Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race

February 28, 2013

Students in the Endeavor Mathematics class are currently working on a project following the Great Dog Sled Race across Alaska.  The race is held each year from Anchorage to Nome, across the wild frontier.  Teams of eager dogs and mushers wait for the race to start by preparing for the event for a full year.  The first Saturday in March each year is when they all depart.  The race honors the race in 1925 when sled dogs brought medicine to keep people alive due to an outbreak of diphtheria

The students each chose three mushers from the entrants for 2013 which consisted of sixty-six, some of who are veterans and some are rookies.  They will follow the progress of their mushers daily to keep track of how he or she is doing in the race and the time it took them to travel from one checkpoint to the next checkpoint.  The Iditarod Trial they travel is around 1,150 miles long.  Because it is so very cold, sometimes things can go wrong.  The musher may encounter blizzards, or even a moose or two, which is a dangerous animal to racers when it appears out of the blue. 

Dogs and mushers keep moving until the race is done.  The first musher to cross the finish line on the streets of Nome is the winner and takes home the winning trophy and the prize money.  When the last team crosses the finish line the race is then complete.  Last place gets a Red Lantern trophy for accomplishing the great feat and not quitting even though he/she finishes last.

The Endeavor students have read stories about the Iditarod and then answered questions.  Also, many problems of mathematics using all operations have been used to solve real world word problems including the basic operations along with time problems.  There are also word searches, mazes and vocabulary to be tackled.  Finally, if the movie can be located, the students will watch the movie "Iron Will" which is about a young man that races his father's dog sled team in a race.