5th graders at Meridian Park follow local musher in the Iditarod

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Students in Mrs. Peterson's and Mrs. Smolen's class
at Meridian Park are studying the Iditarod.
Photo courtesy Shoreline Schools

Fifth Graders in Hannah Peterson and Stephanie Smolen's classes at Meridian Park Elementary are reading winter survival stories in small book clubs of four to six students.

"Three of the books we are enjoying have dog-sledding in them. My students started asking questions about dog-sledding, which led me to some research and the discovery that the 2013 Iditarod was starting on March 2. When I saw we had a local musher, Jan Steves, I knew we had to follow the race! We invited Mrs. Smolen's class next door to join us for our 2013 Iditarod adventure," Peterson said.

Each student researched a different musher and created a short biography about that person. They all researched Jan Steves and decided to root for her. They are using a large map to mark the mushers' locations each day. All the students in the school walk by the map and can follow the race as well. In addition, students are keeping a log with more detailed statistics about their mushers (time in/out of checkpoints, number of dogs in/out, position in the race, mandatory rests, etc.)

This map tracks the daily progress of the race.
Photo courtesy Shoreline Schools

The students are are learning to read statistics and make math-based predictions, tracking and averaging speed of dog-sled teams, how weather patterns affect the mushers and dogs, mapping and geography, skills and tools needed to survive extreme cold climates, how dogs are trained to work as a team, problem-solving strategies for winning a long-distance race and what it takes to reach a goal and live a dream.

"Jan Steves is someone who is racing to fulfill a personal goal and dream. She started mushing later in life and has worked hard to get to the Iditarod. We all have dreams we want to reach in life and need role-models to teach us that with some hard work, we can do anything. Last year Jan came in last place in the Iditarod and she came back to try again this year. We are impressed that she didn't give up!" Peterson said.

Here are some questions Mrs. Peterson asked the kids and some quotes she received :
What is your hope for Jan Steves this year?
"I hope Jan Steves places higher than she did last year because I think she is an amazing musher."
"To be in the top 20 mushers because she is from Edmonds. We hope she gets luckier than 2012. Go Jan Steves!"
"I know Jan is relatively new and a rookie, but I would like her to get a higher place than the Red Lantern award."
What challenges do you think Jan Steves and other mushers will face on the trail?
"They might face deep snow, thin ice and rookies might face longtime pros."
"Challenges mushers will face are sub-zero temperatures, getting sick and really fast mushers."
What do you think it takes to be a musher?
"I think it takes a lot of work because you have to train your dogs and you have to race in the freezing weather."
"You need to be brave, strong and healthy to be a musher".
"For one, you have to be brave. You also have the will to go on. I also think a musher needs to have good gear and know his dogs."
Would you want to be a musher?
"Yes, the reward is huge and I am very competitive."
"I would want to be a musher because I think it would be a good experience to be in the Iditarod or any dog sled race."
What traits do you think a dog should have to be part of the Iditarod dog-sled team?
"I think a sled dog should be big, strong, have good stamina and be well-fed to be on an Iditarod dog-seld team."
"Strength, heart and a love for running."
"Dependable, strong and listen to the musher and lead dog."


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.

Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the Follow.it email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP