Mush! On March 3, at 9:30 am, sixty-eight mushers (dog sled drivers) and more than a thousand dogs began the 1149 mile Alaskan Iditarod dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome. In addition to the hundreds of volunteers and fans that show up in person to support the event, classrooms all over the world participate by watching the race enfold over the Internet. Here are five sites that can offer you a virtual front-row seat to this year's event.
"The official site of the last great race." Come here for the latest in Iditarod news and photos, as well as a treasure trove of classroom ideas for teachers and students. Students can follow the reports "written" by Zuma, a canine correspondent with his own email address and discussion forum. Teachers can follow the dispatches written by Diane Nye, the official "Teacher on the Trail." For Iditarod history, a mushing glossary, FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) and the meaning of the Widow's Lamp, click on "General Information."
This Scholastic.com special report is chock full of interactive features such as a March 20th chat with three generations of mushers (Dan, Mitch and Danny Seavey,) and the opportunity to become an Iditarod reporter. To get your story published, pick one of three topics (The Dogs, The Mushers, or The Race) and follow the instructions for online submission. Other great clicks are the musher interviews, a self-scoring quiz, and an article (with an online vote) about why animal activists oppose the race. So far, with more than 99,000 kids polled, 68% believe the sled dogs are treated fairly.
"In 1985 nobody noticed as a woman, slight of frame, left Anchorage in the Iditarod. She was a nobody from somewhere. But when she was the first one to check into Safety - the last checkpoint before Nome - five hours ahead of the nearest competitor, everyone cheered in surprise. At 9 am on Wednesday, March 20th, Libby Riddles became the very first woman to ever win the Iditarod." Women of the Iditarod is just one section of the larger Women in Alaska site, written by two high school students for the 1997 ThinkQuest Internet Competition.