7380 Girard Ave

La Jolla, California


Posted on Mar 23, 2015

Hike…Gee, Haw, Whoa!


At both school assemblies last week, each second-grader presented his or her research about the Iditarod, a sled dog race held in Alaska. The cumulative presentation was first inspired by second graders and their love of puppies and dogs. This passion blossomed into ideas that sparked interest in the many facets of the race and led to a variety of hands-on projects.

Students began learning about the Iditarod by investigating and mapping specific areas of interest, such as dog care, the origins of the race, checkpoints, and influential mushers and dogs. During the research phase, the students’ writing was supported by accessing different genres of books, exploring technology resources, and learning from teachers throughout the school.

Student learning is visible in the Gillispie School elementary building with green yarn stretching across the walls that represents the Iditarod’s 979 miles. Besides the math involved in reproducing the run with its checkpoints to scale, students spent their art time painting large cutouts of dogs and a sled. There is also a place where second graders have posted additional questions and information they have gathered since the assemblies.

The resulting project outcomes, all created by the students, and shared at the assemblies via an interactive e-book made on iPads, included written reports, videos, stop motion movies with clay figures, slideshows, posters, and oral presentations.

With the excitement of discovery, some students gave up recess time and came in before school to research, and after their assembly presentations, asked, “When can we do it again?”

This week many of the classes are watching the race broadcasted live on http://iditarod.com and tracking the mushers’ progress as they cross Alaska by dogsled.
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