This is a unit that we actually stumbled into this last winter (1999). After asking the initial question, "The Idita-what?" we began our quest to find out about this oddly named event held in the fridgid Alaskan tundra. What we found was a unique, courageous sport, pitting man against the elements, encouraging teamwork of 'man and beast' and challenging the best of ones survival wits. We were immediately  caught up in the fervor and excitement of the competition, while respecting the competitors, being thankful we could participate from the comforts of our warm home! What followed was a study of one of the most beautiful of our 50 states, rich in heritage and priceless in natural wilderness.


  1. Begin collecting resources in February as the Iditarod takes place each March. 

    1. Origins of the Iditarod:
      1. What is it? 
      2. The Serum Run of 1925
      3. Origin of the word in the Native language
      4. History of the Red Lantern (widow's lamp)
      5. Rules of the Iditarod

    2. Mushers:
      1. Portrait of a Musher
      2. Previous Musher's histories
      3. Providing daily statistic sheets to track the progress of chosen Musher's and their teams.
      4. Contact support with a Musher

    3. Alaska:
      1. History of the state
      2.  Geography of the main features (mountains, rivers, cities, bays, islands, lakes, Iditarod trail)
      3. Wildlife
      4. Living in 'The Bush'
      5. Natives (Aleuts, Indians, Eskimos)
      6. Natural resources

    4. Additional Related Sciences:
      1. The Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights)
      2. Insulation & body fat
  1. Books:

    1. Let's Learn America  - A KidsCan! Book (a book of the 50 states, refer to Alaska section)
    2. ...If You Lived in the Alaska Territory - Nancy Smiler Levinson 
    3. Woodsong - Gary Paulsen, autobiography of a Musher

    4. (highly recommend)
    5. Scrub Dog of Alaska - Walt Morey
    6. Alaska Atlas & Gazetteer - Delorme Mapping
    7. Stone Fox - John Reynolds Gardiner
    8. The Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the Alaskan Gold Rush - (Once Upon America) Barthe Declements

    You can use most any atlas of Alaska, in place of the one listed. There are also several books that give state-to-state facts and such. 
  3. Videos:

    1. The Long Run: Iditarod XX
    2. Alaska's Great Race: The Susan Butcher Story
    3. Wild Alaska I
    4. Wild Alaska II
    5. Braving Alaska - (National Geographic

    6. Families living in the Bush
Iditarod Anchorage snowshoes haw
serum scratched Musher diphtheria
icehook gangline Aurora Borealis gee
medicine checkpoint ptarmigan aspiration
Aleutian Islands swingdog hibernate competition


Lessons 1-3
Lessons 4-6
Lessons 7-10 (& additional links)


* Musher's Daily Statistic Sheets

* The Last Great Race on Earth

* The 1925 Serum Run to Nome

* Iditarod History

* What does Iditarod Mean? and other FAQs

* Terminology

* Story of the Widow's Lamp &
Story of the Red Lantern


Graphics thanks to Silverhawk's Creations 
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