Teaching about Sled Dogs and the Iditarod

Friends~I love teaching about sled dogs and the Iditarod this time of year!  The Iditarod race begins on March 7th! Check out the site above to watch the leader board and see a count down to the race.  There is even a teacher on the trail with great blog posts for students. 

This is the movie that sparked my passion for the great race!  When my daughter Lily was little,  her favorite moving was Balto.  I think I may have watched it with a thousand times over and over! It tells the journey of the famous Balto and how he and the other sled dogs saved Nome, Alaska from an oubreak of diphtheria.   Check it out below!
As a class, we began our journey reading The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford. It is an awesome book that spreads out the tale for young readers.  I have a created a unit to go along with this book perfectly!  Check it out below!

I love to take this unit a step further by bringing in a real live sled dog musher!  She has come the past 2 years and my kiddos are always swept into the frigid world of -30 degrees and the dedication of the sled dogs and the mushers! 
The musher's name is Jjay Levy from Parrotsleds.  
She brings her dogs that have run the Iditarod.  Her truck that she halls them in.  You can see the little cages above.  She even bring her sled for the kiddos to try out! 

This picture gets me every time!  Below are dog tags from the Iditarod.  Each dog that races get them.  
I still can't believe my first graders is holding them!   A party of HISTORY!!!!
She even bring in musher gear for them to try on!  Those a polar bear mittens!!! 
Look at the sweet face poking out of that furry hood.  I love that she talks with the class about why mushers use fur.  She explains that when an animal is killed the whole animal is used.                    Nothing is wasted!

Just after Jjay the musher left, we had recess and it totally melted my heart to see my first graders playing sled dog musher with jump ropes and scooters at recess!  
  I totally piggybacked on their excitement with this fun musher activity from my file above! 
Be sure to grab a free copy of my huskies so that you can do this with your kiddos! Click below!
Happy Mushing!
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