Category Archives: Information

Determining Winner by Shortest Elapsed Time to Nome

The winner of the real Iditarod Sled Dog Race is the first team to Nome. Since each team leaves the starting line at different times, the staggered start is equalized by corrections elsewhere on the trail.

The IditaType™ Race teams likewise do not start at the same time; they don’t even start on the same day. Additionally, due to holidays and other schedule disruptions, grade levels may not have the same number of class meeting each week.

To equalize the differences, the Race Marshall will log actual time spent working by each team with the Racing Time Google sheet shown above.  In this way, the shortest elapsed time working among all the grade levels will determine the first team to Nome.

Idita-Type™: Team Talk


Google Docs allows us to share a file amongst all the members of a team for the purpose of communication and record keeping. Shown above is an example of the Musher’s shared Trail Log. All of the team members have editing privileges, as does the Race Marshal.  Interesting possibilities……

I’ve created a multi-page Google Doc that can be viewed here and downloaded as a MS Word file in the Iditarod folder here. It contains a page for every day of the race, a trail map, checkpoint links to, and bookmarks within the document for easy access to different pages. Each day has a table to be filled out by the members of the team.

Team Members’ Responsibilities

  • Musher: Starting Milepost, Last Checkpoint, Time on Trail, Average mph, Resting Time, # of Dogs, Dog Health, Musher Health, Sled Condition
  • Lead: Finishing Milepost distance and pin
  • Swing: Terrain
  • Team: Weather, Temperature, Points of Interest
  • Wheel: Miles Traveled
  • Pilot: Food Drop, Comments

Position responsible for the information is shown in parentheses:

  • M = Musher
  • L = Lead
  • S = Swing
  • T = Team
  • W = Wheel
  • P = Pilot

NOTE: To compute Resting Time for this race, the Musher will divide the Miles Traveled by an average speed of 5 mph and subtract the quotient from 24.

Starting Milepost (M)
Last Checkpoint (M)
Weather (T)
Temperature (T)
Terrain (S)
Finishing Milepost (L)
Miles Traveled (W)
Time on Trail (M)
Average mph (M)
Resting Time (M)
# of Dogs (M)
Dog Health (M)
Musher Health (M)
Sled condition (M)
Food Drop (P)
Point of Interest (T)
Point of Interest (T)
Point of Interest (T)
Point of Interest (T)
Comments (P)





Idita-Type™: Adding You-Tube Videos

A great feature of the online Google map is the ability to add You-Tube videos of mushers’ accounts along the trail. Students will be able to view actual race footage and interviews, thereby gaining an accurate sense of how beautiful, difficult, and dangerous the Iditarod race truly is.

I use a custom icon to show where videos are included on the map. Custom icons can be generated from an online image, or one that you create yourself and upload.


Idita-Type™ Grade 3

So…the 6th graders thought it was too hard for the 5th graders, who thought it was too hard for the 4th graders, who made it the farthest in one class session.  The 4th graders thought it was too hard for 3rd grade, who were offended.

I took extra time today and walked through every step of the process.  We even spent some time watching amazing You-Tube videos by Aliy Zirkle along the trail.

After an hour, 3rd grade did not officially start, but I really believe they can handle the technology skills necessary.  They may even be competitive with the other grades.


Iditarod: Current Weather Conditions

Weather Underground Map of the Iditarod Trail

Checkpoint Weather

Anchorage and Campbell Airstrip






Yentna, Skwentna, Finger Lake, Rainy Pass, Rohn



Nikolai, McGrath, Takotna, Ophir



Cripple, Ruby
























White Mountain



Safety, Nome


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.

Adolescent Brain Development

In order to most effectively teach the students in my advanced math class, I need to have a better understanding of adolescent brain development.

These students are not just ahead of their peers as far as math skills go. It is possible that the massive rewiring and efficiency upgrade their brains are experiencing is also ahead of schedule compared to other students their age.


Time-lapse movies of brain development can be found here.