By now, hopefully, the
Iditarod has begun. If at all possible, try to tune into live coverage
of the start in Anchorage via the Official Iditarod Website, or another
site that would air it. Another source is to be aware of Cable T.V. sports
channels that might air coverage. If you don't have access to visual or
audio updates, that's not a problem--the Iditarod Website will post updates
* List of Mushers (Make sure the current year's list is available before you start choosing mushers)
Begin daily charting, checking
2-3 times daily for updates. Create or print a map of the Iditarod trail
and use a marker (we used the Musher's name with handy-tak stuck to the
back-- you'll be moving it regularly) to keep track of the Musher's location.
*Maps of the Iditarod Trail:
Large-scale Map of the Iditarod Trail:
(Make sure the map you use is current; north or south route. At the time I posted this, this was the southern trail, the one used in all ODD numbered years.)
Assign reading of Stone Fox or Scrub
Dog of Alaska, depending on child's reading level. (Either story
could also be used as family reading)
Discuss the characteristics of 'determination' and
'courage'. What benefits would these characteristics have? Any drawbacks?
Ask the children if they can name any people throughout history or the
Bible that show these characteristics.
David with Goliath (1 Samuel 17)
Joshua (Josh. 1-24)
Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego (Daniel 3)
Daniel (Daniel 6)
John the Baptist (Luke 3:1-20)
Joan of Arc
Corrie Ten Boom
Watch Iron Will together as a Family.
Snack on fruitcake while you watch (you will see why in the film!).
Begin research on Alaska:
Using Let's learn
(or another book about the state) begin reading about Alaska.
A great website with lots of information about the state facts is:
Official Student Information Guide to Alaska
(Keep track of many of these
facts, as they will be used later in a game for questions.)
Using a map of Alaska, observe
locations of mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, cities, glaciers, and national
parks. Which cities sound like they are from Native words? Which sound
like they might have been named due to European influence? On a map or
globe look at the location of Barrow, Alaska compared to where you live.
Notice how close to the North Pole it is! Look at the size of Alaska compared
to the continental 48 states. If you placed Alaska in the middle of it,
it would stretch from coast to coast.
Make a poster of the state
of Alaska showing key cities and geographical information. (You may have
to allow a couple of days for this, depending on how elaborate your child
wishes to become with this project.)
* Here's a way to remember
the capital city:
You're standing in the middle of the Alaskan Tundra in the month of June, but your thermostat reads "O" degrees--Brrrr!
June + O + Juneau! Get it?
Watch the National Geographic
video Braving Alaska
Continue charting Mushers
Continue Charting Mushers
The Aurora Borealis (The
Research information on the
How is it formed?
How is it colored?
Where can you find it?
What is the 'magnetosphere'?
Look at some examples on websites.
there are some great activities available to do on these!
The Aurora Page
Auroras: Paintings in the Sky
* Aurora's Northern Lights
Alaska Science Explained
Permanent Black Marker
Watercolor Paints, Brush
A firm surface to tape
paper to (such as a clip board, piece of corrugated cardboard, etc...)
* Begin by taping all four
sides to your firm surface with masking tape. Try to keep an even edge,
as this will act as a frame when you remove it at the end. Using the permanent
marker, draw silhouettes of trees in the bottom third of your paper. Fill
it in all black with marker.
* After this has set a few
minutes, use a relatively large brush and give the sky a wash of just water.
You don't want it soaking, but you do want it on the damp side. Load up
your paint brush with a bright color and streak it across the sky. It should
bleed a bit--this is o.k., as it will help it to blend with the other colors
you add. Try not to paint over your streaks too often or they will become
'muddy' looking. They will remain fresh if you leave them after the first
streak. Clean your paintbrush and add another color.
* When the proper look is
achieved that you desire, begin painting the dark sky around the aurora
borealis (be careful not to allow your dark color to bleed into your bright
colors). You can build up shades of the dark color by allowing the
first coat to dry and going over it again.
* After your painting has
dried, gently pull off tape. Remember, no two auroras are alike, and they
certainly have many forms and colors! It's hard to make a mistake with