The Iditarod & Math

In this 7-minute video grade 4 teacher Todd Hausman explains and demonstrates how his students apply their understanding of elapsed time and the time/rate/distance relationship to follow the progress of mushers in the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska. Using real-time tracking data, students collaborate to find the mean (average) traveling speed of their chosen Iditarod musher, and predict their arrival time at checkpoints. This resource includes a lesson plan and transcript of the video (downloadable .doc files) and a link to the teacher page of the official Iditarod website.
(2 Comments)
Contributed by: Teaching Channel - Publisher, Todd Hausman - Author, Doug Lyons - Editor
Math TopicMeasurement, Number Sense, Decimals, Fractions, Basic Operations, Mathematical Practices, Mathematical Processes, Other Math Topic
Grade Level4, 5, 6+
Resource TypeActivity, Instructional Strategy, Lesson Plans, Video

• Additional Information
• AudienceEducator
• LanguageEnglish (USA)
• Education TopicIntegrating technology, Teaching strategies
• Interdisciplinary ConnectionTechnology, Social Studies
• Professional DevelopmentYes
• ContributorTeaching Channel - Publisher, Todd Hausman - Author, Doug Lyons - Editor
• Publication Date2012
• RightsCopyright (c) 2012 Teaching Channelhttps://www.teachingchannel.org/terms
• AccessFree access
• Standards
• Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Select a standards document:

• User Comments
• Iditarod is cruel to dogs
By SledDogAction on 04/19/2012 - 10:09
• Please don't use the Iditarod as a teaching tool. What happens to dogs during the Iditarod includes death, bloody diarrhea, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, kennel cough, broken bones, torn muscles and extreme stress. At least 142 dogs have died in the race, including two dogs who froze to death in the brutally cold winds. Veterinary care during the Iditarod is poor. Here's just one example: Veterinarians have allowed dogs with kennel cough to race in the Iditarod even though dogs with this disease should be kept warm and given lots of rest. It's dangerous for the dogs with this disease to exercise with any intensity. Strenuous exercise can cause lung damage, pneumonia and even death. Kennel cough is a highly contagious disease that normally lasts from 10 to 21 days. Iditarod dogs are beaten into submission. Jane Stevens, a former Iditarod dog handler, describes a dog beating in her letter published by the Whitehorse Star (Feb. 23, 2011). She wrote: "I witnessed the extremely violent beating of an Iditarod racing dog by one of the racing industry's most high-profile top 10 mushers. Be assured the beating was clearly not within an 'acceptable range' of 'discipline'. Indeed, the scene left me appalled, sick and shocked. After viewing an individual sled dog repeatedly booted with full force, the male person doing the beating jumping back and forth like a pendulum with his full body weight to gain full momentum and impact. He then alternated his beating technique with full-ranging, hard and fast, closed-fist punches like a piston to the dog as it was held by its harness splayed onto the ground. He then staggeringly lifted the dog by the harness with two arms above waist height, then slammed the dog into the ground with full force, again repeatedly, all of this repeatedly." During the 2007 race, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Jon Saraceno wrote in his column in USA Today, "He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens. Or dragging them to their death." Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." He also said, "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers..." Former Iditarod dog handler Mike Cranford wrote in Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper: "Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses....." Iditarod dog kennels are puppy mills. Most mushers have more than 50 dogs. Some have more than 100. Mushers breed large numbers of dogs and routinely kill unwanted ones, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, including those who have outlived their usefulness or have no economic value, are killed with a shot to the head, dragged, drowned or clubbed to death. FOR MORE FACTS: Sled Dog Action Coalition, http://www.helpsleddogs.org
• Great project if you have the time!
By bethb on 01/08/2013 - 16:03
• This is a great project, if you have the time and the computers to complete it. This would be best completed in connection with a story our 4th graders read on the Iditarod. This is also a great opportunity to teach students about cultures around the world and their traditions!