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Everybody Is a Winner in the Iditarod:
A Primary-Source Activity



Return to Iditarod Brrrreathes Life Into Tired Curriculum (Brrrr!)



Educational Technology


  • Statistics
Social Studies
  • Current Events
  • History
    • State History



  • 3-5
  • 6-8


Brief Description

Students use a primary source document to answer questions about Iditarod winners. Work sheet included.



Students will
  • learn about the history of the Iditarod.
  • use primary source materials to answer questions.


Iditarod, self-esteem, Alaska, race, primary source, champion, Anchorage, Nome

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students use primary source documents that list the Iditarod Champions and Red Lantern Winners throughout the history of the Iditarod to answer questions on a student work sheet.

Notice that, in the Iditarod, everybody is a winner! An award is even given to the last person to complete the race each year -- recognition that the Iditarod is a grueling test of mental and physical endurance. The last finisher is presented with a red lantern that has hung at the finish line in Nome since the start of the race. The longest time on the trail for a Red Lantern Award finisher was 32 days, 15 hours, nine minutes and one second (John Schultz, 1973). The quickest Red Lantern musher was David Straub with a time of 14 days, 05 hours, 38 minutes and 12 seconds. Will this year's Red Lantern winner break Straub's record?

Provide each student with a copy of the Everybody Is a Winner in the Iditarod work sheet. The activity can be

  • completed in the computer lab.
  • set up in a classroom computer learning center.
  • completed as seatwork if the chart is 1) copied onto chart paper for all to see or 2) projected (using an overhead projector or a projector connected to a computer) on a wall.
  • completed as homework; each student needs a copy of the Champions and Red Lantern Winners document.


Students achieve a score of at least 6 of 8 questions correct.
ANSWERS: 1.a, 2.a, 3.a, 4.c, 5.b, 6.b, 7.b, Think About It!.c.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards


    GRADES K - 12
    Reading for Understanding
    Evaluating Data
    Developing Research Skills
MATHEMATICS: Problem Solving NM-PROB.PK-12.2NM-PROB.PK-12.3
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    Solve Problems That Arise in Mathematics and in Other Contexts
    Apply and Adapt a Variety of Appropriate Strategies to Solve Problems
MATHEMATICS: Connections NM-CONN.PK-12.3
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics
MATHEMATICS: Representation NM-REP.PK-12.3
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    Use Representations to Model and Interpret Physical, Social, and Mathematical Phenomena
    GRADES K - 12
    Basic Operations and Concepts
    Technology Research tools

See more lessons in this week's Lesson Planning article Iditarod Brrrreathes Life Into Tired Curriculum (Brrrr!).

View additional lesson plans in the following articles from our archives:
* The Iditarod: The Last Great Race
* Iditarod Activities Across the Grades

Last updated 03/1/2012