Tag Archives: GEE Type

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 Iditarod.com, 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™ 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.


Idita-Type™ Grade 4


Absolutely awesome performance by both Grade 4 teams today! They listened well during the pre-race briefing, they found their official shared map in their Google My Maps account, Wheels got daily data and passed it on to Mushers, Mushers entered data in the Excel workbook and passed the info on to the Leads who measured trail miles, Swings edited daily position pins, and Team dogs placed pins with pictures and text.

Great job, students!

Idita-Type: All of the excitement of two dog teams in one room

The “second-ever in the history of the world” Iditarod typing race took place today at Eagle Academy Charter School.  Today’s contestants were two teams of 6th graders.

The similarities between the racers’ positions and a real dog team were amazing.

  • The Musher has to keep track of all of the team members, making sure that they are completing their tasks.
  • The Wheel dogs are responsible for getting the team going on each new day’s run.
  • The Team dogs keep track of all of the sights along the trail.
  • The Swing dogs back up and assist the Leader
  • The Lead dogs have to figure out where the trail is and how far the team is getting.
  • The Race Marshal makes sure all of the rules are being followed and verifying official team positions.

The refinements I discussed yesterday made the process much smoother today. I made a new document for the Team Dogs: every one of them had their own Trail Log to keep track of the pins they created on the shared map.

We still had the issue of one person losing the trail map, and it didn’t reappear even with a different browser. Don’t know what to think about that.

Other changes: have the Swing Dogs be in charge of providing pictures and text to each day’s position pin.  Make the text a journal entry of how their team performed.


Iditarod Typing Race: Teacher Preparation for Race Day

In order to be able to quickly verify that the Leads have accurately pinned the location of each day’s run, the Race Marshal needs to know where those locations are and be able to instantly compare the team’s map with the correct locations.

The Race Marshal transfers numbers from the Team 1 and Team 2 sheets one day at a time, consults the Trail Position sheet for the exact mileage passed the last checkpoint, and pins it on the Race Marshal’s Google Map.

On Race Day, the Race Marshal will use three computer terminals: one for Team 1’s Google Map, one for the Race Marshal’s Google Map, and one for Team 2’s map.

When the Musher brings the Trail Log from the Leads to the Race Marshal, the Marshal will be able to instantly compare the position that the Lead pinned with that of the official position. If the Team position matches the Race Marshal’s map, the Race Marshal will release the next day’s data to the Wheels.



Iditarod Typing Race: Results of Typing Tests and Team Generation

The 5th and 6th graders have completed their typing tests in preparation for the race next week.  After running the team-generating macros, this is how the teams compare:

Screen shot 2016-03-02 at 12.02.44 AM
Grade 5: Team 1 and Team 2 data and profiles
Screen shot 2016-03-01 at 7.35.07 PM
Grade 6: Team 1 and Team 2 data and profiles

Some of the students were not able to complete fourteen timed typing tests with a minimum 95% accuracy.  This will result in a sharp decline in trail progress toward the end of the race.

After running a macro to  populate the test scores on the Data sheets, it became evident that in both grades, one of the teams would arrive in Nome before the other. However, team progress will also be determined by the efficiency and accuracy with which the teams’ official online maps are completed.

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.