We have started down the trail with our Iditarod Math Unit! For the next three months or so, we will be exploring probability, area and perimeter, counting money and making change, telling time and finding elapsed time, graphing, and lots and lots of problem solving all while immersing ourselves in The Last Great Race.
We officially launched our unit on Thursday by reviewing what we had learned in our Denali Skype program – The Science of Sled Dogs. The boys were AMAZING in their ability to recall what they had learned about the adaptations sled dogs have that help them thrive in their environment and what characteristics help them excel in different positions in the team.
All of that set us up for our first activity on Friday… The Fantasy Iditarod Dog Team Draft!
Each boy drafted a team of 16 dogs to “pull” them down the trail. They needed to choose two lead dogs, two swing dogs, ten team dogs, and two wheel dogs. Lots of good conversations were had as they debated the merits of loading their team positions with extra leaders, positioning male and female dogs together or apart, youth vs. experience, and so on and so on.
To draft their teams, each boy visited the websites of six kennels who are running in this year’s Iditarod. At the sites they were able to view pictures and read little bios or stories about the dogs.
The teams will score points based on where the kennel’s team finishes in the race. So for example, if a student drafted six dogs from Angie Taggart’s team, and she finishes in 20th place, the student earns points for each of those dogs. If the kennel’s team scratches, then the student would not earn any points for those six dogs, but could still earn points for the other ten.
Which brought up another big decision… do you put all your eggs in one basket and choose dogs from just one kennel in the hopes that kennel does well? Or do you choose dogs from all six kennels and hope several people do well?
In order to “draft” a dog, the students had to complete a team chart showing what position the dog would be in the team, their name, age, sex, kennel, and their reason for choosing them.
We may get a sneak peek into how successful our teams will be as some of the kennels are running in the Yukon Quest that starts this weekend.
Anticipation is high… everyone is sure they have the BEST team!