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Teaching the Yukon Quest

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As I am putting materials together it occurred to me that teaching the unit means having to have a plan of sorts. As a teacher who has been involved for many years and in many facets, it just came to me naturally. I had first-hand experience and information to share with my students so it was just a natural extension of my days in February! My grade 7 class was featured on a CBC news cast in 2015.
There are many resources on this site and ideas that can be shared. I have put together a time line of sorts that may be helpful to you. I have worked and taught mainly intermediate grades (4-7) so  many of the suggestions may have to be reworked for those of you who teach Primary classes.
First Steps
Background Information can be re-read and the map used throughout the unit. I made copies for the students to read and the map is a great visual to set the tone. (If you want a larger map mailed to you, let me know. I hope it'll get to you in time.)
I have copies of the Rules available and read them to become familiar with Race Protocols.
Vocabulary…key to the unit and understanding of terms used in media and in other resources. I have built word walls and have had cards laminated to be used in spelling/wordsmithing assignments. It was also key to the “fictional accounts of a factual event” writings my students produced. Available from the Vocabulary link.
Developing a KWL chart.
I printed and laminated several copies of Sled Dogs In the North and the Modern Sled Dog for reference points.
Looking at the map and visualizing the trail and route taken. Visualizing how far a 1000 miles is and how far the Mushers have to travel to get to the Start line, let alone complete the Race
Exploring the Yukon Quest site. I walked them through the main Yukon Quest site so they were familiar and learned where things are located. We dove into the Education site as an Introduction to the Unit. Playing the games and puzzles was a good way to get them engaged and involved!
Closer to the Start Line
I create Race Books for each student to have as their manuals and as a unit focus. They also serve as a Teacher’s Guide or Unit Plan. I have them fill out the paperwork that a musher would have to fill in. As I do a creative writing component with the unit, this is the starting point They can create a fictional character, taking on a new identity. It also allows for the teaching of life skills, filling in forms, understanding when and why you would have a SSI or SIN number, drivers license numbers etc. It also allows for them to keep all of the important race data in one place.
The Musher Draw: We do a lottery style selection - student's pull a musher's name from a hat or container. They can then go into the Quest site to find out more about their selected Musher. It also allows them to see examples of how their musher may have filled out the same forms they are doing. I have them print off the Musher Bio from the Yukon Quest site and glue that into the front cover of their book. 
Once students have their Musher selected and the Race begins, the Manuals are used several times a day as they track their Musher and fill in the Tracking Form
Race Time!
Tracking mushers progress and moving their dogs along the wall is done at least 2 times a day. See Selkirk Elementary - Grade 7 - Whitehorse for a visual example.
Media reports can be found at:
We developed a timeline for the 2018 race to give you an idea of what you can do on a daily basis.