As many winter outdoor enthusiast know the Iditarod is scheduled to start this year on March 2nd. This amazing 998 mile race running from Anchorage to Nome has plenty of ways in could be incorporated into a traditional classroom’s curriculum. The question is how can you integrate this idea into a physical education curriculum. Scooter’s are a novel ways to hold pseudo- dog sled races in the gym during the winter, but Sportime has recently added Idita-Harnesses to their physical education catalogs. This piece of equipment along with sleds and snowshoes makes a great cooperative/fitness/interdisciplinary game/activity/or challenge to have your own mini-iditarod race with your students as the sled dogs (teams of 6) in your physical education curriculum. We had a great time experimenting with the idea this year and our students got a great workout. Believe it or not the hardest job seemed to be that of the sled rider who needed to hold onto the reins and steer the sled to keep the nose pointing in the same direction the snowshoers were moving.
We’re excited for the opportunity to come around again next year and train our “dogs” before the event so we can have a longer duration and more complete snowshoe/human dog sled race than we did in our initial year. We’d love to hear if anybody has tried anything of this nature before and if so what distance worked best and what activities you used to help the students understand the importance of pulling and moving as a team. We’d like to try a 1-mile race next year with riders and sled dogs switching at various parts of the course.