Running The Iditarod

The Last Great Race on Earth

The Race Begins March 3, 2001!

A WebQuest for Elementary Gifted Students




Designed by Susan Seagraves

Visit our classroom web site at:


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Teacher's Guide




It's called The Last Great Race on Earth. The Iditarod, a dog-sled race over 1,100 miles of grueling Alaskan terrain, pits man and his dogs against nature.  In this WebQuest you will learn what it is like to compete in this incredible race by assuming the roll of a musher in the  Iditarod, making all the preparations necessary for the race, registering, training,  and finally competing. 


The Tasks

Your task is to complete a diary of your adventures preparing for and running in the Iditarod race.  The diary will consist of daily entries beginning today.  Prior to the beginning of the race, you will have specific assignments which you will complete and enter into your diary.  Once the race begins, you will log on to the internet daily to find out your standing in the race and the events of the day.  You will write diary entries about each day of your race culminating with your crossing the finish line.


This WebQuest will take several weeks to complete.  Some of the activities will be completed by you independently, and others will be completed in class. All materials will be placed in your Iditarod Musher's Diary which will be turned in upon completion of the WebQuest.  


Task 1 


Go to the Iditarod 2000 Official Website  and read about the different mushers participating in this years race.  Choose one of the mushers you would like to represent in this simulation and complete the following diary entry.


The Iditarod SuperSite

Iditarod 2000 Official Website


Diary entry #1

Introduce yourself, and tell a little bit about your life.  Include information about your family, where you are from, your mushing experience, and why you want to run in the Iditarod.  Either download a picture of yourself, or draw one.


Task 2

Every musher in the Iditarod must fill out an application to compete in the race.

Diary entry #2

Using the information you learned about your musher, complete the Iditarod application form and insert it into your diary.


Task 3

Mushers must train hard for the race.  Mushers sometimes race for as many as 11 hours a day, and much of that time is spent running behind the sled.  Using the Internet Resources, research how mushers train for this vigorous race.

Discovery Online: Dog Days in Alaska

Scholastic Network Iditarod Curriculum

Everything Husky


Diary entry #3

Tell how you are training for the race.  Write down your daily training schedule.  Be sure to include details about your training such as how much time you spend with the dogs on the trail each day, what type of terrain you race over, how much sleep you get, what you are eating during training, etc.  Try to include as much information about your physical training as possible.


Task 4

Each musher must have a sled for the race.  Using the internet, research the different parts of a dog sled.

Sled Dog Central

Dog Sleds

Diary entry #4

Design your own dog sled for the Iditarod race. Draw a diagram of your design and label the parts. Next, write a detailed description of your sled including the dimensions and the materials from which it is made.


Tasks  5 & 6

Mushers must gather many supplies for the race.  They ship some of the supplies and food to drop points, and  they carry some food and supplies with them on their sleds.  Using the internet and other reference materials, research the supplies and food each musher will need for the race.

Iditarod 2000 Official Website

Scholastic Network Iditarod Curriculum

Iditarod Vet Information - lots of info. about dog food and supplies


Supplies for the race


Diary entry #5

In your diary make a list of the supplies you will take with you on your sled.  Remember, the more you take, the more weight your dogs will have to pull!  Some items are mandatory according to the rules of the Iditarod.  Be sure to include those items.  When listing your items, be sure to include amounts.  Example:  3 flashlight batteries not just flashlight batteries


Diary entry #6

Make a list of the supplies and food you will ship to each drop point.  Be sure to include amounts!


Task 7

The dogs are very important to your success in completing the race.  Each musher may take as many as sixteen dogs on the race.  Mushers choose their best dogs to compete in the race and continue to train  the dogs up until the race.

Diary entry #7

Tell how many dogs you will be taking on the race.  Give the dogs a name and tell why you chose each one.  Include information about how you train with your dogs and include some general information about commands.

Dog Training

Sled Dog Team Members

Winter Training


Task 8

On the trail you will see many different types of wildlife.  Using the internet and classroom references, research the different types of animals you might find on the trail in Alaska.

Alaskan Animals

Everything Alaska - Your On-Line Source For All Things Alaskan

Alaska 's Best - Wildlife


Diary entry #8

You have been out training with your dogs.  Tell about some of the wildlife you see on your run.  Be sure to include descriptions and information about the wildlife.


Task 9

The temperatures in Alaska are very cold and sometimes drop to as much as 50 degrees below zero!  If mushers get too cold, they can experience hypothermia.  Research on the internet about hypothermia and how to protect against it.


Diary entry #9

Tell about a day you were mushing when it was 50 degrees below zero.  Include information about how you dressed on the trail and things you did to prevent hypothermia.  


Hypothermia and Cold Weather Injuries

Task 10

The big day is finally here!  You've trained for months, shipped your supplies to drop points, you know about what to expect on the trail, you're dogs are ready and so are you!  Today you start the Iditarod.    Click on the link below to see a sample diary entry.

Max Hall's Musher Diary


Diary entries #10 - ?

On the diary entries for the remainder of your WebQuest, you will write about the daily events of the race. You will include information about your race standings, how far you have traveled, the weather conditions, your team, what you ate, etc.  




You will be evaluated for this activity by a point system.  Each diary entry is worth 10 points.  At the end of the WebQuest you will be given an average score for your entries.

An average of 9 or above is excellent

An average of 8 or above is good

An average of 7 or above needs improvement

An average of below 7 is unsatisfactory


Points will be awarded on your diary entry for the following: 

 Elaboration (3 pts)- did you offer detail in your writing?  

Factual information (3 pts)- did you include factual information in your diary entry?  

Creativity (2 pts)- was your diary entry original or did you simply copy information?

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar (2 pts)- Did you write in complete sentences?  Did you use correct spelling and punctuation?

Last updated on February 25,2001