Iditarod: The Great Learning Jouney
Uploaded on 7/7/2012
- how to analyze & present data to better understand the world.
- what makes a true hero.
- how to design & create presentations that include multimedia to convey their thoughts and research.
Art / Design
Twenty-first century skills
21st Century Skills
Knowledge building & critical thinking
Global awareness & civic literacy
ICT for learning
Problem solving & innovation (creativity)
Electronic white board
Project based learning (PBL)
With the Iditarod as a backdrop for learning, the Great Learning Journey takes students on an authentic exploration through creativity, collaboration, challenge, and communication using the tools of technology for a true 21st century learning experience.
The project involves a series of "checkpoints" that students pass through, and includes freedom of choice to engage students in their own learning by enhancing their control.
Students brainstorm "Why take a risk?" and explore their thoughts about risk taking. This discussion opens the learning to the race, the mushers, and understanding the meaning behind the Iditarod. Excitement builds as students become engaged in the authentic experience of the race.
Flexible Learning Experiences:
Throughout the unit, students use the tools of technology in unique ways to collaborate, communicate, and be challenged. The learning activity allows for the flexibility of students to explore multiple tools and utilize their knowledge to design their own final multimedia presentation.
Bing (Search Engines): Throughout the unit, students are researching topics selected including animals of Alaska, race rules, Balto, Musher Susan Butcher, and the Red Lantern. The use of key words, search strategies, and notetaking are all explored and reinforced throughout.
Internet Explorer: Through the internet, students access social media tools and Skype for collaboration through discussions outside the classroom to create a global interaction to enhance learning. Possible topics for discussion include musher information, Alaska’s landscape, comparing geographical regions, and daily temperature charting.
Excel: Develop a student created dictionary. Design graphs to display student selected data including musher sled speeds, temperatures, and times. Track mileage of classroom mascot “Journey”.
PowerPoint: Used to develop a presentation about a hero to persuade the class to vote in a unique "Hero Idol" competition.
Word: Design a poetry page with a self-written poem and enhance with illustrations or photographs.
Windows Movie Maker: In collaborative teams, interpret and break down a poem to develop a digital video that explains it's meaning through illustration.
Publisher: Design animal trading cards to enhance understanding of Alaska's unique ecosystem
and share cards to learn from others. Create a team newspaper to explain race happenings, strengthen writing skills, and become fluent in Publisher use.
Paint: Develop a team patch to represent the student formed teams. As the race proceeds, students choose mushers to follow and collect data on. The teams in the classroom allow them to share data, chart together, and the patch’s purpose is to strengthen their team.
CULMINATING MULTIMEDIA PRESENTATION:
Through the project, students have been utilizing live data and events to develop products and learn to use technology in new ways. The purpose of the final presentation is to allow students to choose their own product by developing a multimedia product as a collaborative team. Examples of products that can be created include: A Diary of a Musher made using PhotoStory; A Claymation Video of the Iditarod using MovieMaker; A Newscast in Windows Movie Maker that incorporated graphs and photos developed in the projects.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE:
Red Lantern Award: While all of learning is not about success, the project even has a special “Red Lantern Award” which, just like the Iditarod, is about celebrating even last place. In our classroom, failure equals learning. The Red Lantern Award celebrates the right attitude and those who keep going.
All project resources and links can be found on the project site at