Macro-enabled Team Generator for Iditarod Typing Race

Here’s a three-sheet Microsoft Excel macro-enabled file that will quickly set up your two equal teams.  Included are four buttons:

  • Create Teams: If you have already entered your 14 days of typing test data, use this button to create two matched teams.
  • Reset Random: Use this button to create hypothetical data. To see how the Create Teams button works, use the Reset Random button, then the Create Teams button.
  • Reset Clear Data: Use this button to erase the data fields and sort the team list in alphabetical order.
  • Populate Teams: This macro will take all the team members and their daily data and put them into a tab for the appropriate team.

Once the teams have been populated, copy and paste their contents into the main workbook on the appropriate Team sheet.

Click here to download the Team Generator file.

Iditarod Typing Team Race Day Procedure


  1. Opposing teams sit in designated positions. Once in position, only Musher can move about the team.
  2. Musher opens official Excel workbook.
  3. Lead and Swings open official online map.
  4. Teams open official map.
  5. Wheels open Google Apps shared Iditarod folder .
  6. Race Marshal opens each team’s official online map and Daily Data file.


  1. Race Marshal sets rate.
  2. Musher enters value on Rate sheet.
  3. Race Marshal releases Day 1 wpm values for each team member via shared read-only Daily Data file to Wheels.
  4. Wheels communicate individual miles to Musher.
  5. Musher enters values on Data sheet, communicates Trail Position to Wheels.
  6. Wheels relays exact Trail Position to Teams.
  7. Teams relay Trail Position to Swings.  Teams determine approximate location on online map and begin editing Checkpoint icons and placing pictures of progress-to-date. Swings determine exact position on official online map.
  8. Swings and Lead pin exact position on online map. When completed, Musher approaches Race Marshal for verification. When Race Marshal verifies location, team has successfully completed Day 1.
  9. Race Marshal releases Day 2 wpm values, and procedure repeats.
  10. First team to Nome wins.

Summary of Iditarod Typing Team Responsibilities and Positions

Team Responsibilities

See this post for who’s responsible for specific items on the Trail Log.

Position Info From Document Job Info to
Musher Wheel Excel wb, Daily Data,Trail Log Record Data
Monitor team members
Whole team, Race Marshal
Wheel Race Marshal Daily Data, Trail Log Communicate with Musher and Team Musher, Team
Team Wheel Online Map,Trail Log Determine position, place pictures and text Swing
Swing Team Online Map,Trail Log Report on the trail’s terrain and condition Lead
Lead Swing Online Map, Trail Log Pin exact position Musher, Race Marshal

Team Seating Positions

Swing Lead Swing
Team  Team Team
Team  Team Team
Team  Team Team
Wheel  Musher Wheel

Implementing the Iditarod Typing Race

I am currently using this project on grades 3 through 6. The technology skills required are:

  • logging into an online typing skills website and completing timed tests
  • navigating through a multi-sheet Microsoft Excel workbook and entering data in appropriate places
  • acquiring relevant Checkpoint and Milepost positions from the Excel workbook
  • opening and editing a shared online Google Apps Map
  • using the Ruler tool to pinpoint exact location of each day’s position
  • editing Checkpoints to include relevant pictures and text
  • placing relevant pictures on the online map as the team progresses
  • researching relevant trail, geography, and weather information in order to fill out a shared Google Doc trail log for each day of the race

The activity is divided unto different stages. This article will explain how to get ready for the race by Typing Tests, Team Selection, Team Positions, Position Responsibilities and Seating Assignments, Creation of Official Map and Workbook, Creation of Google Earth files, and Creation of Shared Daily Data files.

Setup: Day One Student Prep

  1. Students will need to have 14 one-minute typing tests; one for each day of the Iditarod.  Timed tests must be completed with at least 95% accuracy to be counted. All of the tests must be completed within a single class period.

Setup: Day Two Pre-Race Teacher and Student Prep

  1. I will pick equal teams based on students’ typing test scores. I will then create matched teams by splitting the two slowest typists, the next two faster typists, etc. The top typist of each team will be designated Musher. The second fastest typist will be Lead Dog. The next two fastest typists will be Swing Dogs, the two slowest will be Wheel Dogs, and the rest will be Team Dogs. The students will give themselves dog names. The team will be named after the musher.
  2. The Race Marshal will prepare and share read-only Daily Data sheets for Wheel Dogs after each day’s position on the official online map has been verified.
  3. The Musher will be responsible for the team’s Excel workbook. The Mushers will add their names and the dog names to the Data sheet.  The Musher will be in position 1, the Lead Dog in position 2, Swing Dogs in 3 and 4, Team Dogs in 5 through 14, and Wheel Dogs in 15 and 16. The Musher will assign seating positions as follows:
    Swing Lead Swing
    Team  Team Team
    Team  Team Team
    Team  Team Team
    Wheel  Musher Wheel
  4. The Lead Dog will be responsible for the official Google Map. The official map will be created in the Lead Dog’s Google Apps account, and shared with editing privileges with the other members on the team . The official map will be shared with the Race Marshal with viewing only privileges. The official map will also be shared with the opponents’ Musher, with viewing only privileges.
  5. The Swing Dogs will assist the Lead Dog in maintaining the accuracy of the Google Map.
  6. The Team Dogs will be responsible for determining the approximate position of the team after each day’s data has been entered. They will work in pairs on the online Google Map and pass that information on to Swing Dogs. The Team Dogs are also responsible for adding pins with embedded pictures and text as the race progresses.
  7. The Wheel Dogs will receive each day’s data in a read-only document from the Race Marshal. The data will be recorded on a hard-copy document and handed to the musher.
  8. The Musher will enter the daily data in the official Microsoft Excel workbook, then record on the hard copy the team’s exact position passed the last checkpoint. The Musher will return the document to the Wheel Dogs, who will pass it forward to the Team Dogs.
  9. When the daily data sheet makes it up to the Swing and Lead Dogs, the Musher will hand-carry it to the Race Marshall once the exact position of the team has been verified on the official online map.
  10. Additional rules and instructions will be discussed on Race Day by the Race Marshal.

A Summary of Team Responsibilities can be found here.

The Idita-Type Microsoft Excel workbook can be found here.

Options for Updating Team Positions Online with Google My Maps

If you have chosen to publish your IditaRead project online, you can move team icons quite easily.

First of all, you need to note the difference between viewing the map and editing the map.  If you’ve made the map public, anybody can view it.  Since you are the creator of the map, you can also edit everything about it.

Screen shot 2016-02-27 at 8.40.11 AM
Your option as the creator of the map is the EDIT link.

Click on the EDIT link to make changes.

Screen shot 2016-02-27 at 8.40.37 AM
Edit mode toolbar and menu bar.

In Edit mode, you can fully customize the appearance of your Routes, Checkpoints, and Teams.

Screen shot 2016-02-27 at 8.41.11 AM
A Team icon in edit mode.

Cllck on a team icon. You are now able to change its properties. Click on the icon again and you are able to drag it to a new position. Use the Ruler tool to measure exact positions on the trail.

You may also consider the same options for color-coding team icons as discussed in this article.

IditaRead Variation: Iditarod Typing Race

The Iditarod Typing Race uses keyboarding words-per-minute instead of time spent reading to determine trail position. It uses all of the same features of the Excel workbook and Google Earth maps as the reading version.

The team aspect of this race works outstandingly well in a computer lab setting, as it allows for head-to-head competition while utilizing the benefits of cooperative learning. Every student in the class has an important, though differentiated, role in the race. All of the students use multiple higher-order cognitive and computer skills to move their team towards the finish. The technology component allows for real-time monitoring and display of team progress.

Using Student Typing Tests for Team Setup

My technology students have been using for keyboarding skills development. We use the 1 minute typing tests for our wpm verification.

Screen shot 2016-02-26 at 10.58.50 PM
Verification of students’ typing test results.

The students do not need to print or save any files. The teacher can download a csv file from their teacher account in the Reports section. I use a minimum accuracy criteria of 95% to qualify wpm and delete every score below 95%. The students ideally will have 14 qualifying tests; one for each day of the race.

Check out the following articles for more information:

The Microsoft Excel workbook can be downloaded here.

The Google Earth KMZ file can be downloaded here.