ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Iditarod: A Homeschool Unit Study

Updated on May 1, 2012

The Iditarod - Commemorating How Alaskan Sled Dogs Saved a Community

The materials presented here are meant to provide teachers (both at home and in the classroom) with a plethora of ideas and resources to pull from. You'll find suggested readings, living books, lapbooking materials, printables and extensive links to background information.

What Are You Looking For? - What led you to this lens?

What are you most looking for in regards to a unit study on the Iditarod?

See results

Appetite and Attitude - Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey

Where Do I Begin - Ideas to help integrate other subjects into your unit study

Use the suggestions here to help you build an elaborate unit study that encompasses all subject areas.

  • Art Connections

    1. Study the artwork of Pacific Northwest Indians and Inuits.

    2. Create a family totem pole using an Alaskan native animal to represent each family member.

    3. Carve Arctic animals in ivory soap.

    4. Create watercolor paintings of Balto, Arctic Wolves, and other Arctic animals.

    5. Do a crayon resist watercolor painting of the Aurora Borealis or northern lights.

  • Science Connections

    1. Investigate the geograpy & climate of Alaska.

    2. Watch a movie about the Arctic or dog sledding... Iron Will, 8 Below, etc.

    3. Write a report about an Arctic Animal. Younger children may do copywork or sort pictures of Arctic Animals.

    4. Go on a guided snow shoe walk with a naturalist or Forest Service volunteer.

    5. Check the weather conditions at the checkpoints.

    6. Do a body fat experiment.

  • History Connections

    1. Learn about the Serum Run.

    2. Add the Serum Run and inaugural Iditarod to your Book of Centuries.

    3. Research how the musher prepares for the race, including the supplies needed, clothing, food and equipment.

    4. Make a model of a dog sled with popsicle sticks and label the parts of the team.

    5. Scan the newspaper for articles about the Iditarod.

  • Math Connections

    1. Print musher stat sheets to record the progress of each musher.

    2. Create probability graphs for this years participants.

  • Language Arts Connections

    1. Create a lapbook.

    2. Write a letter to a musher.

    3. Write a letter to the Alaska Chamber of Commerce.

    4. Do research on Arctic animals. Younger learners can do research along side an older partner and do copywork.

  • Social Studies / Multicultural Connections

    1. Make a map of Alaska. Use the map to follow your selected mushers along the course of the Iditarod race.

    2. Learn about each of the checkpoints along the race course.

    3. Research the native tribes of Alaska and create report in any format you prefer (video, pictures from National Geographics, sample of food, or make a tribal craft).

    4. As a family, enjoy a real sled dog ride or a virtual one.

    5. Learn how the musher prepares for the race, including the supplies needed, clothing, food, equipment, etc.

    6. Learn about Alaska Malamutes, the most ideal dog suited to sledding sports. Also learn about dog care on the race and the training of the dogs from pup to adult sled dog.

    7. Be a virtual musher by playing this interactive, online game.

Build Your Library - Great books and other resources to supplement your Iditarod study.

All About Alaska - From the history, culture, art and natural phenomena... you'll find it here.

As you build your unit study, consider lessons on the state of Alaska, its native peoples and dog sledding!

Do You Lapbook?

Creative expression and application

A lapbook is basically an educational learning tool made from a file folder. They can be done at the close of your unit studies to highlight key points the kids have learned - a place to glue projects or little books they've made for the unit, be based solely on a book your child has just read or help reinforce skills or concepts. It can be used to document what your children have learned or even to display and refer back to.

Printables & Lapbooking Resources - Iditarod and Alaska themed lapbooking materials

If you enjoy lapbooking, then this list is a must! The following links will help you create fabulous lapbooks.

Share & Collaborate

This link provides the opportunity to collaborate with others who share an interest in the Iditarod. Many have followed the Iditarod with their students in the past and can share 'what works' and 'how to'.

What Is Your Impression? - Please take a moment to leave a little blurb... I value your feedback.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Not only is the subject matter interesting information for students to learn the race is a great teaching tool to teach the skills students need in all sorts of areas. I used it in middle school to teach word processing skills, to practice skills in reading nonfiction, poetry, evaluating and summarizing, mapping, and more. Have you looked at the Education Portal of the Iditarod official website? It contains many lesson plans and ideas, as does the blog for the yearly Iditarod Teacher on the Trail. For the 2015 race, this teacher is a middle school teacher. The blog also has archives of past Iditarod Teachers' on the Trail lesson plans and posts.

    • EvaVarga profile imageAUTHOR

      Eva Varga 

      6 years ago from NorCal

      @anonymous: Great idea! When I first taught this unit, we were fortunate to live in Central Oregon and were able to go on a ride with a dog sled team near Mt.Bachelor. It was an awesome experience. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      On occasion I'd be asked to visit schools with our dogs. It is something I would recommend, many mushers are open to the idea. There is always the possibility of attending a race as well and seeing something in person, at least on a small scale.

    • Michelllle profile image


      6 years ago

      White Fang is one of my favorite books.

    • EvaVarga profile imageAUTHOR

      Eva Varga 

      7 years ago from NorCal

      @iijuan12: Thank you! I will add you as well. :)

    • iijuan12 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      I just wanted to let you know that I'm featuring your fabulous lens on my lens about Alaska: .

    • iijuan12 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      This is GREAT! It will come in handy when we study Alaska in a few weeks. Thank you so much!!! Blessed and liked.

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens! I'm going to lensroll this to my Iditarod Lapbook lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank you for so generously sharing! I have two homeschooled boys who are so excited about doing the eIditarod!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank you for all the information. I am homeschooling 4 children, 3rd through 9th grade. We are doing the Iditarod project for the first time and the kids are really excited.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)