Tag Archives: IditaRead

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!

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:

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Grade 5: Team 1 and Team 2 data and profiles
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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.

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.

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Your option as the creator of the map is the EDIT link.

Click on the EDIT link to make changes.

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Edit mode toolbar and menu bar.

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

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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 typing.com for keyboarding skills development. We use the 1 minute typing tests for our wpm verification.

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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 typing.com 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.



IditaRead: Using the Excel Macros

The Microsoft Excel IditaRead workbooks have two macro buttons on the the last sheet of the workbook.

The Erase All Data macro is activated by clicking on the gas gauge.  It will enable you to erase all the data entered in order to start a new race.  I did NOT include the Save command in the macro to prevent unintentional file replacements.

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The macro buttons on the Restart sheet.

The Random Number macro is activated by clicking on the square of numbers.  It will generate random integers from 0-60 and place them in all of the teams and all of the members for all 14 days. You can test the functionality of the workbook and the results of the rate parameters you chose.

IditaRead: Using the RANDBETWEEN function in MS Excel to practice plotting team positions

Check out the functionality of the MS Excel IditaRead workbooks by using the RANDBETWEEN function on the Data sheet.

RANDBETWEEN allows you to set minimum and maximum integers, so you can see how team positions might play out by generating random numbers.

For example, if your target reading time per day is 45 minutes, consider students reading between 0 and 60 minutes per day.  Your formula would then be =RANDBETWEEN(0,60)

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Put this formula in the Day 1 cell on the Data sheet and Fill Down for all your readers.  Check the Trail Position sheet for exact locations of each team and pin them on your Google map.

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Exact positioning of team positions on the trail.

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Options for Updating Team Positions on Google Earth Iditarod Map

This article assumes you already know how to do the following:

  1. You are using the Iditarod Excel workbook to enter students’ daily reading minutes.
  2. You are using the Trail Position sheet to see how far teams have travelled beyond the last checkpoint.
  3.  You are using the ruler “Path” tool in Google Earth to position team icons exactly on the trail.

Here are a couple of choices if you are just using Google Earth.  If you are publishing an online Google Map, your choices will be similar, but with important distinctions I will address in another article.

Option A: Use the existing Team icons and move them to the new position. This way, you only see the current position of each team.

Option B: Use color-coded icons to show each day’s position.

  • You can delete the Team layer on the Google Earth file you downloaded.
  • Pick a color for all teams to use for Day 1.  If you want to, use a unique shape of pin for each team. Pin the teams’ positions on the trail for that day.
  • Pick a new color for Day 2 but keep the teams’ pin shapes the same. Pin the new positions on the trail after determining the Day 2 position.
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Showing team progress using different colored pins.

A nice touch will be to add a legend showing at-a-glance what days the colors represent.

IditaRead: Using Excel and Google Earth to Determine Team Position

The IditaRead Google Earth/Excel project combines the geographic accuracy and visualization of Google Earth with the computing and organizational power of Microsoft Excel to exactly position student readers on the Iditarod Trail.

Fully customizable, the Excel workbook allows individual classrooms or entire schools to pinpoint daily trail position based on the amount of time that students read. Team trail positions can be posted online and shared via Google Maps Engine.

Excel workbooks are available for Northern and Southern routes, and either for individuals or teams of readers.

Google Earth KMZ files are also available for the Northern and Southern Routes.  They include all checkpoints as well as a sample collection of team icons.

Step-by-step instructions  can be found here.

The Microsoft Excel workbooks can be found on my Project Documents page.  Expand the Iditarod folder to find the files.

An online example of the map can be found here.