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Track the Trek

Subject: Geography, Math
Grade: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12


Brief Description

Students study the Iditarod routes on maps and calculate the distances between various checkpoints on the routes.



  • learn the meanings of the words musher and checkpoint
  • learn about the routes for the Iditarod
  • calculate distances between different checkpoints.


Iditarod, musher, trek, map, route, checkpoints

Materials Needed


  • printouts of a map showing this year's Iditarod route
  • markers
  • paper
  • pens or pencils
  • calculator (optional)
  • computer(s) with Internet access (optional)
  • ruler

Lesson Plan


  • Discuss general information about the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Discuss the meanings of the words musher and checkpoint. Read the definition from What is a Musher?
  • Explain that there are two routes for the Iditarod. In even-numbered years, the mushers and their dog teams follow the northern route. In odd-numbered years, the teams follow the southern route. Ask students to tell which route the teams will follow in this year's race.
  • Make copies of a map showing both routes from the sites listed below. Discuss the similarities and differences in the routes.
    The Trail
    Iditarod Northern Route Map (Even-numbered years)
    Iditarod Southern Route Map (Odd-numbered years)
  • Organize students into small groups. Assign half of the groups the northern route and the rest of the groups the southern route.
  • Have groups closely study their assigned trails and calculate the distances between checkpoints, using rulers and calculators or paper and pencils or pens. Briefly review how to use the scale on a map.

More Information
See the Iditarod Trail Map for a map that details mileage between checkpoints. The chart below each map indicates mileage. Click each checkpoint link to learn more about that checkpoint and the trail.


Evaluate students' calculations.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lois Lewis

National Standards

Social Sciences:



Links last updated 03/01/2012