One of the best things about doing an Iditarod study is that you will certainly not be alone. Homeschoolers and classrooms all over the world will be joining you, many of them sharing their fabulous ideas. If you have a student in grades K-8, you can join The eIditarod Project, a yahoo group that provides structure, resources, and guidance in your study. Your first assignment after registering with The eIditarod Project is to study the trail and create a wall-sized map. This was one of our favorite activities of the whole event -- and probably the most useful. Physically moving your musher from checkpoint to checkpoint gives you a real sense of what the musher is encountering. There are instructions and ideas for making your map here. Don't have enough wall space? No problem! There is a picture of a class that made a floor map out of masking tape!
I wanted our map to be in our school room, but we have very little wall space, so I removed a picture from the wall and hung our map in the hallway outside our school room. It was the perfect size and still accessible enough that we made good use of the map.
To make our map I first made a copy of a trail map on transparency film. A group member shared this link to a great trail map on the Cabela's website, so this is the map we copied. Obviously you will need some large sheets of paper for your map, but before you go out an buy some big expensive roll of paper, please check to see if your area has a Freecycle group. I was able to get a huge stack of sturdy 2x3' sheets of gray paper from a preschool teacher -- for free! I taped four sheets together to make our map, and it worked perfectly. We took our paper and transparency to church and used the church's overhead projector to project the map onto an empty wall. After tracing the map onto the paper, we took it home to outline in permanent marker and color with Prismacolors. I do have a confession to make -- we never fully completed our map. We intended to label major bodies of water, mountains, and other areas of interest as well as more information about the musher we followed, but never got around to it. The kids still learned of most of those features through our reading, and we were able to compare our wall map to several maps we found in books. God even arranged for some volcanic activity from Mt. Redoubt during our study, so we were able to point out the mountain on our map and review some of our science from earlier in the year.
So here is the map we made: