Category Archives: Instructional Strategies

How to Race the Iron Type Rider

Team T warming up before the start at Big Lake.

What You Need

The Six Things You Need. Click for a larger image.


To race the Iron Type Rider, you need a number of things:

  1. An account on an online keyboarding site that allows you to take one minute timed tests, scores them for wpm and accuracy, and keeps a record of your scores. I use typing.com.
  2. A partner. If you are racing against other teams, the teams should be as evenly matched as possible. I use a Microsoft Excel macro to generate matched teams.
  3. The Google Sheets Iron Type Rider Workbook to enter wpm and accuracy data.  The workbook will compute your exact trail position.
  4. The Google Earth Iron Type Rider .kml file.  You will pin each day’s exact finishing location on the trail.
  5. Google Earth Flight Simulator is used to drive your racing machine on the same trail as the Iron Dog Snowmachine Race.
  6. A Google Slides Iron Type Rider Journal. You will provide information about your team, your race vehicle, your sponsors, and photos and notes of your daily racing activity.

How to Race

Click on this picture for a larger view.

To get started:

  1. Find and open the following items
    • an internet browser on two adjacent computers
    • typing.com on one computer
    • On a new tab on the same computer, go to your Google Classroom stream:
    •Open your Google Sheets ITR Workbook and the Google Slides ITR Journal on the same computer as the typing tests.
    Download the Google Earth .kml of the ITR trail on the second computer
  2. One team member starts driving the ITR trail. The other team member does 10 typing.com 1 minute tests.
  3. Switch positions and roles. (The typing tests should be done on one computer).  After the second person has finished all ten tests, either person can do the next step. Somebody needs to keep driving, because it’s a long trip to Fairbanks by way of Nome.

    Following the Google Earth path up the Skwentna River.
  4. Use the Snipping Tool to take a screenshot of the day’s 10 test scores for both members and paste them in the Google Sheets ITR workbook on the Test Results tab.
    The Test Results tab on the Google Sheets workbook.

    10 test results snipped and pasted into the Iron Type Rider workbook.
  5. Enter the Speed and Accuracy for all 10 tests for both of the team members in the purple cells on the Test Results sheet.
  6. Note your ending position for the day’s run and pin the exact location on your Google Earth map.

    Team T 51 miles west of Ruby approaching Galena.
  7. Put pictures and text of each day’s run in your Google Slides ITR Journal.

    Running up the Skwentna River on Day 1.
  8. The Race Marshal will place your team’s icon on the whole class online map in each day’s finished position.

Using “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” as a template

Grades 4 through 6 have been learning how to use Microsoft Word and Google Docs by studying Robert Frost’s famous poem in a table format, one stanza per cell with observations and comments in the right-hand column.

Most students have to finish the project for homework, but some do not have access to Microsoft Word at home. The solution for those students is simply to copy and paste their content into ASD Google Docs.

Once the students have finished the analytical steps, they have to write their own version. Here’s a line-by-line example and a finished example below.