you may have heard of, like Balto and Togo. In all, 20 mushers braved the elements and got the medicine to the children of Nome in time to stop the spread of the deadly disease.

Students have also used the Reading A-Z book, The Last Great Race, to learn about the modern Iditarod and what it takes to compete in it. They have been able to highlight their texts to show the various text features and write about how they help them understand nonfiction.

I found an awesome game on the Alaska Kids website called the Serum Run game. it is a simulation game and students have to make many decisions as they race to reach Nome in time to save the sick children. There are options to make the game easier or more difficult. The kids absolutely loved this game, and you could have heard a pin drop as they played it!

After February vacation, we will be having our own Iditarod, as part of Adventure-Based Learning. Mrs. Murray will lead us as we build our sleds, and figure out who will be mushers and who will be the dogs. We will have a course set up right on our playground. Let's hope the snow holds out until Feb. 27th!

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