This next week our third graders will begin reading the novel Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. The Teacher on the Trail has some great lessons with this book, and her link is below. I like the introduction to the novel in her lesson where she shows the students various book covers and asks them to "notice" things about them all. They put together many clues about what the book is about. That is a great way to start!
Today we learned about musher characteristics for the Iditarod and what types of mushers run the race. This is an adapted lesson from several sources, including the Teacher on the Trail and a teacher named Paul Miller.
We have just started our fraction unit in math, so this really fit perfectly. This is a three part lesson. Yesterday, we used blue and pink notes with each musher photo to write down where they live and whether or not they are a rookie or a veteran. The qualities were:
gender, experience, and residency. We talked a little about what all these words meant! The Iditarod web site has all the information for each musher, and the students had a fun time researching each person. They already know some of the famous mushers, so they were excited!
Once we found that information, today, we used unifix cubes and color coding to make characteristic "towers" for each musher based on those qualities.
male - blue
female - pink
veteran - black
rookie - white
Alaska resident - yellow
lower 48 state resident - red
foreign resident - green
It was clear to see that male veterans who live in Alaska race the Iditarod more than anyone else! See our groupings below.
Tomorrow we will use a graphing program online to find the fractions of each type of musher in the race, and the probability of who will win. Of course, there are other factors! We talked about weather, passion, practice and whether or not a rookie or veteran dog would make a difference in the outcome. Great analyzing going on!! Check out the bottom of the post for links and more photos!
As a follow up to our wonderful Denali National Park Skype, I have a Smilebox video of some of the wonderful sled dog curriculum they offer. We had a great time learning about sled dogs, their positions, and what qualities make a great sled dog. We even got in formation and tried to run like a team! I wonder if we could make it in the Iditarod??
We had our wonderful Skype with Denali National Park! What a wonderful curriculum they have to introduce students to their dogs and the history of dog sledding in Alaska. I learned so much myself! We had a pre-activity where we learned about dog sled formation, and what it takes to be a lead dog, swing dog, team dog, or wheel dog. I had no idea! The students had wonderful questions and ideas. We had several fun hands-on activities and we really dug deep into the adaptations of a sled dog in Alaska. Check out the link above about Denali with all their resources for the classroom. The Puppy Paws videos are priceless!
We had a great time in math this last week with an adapted lesson from Jen Reiter, the Teacher on the Trail. We are learning about angles and parallel lines, so this lesson was perfect. I changed her lesson a little and came up with a rubric for my students to use to create harnesses using paper strips and a rubric. The students loved it! We really learned so much, and I love bringing art into the classroom!
Here is her original lesson:
So, one of my favorite dogs in the world is Des. He is my mother's westie. He is a mess. We love him for this, but he is a whirling dervish on their 12 acres outside Gruene, Texas. My mother sent me this photo of him today...we imagined that he is dreaming of running in snow in Alaska. He loves snow and the cold, and sadly, does not get enough of it here. It got me thinking about what kinds of dogs run the Iditarod, and what kind of amazing animals they are.
The Iditarod Teacher on the Trail, Jen Reiter, put together a lesson about creating a "fantasy Iditarod dog sled team." I have the link below for her "idita-math" lesson where students study the characteristics of great dogs and mushers, and then create their fantasy team. I don't think Des would make any team, but he is a tough little guy with a big heart!
About Ms. Wright
I have taught 20 years, and 17 of them here at EES! I love Project Based Learning and thematic teaching to help lessons come alive! I love animals and respect nature, and I bring that passion to my students! I am thrilled to be a part of this special project!